Geelong 2019 – Five Fearless Predictions

After a disappointing end to their 2018 campaign, what can we expect from the Cats this year?

2018 in a Nutshell

The Dangerwoodlett era didn’t result in a return to Premiership contention as many Cats fans expected. By Geelong’s standards 2018 was a season to forget with an Elimination Final exit a sad end to a year that began with such high expectations.


Playing List

1. Rhys Stanley, 2. Zac Tuohy, 3. Brandon Parfitt, 4. Gary Ablett, 5. Nakia Cockatoo, 6. Jordan Clarke, 7. Harry Taylor, 8. Jake Koldjashnij, 9. Zac Smith, 10. Ben Jarvis, 11. Tim Kelly, 12. Wylie Buzza, 13. Lachie Fogarty, 14. Joel Selwood, 15. Nathan Kreuger, 16. Scott Selwood, 17. Esava Ratugolea, 18. Charlie Constable, 19. Quinton Narkle, 20. Oscar Brownless, 21. Jacob Kennerley, 22. Mitch Duncan, 23. Gary Rohan, 24. Jed Bews, 25. Lachie Henderson, 26. Tom Hawkins, 27. Sam Menegola, 28. Darcy Fort, 29. Cameron Guthrie, 30. Tom Atkins, 31. Jordan Kunico, 32. Gryan Miers, 33. Jake Tarca, 34. James Parsons, 35. Patrick Dangerfield, 36. Blake Shlensog, 37. Sam Simpson, 38. Jack Henry, 39. Zac Guthrie, 40. Luke Dahlhaus, 41. Jamaine Jones, 42. Mark O’Connor, 43. Stefan Okunbor, 44. Tom Stewart, 45. Ryan Abbott, 46. Mark Blicavs.

In

Nathan Kreuger (state league priority selection), Gary Rohan (Sydney), Luke Dahlhaus (Western Bulldogs, pictured), Jordan Clark (Claremont), Ben Jarvis (Norwood), Jacob Kennerley (50 – Norwood), Darcy Fort (Central District), Jake Tarca (South Adelaide), Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons), Tom Atkins (Geelong VFL), Blake Schlensog (category B) .

Out

Lincoln McCarthy, George Horlin-Smith, Jackson Thurlow, Aaron Black, Stewart Crameri, Ryan Gardner, Cory Gregson, Matthew Hayball, Timm House, Daniel Menzel, Jordan Murdoch


Five Fearless Predictions

Geelong will miss the top eight

In a season where there are realistically 15 teams vying for a top eight spot, my bold prediction for such a decorated club like Geelong is the fact that they will come up short, and miss the top eight for the first time since 2015. They finished eighth last season, and despite improving their list in some respects, have they shown enough during the back end of last season and during this pre-season that they can return to their title of being a contender? They have the big guns – probably the best big guns in the whole competition, but do they have the depth? This was their problem last season and in some ways, the season before, where they were found out in finals time. Last season they were shown up by the Demons in their Elimination Final, showing that many teams had passed them by. Unfortunately this season, there will be too many teams better than the Cats. A 9th-12th placed finish for mine.

Gary Ablett up forward is not the answer

This must be the only headline of this calibre that anyone will ever see. While he is one of the best players we’ve ever seen, Gary Ablett up forward is not the answer and quite simply, he may be taking the spot of an up and coming forward that may relish the minutes more. He is still clean, and if given the chance, will kick many a goal. But what has been Geelong’s major forward line criticism in the past 24 months? It has been their lack of forward pressure, the same reason that saw them get rid of their second most prolific goalkicker behind Tom Hawkins, Daniel Menzel. Obviously Gary will still spend some time in the centre, but is he going to be as influential as he used to be? Of course not. With the acquisition of Luke Dahlhaus and Gary Rohan at the Cattery, it is those two who will look to bring added pressure and added goals to the mix – and it shouldn’t be reliant on a 34 year old Gary Ablett.

Esava Ratugolea is set for a big season

It won’t be Gary Ablett changing up the mix of the Geelong forward line in 2019, it will be Fijian Esava Ratugolea. Ratugolea started his first season in the system quite well, debuting early on in 2018 and cementing a spot for a good amount of time. But as many youngsters do, an inconsistent impact on games saw him spend some time in the twos. Geelong fans will be hoping that the big man can be the second of the twin towers, next to their leading goalkicker Tom Hawkins. Their forward line needs a change up, and Ratugolea is that man. Also pinch hitting in the ruck, he will look to develop into a player that is crucial to Geelong’s success, by kicking goals and drawing a quality defender from the opposition. Ratugolea could be the difference between a successful or a failed season from the Cats.

Chris Scott will be under pressure by the end of the season

This may indeed be Chris Scott’s most important season under the Geelong Football Club. He was able to win a flag in his first season as coach, but since then has not had much success. This is despite the clubs stubbornness to rebuild, while recruiting players that seem as if they are in their premiership window. They have the ‘holy trinity’ in the form of ‘Dangerwoodlet’, so why haven’t they been able to stamp their mark in September in quite some time? Once again, they have recruited players who are of good quality, and they aren’t settling for those second rate. This season is one that could see Chris Scott under enormous amounts of pressure, if they do not make the finals and even make the top four. Scott has gone under the radar and has escaped pressure, but this season surely has to be different. If my prediction is correct and they do miss the eight, will Scott be here this time next year?

MCG woes will shoot them in the foot

Geelong’s dominance at the Cattery and somewhat mediocrity at the MCG has led to them being almost seen as an interstate team, struggling quite badly come finals time where they need to learn to play at the home of football. A 10-21 record at the G’ in the past three seasons does not make for great reading, and it is something they will need to overcome in 2019 if they are going to have another crack at the flag. They will play five massive games at the MCG this season, and while you can’t rule them out of them, a negative record against the big clubs will already see them on the back foot. In my opinion, their sheer domination at GMHBA Stadium can only get them so far.


Prediction

It has been a long time coming but the Cats era of Premiership contention has come to an end. They still have star players and will stretch the competitions best on their day, but their depth isn’t what it needs to be and this will cost them over the course of a 22 game season.

Geelong will finish between 10th and 12th.


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