Club In Focus: Geelong
'Consolidating' is an affirming word. For all the prevailing sentiment and worthy regard given to Geelong following their upset win against Port Melbourne in round 11, a loss last Saturday to the Northern Blues would've put the Cats' season back into harsh perspective as Kane Hunkin reports.
Geelong's 51 point win at Visy Park last weekend was as impressive as it was telling. Three consecutive losses before round 11 brought the club back into the field after a solid start to the season. However, two wins either side of a bye now positions the team at 6 - 4, with a healthy percentage to match.
The conditions were muddy and scrappy, the weather cold, but Geelong's four quarter display was clean and precise. From the commitment of first year player Cameron Eardley in a first quarter collision, to the continued run of returning player Jordan Murdoch and the consistency of George Horlin-Smith, Geelong at the half-way mark of the Peter Jackson VFL season are positioned ideally.
A Blues side boasting the senior experience of Chris Yarran, Paul Bower and Bret Thornton was no factor to Geelong's overall structure. A five goal to nil first quarter was the catalyst behind the win. However, the Royal Parade end appeared more favourable than the Legends Stand goals throughout the day, with the Cats kicking 8.4 to the former as opposed to 1.14 at the latter.
A 51 point win was fitting in its own simple way and reinforces the positive 2012 Geelong are currently enjoying.
After the game, Geelong academy coach Paul Hood was pleased with the side's ability to back-up the Port Melbourne win, citing the consistent display of football across the four quarters.
"We just wanted to make sure we played the footy our way again and have a real team effort, some selflessness and the things Geelong really values. [Such as] winning the contested ball and maintaining that work rate throughout four quarters of footy.
"And the Port Melbourne game and again today, they're probably our first games for the season where we've probably done it for an entire game," Hood said in the rooms.
Hood went onto provide a considered overview, noting the VFL side currently has an ideal mix of experience and youth.
"What we are seeing in the team at the moment is some really good enthusiasm from the young players and great leadership example and direction from the olds. At the moment, the VFL side has a really good mix," he said.
A noticeable match-up throughout the day was the decision to play Geelong VFL leading goal kicker Mitch Brown (24 goals) in the back line. As Hood observed, as much as it was about structure in a side already boasting tall key position players Shane Kersten, Josh Walker and Joel Hamling, the education factor was also important.
"For Mitch's education, and all of our players, it's great for them to get versatility to play at both ends."
Geelong are becoming well-versed in the wet conditions and that is suiting the side just fine.
"Today was going to be a trademark day for us. It's not often that you walk up to a mud pit and smile. It's a real good, honest way to teach young guys to play footy," Hood said.