Written by AFL Online on 24th Feb 2019
Geelong enjoyed a solid 2018, with the Cats qualifying for the end-of-season playoffs. However, they ultimately failed to progress beyond the first stage, and the AFL’s second-oldest club will be determined to make it further this year.
Since beating Collingwood in 2011, they’ve failed to qualify for the Grand Final. The Cats’ new-look forward line could prove pivotal in their quest for glory this term, and fans are feeling quietly confident about their team’s chances of securing some silverware.
— Mitch Cleary (@cleary_mitch) 30 November 2018
Geelong won 13 of their 22 games last season, which helped propel them to an eighth-placed finish. Tom Hawkins enjoyed an extremely productive campaign, whilst Esava Ratugolea looked extremely handy – at least when he wasn’t plagued by injuries. The Cats have enjoyed relative success with their draft pick-ups in recent years, and Tim Kelly proved to be another astute addition to the squad.
They are $1.85 in the latest Aussie Rules betting to make the play-offs for a second successive season in 2019, but they’ll be hopeful of making their first AFL Grand Final appearance in eight years. The Cats have suitably bolstered their squad during the summer months, and the new additions appear to have settled in well at the club.
Luke Dahlhaus will be hoping that his defection from the Western Bulldogs will help revive his career. The free agent joined up with Geelong pre-season and has impressed during training. He was a key part of the Bulldogs championship-winning team of 2016, and he can bring some big-game experience to the Cats. After an alarming drop-off in form, he’ll be hoping that a fresh start can help him return to his imperious best.
Luke Dahlhaus’ 2018 season is over 😔
Plus an update on Mitch Honeychurch following yesterday’s collision. #RealStrength
— Western Bulldogs (@westernbulldogs) 23 July 2018
Dahlhaus will be joined by Gary Rohan, who arrives from Sydney. The forward spent the summer months playing golf, fishing and spending time with his family, and has admitted that he feels refreshed and raring to go. The speedster told the media that he “can’t wait to pull on the hoops and run out with the boys”. He’s enjoyed a solid pre-season and has looked sharp during recent hitouts.
The pair look likely to be joined by the vastly experienced Gary Ablett, who may be omitted from the midfield and pushed further forward this campaign. The 34-year-old admitted that coach Chris Scott spoke candidly about his position ahead of the upcoming season, and the pair have come to the conclusion that he is likely to be far more effective as a forward.
There are plenty of options available for Geelong as they head towards their opening fixture on March 22. The Cats will get the campaign underway against Collingwood, and will go into the game as underdogs. They have plenty of competition for places, with the likes of Jamaine Jones, James Parsons and Nakia Cockatoo all pushing for minutes this season. There is strength in depth at the club this year, and the new additions should help Geelong adopt a plan B during tough games. The new-look forward-line, which is likely to include Gary Ablett, could help secure their long-awaited return to the AFL Grand Final in 2019.