Geelong Cats 2021-2022; moneyball edition

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Wojcinski

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 14, 2011
14,211
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So after our 2020 trade period the club is trying to moneyball a premiership while our aging stars are still effective players. Similar to the 2015 trade period, we have traded out of this years draft and instead have recruited some older, experienced players.

The club has clearly decided to throw caution to the wind and go 'all in' for the next two years.

Chris Scott's current deal expires at the end of 2022

Our current over 29 crop is as follows;
Shaun Higgins 33 - contract ends 2022
Joel Selwood 32 - contract ends 2021
Tom Hawkins 32 - contract ends 2022
Isaac Smith 31 - contract ends 2022
Josh Jenkins 31 - contract ends 2021
Zach Tuohy 30 - contract ends 2022
Lachie Henderson 30 - uncontracted, likely to sign for 2021
Jack Steven 30 - contract ends 2021
Patrick Dangerfield 30 - contract ends 2024
Rhys Stanley 30 - uncontracted, likely to sign for 2021
Mark Blicavs 29 - contract ends 2023
Gary Rohan 29 - contract ends 2021
Mitch Duncan 29 - contract ends 2024



There is a very good chance that whether we win a flag or not, by the end of 2022 all but 3 of those players and our coach will be departing the club. I count 13 players, with 11 being best 22. This is obviously a concern for the future competativeness of the Cats but at the same time I'm relatively excited at the prospect of challenging for the flag again.

How does everyone feel about this approach? Will it be worth it if we pinch a flag in the next couple of years if the following decade is less than remarkable?
 

thecatattack

Brownlow Medallist
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Don't mind it myself. This year's draft will be heavily compromised with academy and F/S picks, plus the fact this year's draft prospects would've hardly played at all over the last 12 months.
Agreed.

I'm not sure why skipping on this draft to go in heavy on the next screams doomsday for the GFC?
 

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CatTricks

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 7, 2009
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Don't mind it myself. This year's draft will be heavily compromised with academy and F/S picks, plus the fact this year's draft prospects would've hardly played at all over the last 12 months.
Agree. Pretty happy that we got some half decent second round picks back in the Cameron deal and next years draft is supposed to be good too apparently!
 

4quarter_cat

Club Legend
Jun 11, 2013
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I think there is a good chance 4 of those players will be gone at the end of next season if your list is accurate, and only 1 of them do I think will be best 22 next year.

I think speculating further than that is fairly pointless because you don't know how much of a drop off there might be in a players performance(or not, see Hawkins this year) in the year to come.

The guys whose contracts end in 2022 might do plenty to go around again.
 

witsend

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Sep 22, 2008
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Anything's worth it if you get a flag. My issue is that the last two seasons were the best shot imo but we'll see
I would have agreed prior to the finals this year, but the "ins" we acquired are exceptional. JC is at the peak of his powers as a KPF in tandem with Hawkins, who is in career best shape and form, defying his age. JC's presence will help extend Hawk's career imo by alleviating the constant pressure. He can become a more goal-square forward. JC is far more mobile and dangerous from 30-60 out. I like that JC is a lefty and Hawk a righty, with regard to their leading patterns. Isaac Smith is at the tail of his career but he is an aerobic freak who has self-assessed as feeling completely fit and able and feeling no signs of slowing. Higgins was a B & F just 2 years ago and will not be asked to carry the load he was expected to shoulder at Norf. Could easily play a similar role to Bartel in his last couple of seasons. Class player with a capital C! Yes, we lose the GOAT, but with the GREATEST of respect to GAJ, he didn't win us many, if any, games off his own boot this year. Taylor was exceptional this year and will be missed but Blicavs is a perfect replacement if asked to stay at KPD position, notwithstanding potential young KPDs coming though, including De Koning (201cm), Okunbor (190cm) and maybe even Nathan Kreuger (196cm). Don't be surprised to see any or all of those players putting their hand up for Taylor's spot, given the monsters we have up forward now.
I expect Cooper Stephens, Clark and Okanbur to pressure hard for Best 22 this year. Clark in particular has been stung hard. He is super quick and talented and I love his swag, but clearly he has had to be forced to show some humility and reality as to how he can't be a one-way player at AFL level. Also another pre-season won't hurt his body shape and strength in the contest. Stephens is clearly being groomed to replace Sel in some way. He's a big, solid kid (188cm-83kg), with massive wraps as to footy intellect and character. Will be a 200 gamer if he realises his talent and physical attributes. All in all, I see no reason we can't challenge for the next 2-3 years comfortably, and there's a lot of draft water to flow under the bridge in that time to re-stock with youth. The big "if" for me is whether SavRat can become the Natanui like No 1 ruck presence GFC hope he can be. He's still very young for a kid his size. He should spend this footy season building a tank and refining his kicking to be more consistent. Easily said, of course!
 
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Mr X

Club Legend
Jun 26, 2003
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Moneyball - the movie or book at least, was based around the "art" of trying to build a competitive/champion team with a limited budget and talent which was either undervalued, or not recognised as reaching their potential.

That is not what we have done - we have bet the farm on short term or immediate prolonging of an overall successful era and want to win a premiership.
 

Wojcinski

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 14, 2011
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Moneyball - the movie or book at least, was based around the "art" of trying to build a competitive/champion team with a limited budget and talent which was either undervalued, or not recognised as reaching their potential.

That is not what we have done - we have bet the farm on short term or immediate prolonging of an overall successful era and want to win a premiership.
We paid a 2nd rounder and got Higgins and Smith in return, two footballers who could be very good next year. For their output, it's likely one second round pick is undervalued, especially if they were to help us win the flag.
 

PhatBoy

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May 5, 2016
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Moneyball - the movie or book at least, was based around the "art" of trying to build a competitive/champion team with a limited budget and talent which was either undervalued, or not recognised as reaching their potential.

That is not what we have done - we have bet the farm on short term or immediate prolonging of an overall successful era and want to win a premiership.
Remove Cameron for the equation and to an extent dangerfield and that’s what we’ve done.

None of the other players we’ve acquired this year or in the previous five aide from those two are a sign of going ‘all in.’

Yes technically we are all in to win a flag I understand that but we haven’t gone down the route of buying a star player to sit on all six lines of the team sheet.

‘He gets on base.’ That was the premise of the first recruit Jonah Hill targeted in moneyball.

What does Gary Rohan do? He runs fast (his failures in finals notwithstanding). We needed someone who could run fast.

What does smith do? He kicks well and runs a lot. We needed someone who has speed in the middle and can get the ball to Hawkins quicker.

What does Higgins do? He brings class and composure and the ability to play defensively in the middle. What did we scream out for after the grand final? Someone who is composed in the middle and plays both ways.

There is a lot of moneyball about the way we’ve put the side together.

If we were going full moneyball we’d have targeted Brown not Cameron. He’d have come cheaper and what does he do? He kicks goals. We need someone else who kicks goals.

But we went for someone who has more to his game. I can respect that.
 

Whit3y

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Mar 14, 2007
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So after our 2020 trade period the club is trying to moneyball a premiership while our aging stars are still effective players. Similar to the 2015 trade period, we have traded out of this years draft and instead have recruited some older, experienced players.

The club has clearly decided to throw caution to the wind and go 'all in' for the next two years.

Chris Scott's current deal expires at the end of 2022

Our current over 29 crop is as follows;
Shaun Higgins 33 - contract ends 2022
Joel Selwood 32 - contract ends 2021
Tom Hawkins 32 - contract ends 2022
Isaac Smith 31 - contract ends 2022
Josh Jenkins 31 - contract ends 2021
Zach Tuohy 30 - contract ends 2022
Lachie Henderson 30 - uncontracted, likely to sign for 2021
Jack Steven 30 - contract ends 2021
Patrick Dangerfield 30 - contract ends 2024
Rhys Stanley 30 - uncontracted, likely to sign for 2021
Mark Blicavs 29 - contract ends 2023
Gary Rohan 29 - contract ends 2021
Mitch Duncan 29 - contract ends 2024



There is a very good chance that whether we win a flag or not, by the end of 2022 all but 3 of those players and our coach will be departing the club. I count 13 players, with 11 being best 22. This is obviously a concern for the future competativeness of the Cats but at the same time I'm relatively excited at the prospect of challenging for the flag again.

How does everyone feel about this approach? Will it be worth it if we pinch a flag in the next couple of years if the following decade is less than remarkable?
Let's hope it goes better then the 2012-2013 moneyball edition when we got McIntosh, Rivers and went all in for Caddy to try and go for that premiership.
 

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Pure_Ownage

Premium Platinum
Nov 26, 2008
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Just to clarify stanley has signed and hendo will be 31 in a few weeks.

I would assume next year is hendos last and the same for steven and jenkins unless the latter two lift their form a lot. Who knows how long joels body can go on.

Good news is all 3 players we traded in are generally durable.
In general i agree our strategy is the right one.
 

cats_09

Moderator
Jun 21, 2011
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Rivers did nothing wrong during his time with us
I can still remember that bullshit free kick against Rivers in a final - going for the ball and kept his feet, opponent came sliding in late & took out Rivers below the knees

Umpire called it against Rivers for head high contact

It was nearly textbook example of the below the knees free kick, but the umpire decided to have their time in the spotlight & called it as high contact
 

Cursed Cat

sticky fingers
Sep 15, 2005
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Just to clarify stanley has signed and hendo will be 31 in a few weeks.

I would assume next year is hendos last and the same for steven and jenkins unless the latter two lift their form a lot. Who knows how long joels body can go on.

Good news is all 3 players we traded in are generally durable.
In general i agree our strategy is the right one.
We've got Cameron sewn up for 5 years, and he has been reasonably durable for sure - he won't be asked to bash and crash too much at Geelong.
Hopefully he can sustain quality output until he is 32; it's not an outrageous expectation.

The other two trade-ins are a bit ''iffy'' though I reckon - Higgins will start next season as a 33 year old and history shows that wear and tear accumulates on even the best of 'em.
He and Isaac Smith will need to be monitored and managed as shrewdly as possible.

It will be an unusually mature squad next year, the key will be getting some young fresh legs in their to balance things out; I know we already have a few solid best 22 younger players but imo we need at least a couple more to step up next year too - Frankie Evans might be among the likely; DeKoning will be itching for a game or 3.
 
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CatToTheFuture

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 18, 2018
5,761
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Anything's worth it if you get a flag. My issue is that the last two seasons were the best shot imo but we'll see
Agree but I think there's a bit to be said about timing of draftees. If you're drafting three first rounders this year you'd want to make sure they're not the type to ask for a trade due to lack of games.

Kids we draft next year will get a year in the vfl then be contracted the year Guthrie turns 30 which is the year spots will really open up.
 

CabWesty

Senior List
Jul 3, 2015
253
475
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Geelong
Remove Cameron for the equation and to an extent dangerfield and that’s what we’ve done.

None of the other players we’ve acquired this year or in the previous five aide from those two are a sign of going ‘all in.’

Yes technically we are all in to win a flag I understand that but we haven’t gone down the route of buying a star player to sit on all six lines of the team sheet.

‘He gets on base.’ That was the premise of the first recruit Jonah Hill targeted in moneyball.

What does Gary Rohan do? He runs fast (his failures in finals notwithstanding). We needed someone who could run fast.

What does smith do? He kicks well and runs a lot. We needed someone who has speed in the middle and can get the ball to Hawkins quicker.

What does Higgins do? He brings class and composure and the ability to play defensively in the middle. What did we scream out for after the grand final? Someone who is composed in the middle and plays both ways.

There is a lot of moneyball about the way we’ve put the side together.

If we were going full moneyball we’d have targeted Brown not Cameron. He’d have come cheaper and what does he do? He kicks goals. We need someone else who kicks goals.

But we went for someone who has more to his game. I can respect that.
My take on Smith and Higgins is we manage them to play 15-17 games each next year, and use the other games for the fringe players, so we have the team cherry ripe for the finals, with more experience into the younger players as well.

Is this a reasonable concept?
 

PhatBoy

Brownlow Medallist
May 5, 2016
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My take on Smith and Higgins is we manage them to play 15-17 games each next year, and use the other games for the fringe players, so we have the team cherry ripe for the finals, with more experience into the younger players as well.

Is this a reasonable concept?

I would be absolutely onboard with that
 

Turbocat

Hall of Famer
Dec 10, 2003
47,183
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So after our 2020 trade period the club is trying to moneyball a premiership while our aging stars are still effective players. Similar to the 2015 trade period, we have traded out of this years draft and instead have recruited some older, experienced players.

The club has clearly decided to throw caution to the wind and go 'all in' for the next two years.

Chris Scott's current deal expires at the end of 2022

Our current over 29 crop is as follows;
Shaun Higgins 33 - contract ends 2022
Joel Selwood 32 - contract ends 2021
Tom Hawkins 32 - contract ends 2022
Isaac Smith 31 - contract ends 2022
Josh Jenkins 31 - contract ends 2021
Zach Tuohy 30 - contract ends 2022
Lachie Henderson 30 - uncontracted, likely to sign for 2021
Jack Steven 30 - contract ends 2021
Patrick Dangerfield 30 - contract ends 2024
Rhys Stanley 30 - uncontracted, likely to sign for 2021
Mark Blicavs 29 - contract ends 2023
Gary Rohan 29 - contract ends 2021
Mitch Duncan 29 - contract ends 2024



There is a very good chance that whether we win a flag or not, by the end of 2022 all but 3 of those players and our coach will be departing the club. I count 13 players, with 11 being best 22. This is obviously a concern for the future competativeness of the Cats but at the same time I'm relatively excited at the prospect of challenging for the flag again.

How does everyone feel about this approach? Will it be worth it if we pinch a flag in the next couple of years if the following decade is less than remarkable?
In a sense I think Geelong has used moneyball principles to assess that draft picks and the kids gained are at their most costly and possiblely least useful at the time of draft. It has also assessed that players worth drop with age ..even players who are performing well are down graded based on age... so gaining a player like Higgins at 23 would cost a lot more than he has at 33.
Of course we have Moneyballed the draft for a while Miers is classic example. Devalued due to his strange kicking action.
 

dazbroncos

Max Rooke Appreciation Society
Oct 9, 2010
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The one thing IMO we learned this year is not every player can make all season.

The kids will have to play as the old farts cant go all season long whether they want to or not.

IMO they will get chance and get them soon. Need to be ready to take them when the come.

Go Catters
 

Chinacats

Premiership Player
Sep 20, 2014
3,002
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If we win a flag it’s worth it. If we don’t the plan has failed. Gotta go for it! I worry hub games flattered us. Can these 30+ players take us all the way? Need to manage them very well during the season so they’re fresh at the end.
 

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