Preview Geelong Cats v Essendon, AAMI Community Series, Sat 6 Mar 7:10pm @ GMHBA Stadium

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Seeds

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This can't be reiterated often enough. People read far too much in pre season performance.

I recall that the Swans in their hey day failed to win any preseason games for nearly a decade.
I think the thing people are disapointed in was the strategy. Not the result. All pre season we heard comments about how we were going to move the ball on quicker but what we saw against essendon was the same game plan of the past.
 

PzBlinky

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Sep 12, 2020
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Except our gameplan doesn't stack up to Richmonds. And Richmond have already shown their gameplan is effective whether its short quarters or long quarters.

We should have altered our gamestyle especially now we have Cameron up forward and pace in the team, so to see the keepings off stay is disheartening. Essendon look to have ripped off Richmonds game plan, and if they didn't have potato forwards they would have put us to the sword the other night.
For sure, I agree that we've had two years to figure out how to counter Richmond's style. And yeah, "keepings off" isn't going to work against them.

(As a side note, we tried to do that in last year's H&A with disastrous results. I don't think we did the same in the GF - we just couldn't get the ball off them in the second half and when we did, they shut us down. It didn't feel like we were trying to play slow - they were just too good in smothering our movement.)

But lest we get a little Tiger-focused - even though that's natural after the last two years - there are other teams in the comp. We might have to beat the Tigers in a final, but we'll also have to beat other teams. And just getting to the finals, we're going to need to beat a lot of other teams. But going full-bore, 100% all the time isn't the way to try and take the cup (Exhibit A: 2008).

We have an older team, and we're going to have to manage them throughout. Keepings off IS going to be a part of our plan, no matter how many people complain. And at times, it's going to be the right thing to do (Exhibit B: 2020 SF, 3rd quarter).

What I'm hoping to see (as I'm sure everyone is) is faster movement, more often. But I don't expect to see it every minute of every quarter, regardless of the opposition and context of the game.
 

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PzBlinky

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I think the thing people are disapointed in was the strategy. Not the result. All pre season we heard comments about how we were going to move the ball on quicker but what we saw against essendon was the same game plan of the past.
If our midfield plays like that come the real season, it doesn't matter what gameplan or strategy we have - we're going to get smashed. For whatever reason, the coaches seem reluctant to really test anything until the real thing starts.

I didn't like what I saw either, but will reserve judgment until after the first 2 or 3 games.
 

catscollector

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I think the thing people are disapointed in was the strategy. Not the result. All pre season we heard comments about how we were going to move the ball on quicker but what we saw against essendon was the same game plan of the past.
Apparently we scored the most points per game last season ;)
 

CatToTheFuture

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For sure, I agree that we've had two years to figure out how to counter Richmond's style. And yeah, "keepings off" isn't going to work against them.

(As a side note, we tried to do that in last year's H&A with disastrous results. I don't think we did the same in the GF - we just couldn't get the ball off them in the second half and when we did, they shut us down. It didn't feel like we were trying to play slow - they were just too good in smothering our movement.)

But lest we get a little Tiger-focused - even though that's natural after the last two years - there are other teams in the comp. We might have to beat the Tigers in a final, but we'll also have to beat other teams. And just getting to the finals, we're going to need to beat a lot of other teams. But going full-bore, 100% all the time isn't the way to try and take the cup (Exhibit A: 2008).

We have an older team, and we're going to have to manage them throughout. Keepings off IS going to be a part of our plan, no matter how many people complain. And at times, it's going to be the right thing to do (Exhibit B: 2020 SF, 3rd quarter).

What I'm hoping to see (as I'm sure everyone is) is faster movement, more often. But I don't expect to see it every minute of every quarter, regardless of the opposition and context of the game.
I don't think it's a guarantee that it won't work. If it was Dusty that went off with a concussion in the first quarter instead of I think Vlaustin then we win that premiership in 2020. If in 2019 Hawkins hadn't been suspended for the prelim we would have given it a fair shake.

On the other hand i think if we don't play keepings off footy then the older bodies will not keep up with the pace of a full season. I'm not sure our defenders will hold up with the rebound speed if we go too aggressive on the attack.

I think we'll see a lot play out in round 2 against the Lions and then we have until we play west coast to adapt.
 

goyoucatters

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Apparently we scored the most points per game last season ;)
It's not 'apparently', it's 'actually'. We scored more than every other team in the H&A last year. And somehow the club blundered its way to that outcome with one of the most defensive game plans going around and a fundamentally broken strategy.

Absolutely remarkable...

:rolleyes:
 

Vdubs

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I think the thing people are disapointed in was the strategy. Not the result. All pre season we heard comments about how we were going to move the ball on quicker but what we saw against essendon was the same game plan of the past.
Why should we exhibit our stuff in Feb or March. They know what they are doing. Where did you hear these comments about ball movement? Only here, I would guess.
 

catswhiskers

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Apparently we scored the most points per game last season ;)
We did. The game plan in use was effective against 16 sides and gave us a chance in the grand final.

This years rule changes demand a different look. Going early and risky after winning the ball in our back half is not required. What is required is more attack once we have exited through the half back area safely.

IMO we will see more sideways stuff inside and across the 50 but from there the next kick to a man somewhere across the centre / wings is important. Higgins and Smith and Atkins ( with Duncan and perhaps Clark) will be given that task. if its a mark (or a free) I expect to see more handball introduced at that point.

That for me is the measure. How much do we attack from central positions by hand and run rather than by foot? ie get rid of the long bomb.
 

Seeds

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Why should we exhibit our stuff in Feb or March. They know what they are doing. Where did you hear these comments about ball movement? Only here, I would guess.
Because practise games are where you try out new ways of playing. Its kind of why these games exist. A couple of players had mentioned it in pre season articles.
 

JohnZ

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This years rule changes demand a different look. Going early and risky after winning the ball in our back half is not required. What is required is more attack once we have exited through the half back area safely.
This was our game plan in 19 and 20 too.

We control the ball in the backhalf, then punch quickly once their zone is set between the halfway point and the 50m arc (with very few defensive players inside 50). That exploitation of opposition zones has seen us beat a few good teams quite comfortably, only richmond have been able to regularly defeat it (by stopping the chip chip kicking around the back half of the ground).

Still needs work, and I don't know if that plan could ever beat Richmond, but it does comfortably make us a top 4 team and gives us a strong chance of making the GF each year.
 

terry_bright

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We did. The game plan in use was effective against 16 sides and gave us a chance in the grand final.

This years rule changes demand a different look. Going early and risky after winning the ball in our back half is not required. What is required is more attack once we have exited through the half back area safely.

IMO we will see more sideways stuff inside and across the 50 but from there the next kick to a man somewhere across the centre / wings is important. Higgins and Smith and Atkins ( with Duncan and perhaps Clark) will be given that task. if its a mark (or a free) I expect to see more handball introduced at that point.

That for me is the measure. How much do we attack from central positions by hand and run rather than by foot? ie get rid of the long bomb.
Brilliantly put.

We will definitely have to tinker with the game plan from what I've seen in the pre-season matches.
We have seen ball movement change due to the tinkering of the rules and a flow on from that is there seems to be less tackling. Forward defensive pressure and "locking it in the forward line" has dropped of a bit as well.
Of the players who didn't play in the grand final, a couple have a real chance to prove and bed themselves in the team.
Overlapping runners (Smith, Clark) will have to step up. As do creative, smart ball users (Higgins). Atkins on pre-season form could also be important.
I also like what I've seen of Evans. Looks a smart player with good foot skills.
On the other side of the coin, incumbents like Kolo, Bews, Dahlhaus could potentially be in trouble.

Geelong (and all sides) need 5 - 6 games to see how this will pan out and adjust accordingly.
 

Vdubs

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Brilliantly put.

We will definitely have to tinker with the game plan from what I've seen in the pre-season matches.
We have seen ball movement change due to the tinkering of the rules and a flow on from that is there seems to be less tackling. Forward defensive pressure and "locking it in the forward line" has dropped of a bit as well.
Of the players who didn't play in the grand final, a couple have a real chance to prove and bed themselves in the team.
Overlapping runners (Smith, Clark) will have to step up. As do creative, smart ball users (Higgins). Atkins on pre-season form could also be important.
I also like what I've seen of Evans. Looks a smart player with good foot skills.
On the other side of the coin, incumbents like Kolo, Bews, Dahlhaus could potentially be in trouble.

Geelong (and all sides) need 5 - 6 games to see how this will pan out and adjust accordingly.
Bews is in danger of being a top 5 B & F aspirant.
Dahl, idk.
Kolo, hopefully still a top 18 once the pressure part of the season starts, ie rd1
 

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Vdubs

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Because practise games are where you try out new ways of playing. Its kind of why these games exist. A couple of players had mentioned it in pre season articles.
Fair enough.
I have no fear about our preparation for the real season. We have one of the master coaches and assistants are excellent.
Even our list is top 4 worthy.
 

Kitcat

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Brilliantly put.

We will definitely have to tinker with the game plan from what I've seen in the pre-season matches.
We have seen ball movement change due to the tinkering of the rules and a flow on from that is there seems to be less tackling. Forward defensive pressure and "locking it in the forward line" has dropped of a bit as well.
Of the players who didn't play in the grand final, a couple have a real chance to prove and bed themselves in the team.
Overlapping runners (Smith, Clark) will have to step up. As do creative, smart ball users (Higgins). Atkins on pre-season form could also be important.
I also like what I've seen of Evans. Looks a smart player with good foot skills.
On the other side of the coin, incumbents like Kolo, Bews, Dahlhaus could potentially be in trouble.

Geelong (and all sides) need 5 - 6 games to see how this will pan out and adjust accordingly.
The new rule will force us to play a more attacking game which is good. The player with the ball still has to kick it to someone, so hopefully our defence will cope better than other teams.
 

Farmer2Goggin

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Why should we exhibit our stuff in Feb or March. They know what they are doing. Where did you hear these comments about ball movement? Only here, I would guess.
I posted earlier that we seem to only exhibit the proposed game plan sparingly in the preseason.
I remember a couple of years ago over here v Eagles - we went with manic forward pressure for about 10 minutes in the second quarter and 5 minutes in the last. That was to be the hallmark of our play that season but we largely kept it up our sleeve.

We seemed to play in short bursts V Pies a combination of play on , run from behind and quick handball from the backline resulting in quick F50 entries.
I hope that becomes this seasons one wood - going to that at the right times will suit the team we have assembled - especially the twin forward towers we now have :thumbsu:
 

catscollector

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It's not 'apparently', it's 'actually'. We scored more than every other team in the H&A last year. And somehow the club blundered its way to that outcome with one of the most defensive game plans going around and a fundamentally broken strategy.

Absolutely remarkable...

:rolleyes:
lol, scoring most points per game (1st time in a decade mind you) has nothing to do with ball movement from out of defense.
Geelong is one of the worst rebounding teams in the competition. We chip back and forth before trying to pump it inside forward fifty. We are only ranked 5th for inside 50's so that says a lot about our scoring efficiency once we do get shots at goal.

Our tedious ball movement from the back half is pretty lame and predictable. We have no creative back flankers to break the lines. It is why we are hoping Higgins and Smith can provide such options this year.
Probably another reason why we are trialing a couple of newbies in defense at the moment.
 

goyoucatters

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lol, scoring most points per game (1st time in a decade mind you) has nothing to do with ball movement from out of defense.
Geelong is one of the worst rebounding teams in the competition. We chip back and forth before trying to pump it inside forward fifty. We are only ranked 5th for inside 50's so that says a lot about our scoring efficiency once we do get shots at goal.

Our tedious ball movement from the back half is pretty lame and predictable. We have no creative back flankers to break the lines. It is why we are hoping Higgins and Smith can provide such options this year.
Probably another reason why we are trialing a couple of newbies in defense at the moment.
Our ball movement out of defence is clearly designed to protect a group that are elite defensively and less remarkable offensively. And this resulted in us conceding the fourth-lowest 'points against' across last season as well. So to say that there is something 'lol-worthy' about how our game plan is working with our existing personnel to maximise our results is just fanciful. We are clearly doing quite an effective job with the tools at our disposal. To be ranked as low as we are for R50's and still lead the scoring across the comp (whilst winning plenty of games) tells you that we are clearly getting a lot right across the whole game plan. And also that the game plan is clearly not reliant on the slingshot strategy employed by many far less competitive teams than ours.

That said, as you mention, transitioning other players through the defensive group to see what additional rebound they can generate makes good sense as well. In the end, though, it's just not remotely as 'broken' as some here would have you believe.
 

CatToTheFuture

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lol, scoring most points per game (1st time in a decade mind you) has nothing to do with ball movement from out of defense.
Geelong is one of the worst rebounding teams in the competition. We chip back and forth before trying to pump it inside forward fifty. We are only ranked 5th for inside 50's so that says a lot about our scoring efficiency once we do get shots at goal.

Our tedious ball movement from the back half is pretty lame and predictable. We have no creative back flankers to break the lines. It is why we are hoping Higgins and Smith can provide such options this year.
Probably another reason why we are trialing a couple of newbies in defense at the moment.
It can be as tedious as it wants so long as it stretches defences, wears them down, and creates holes
 

Spearman

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I hope this season our efficiency in turning I50 entries into goals vs turn overs/rebounds will improve. We have added experienced players that send the ball in intelligently, and added an experience forward and replaced non-scoring ones with some more capable of pressure AND scoring - Evans, Miers (more often). Overall optimistic we won't have to sent everyone forward to lock it in because we're scoring off the first grab.
 

And_ROOS

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This.

Our 'keepings off' gameplan has fallen well short of Richmond on each occasion, and our persistence with it has barely impeded their march to GF wins.

It will be disappointing if we persist with it this year, but I expect we will. Scott seems to be stubbornly welded to this style.
I just think the main thing the best teams over the last 15 years have had is quick movement to two big forwards at CHF and FF, and they utilize them with quick direct ball movement.

We now have the last 2 Coleman winners in our forwardline. We also have a now very good 3rd forward in Rohan. And if we keep Danger out of there and keep some smalls in there, its a forwardline that will score a lot of goals.
I haven't been this excited for a Geelong list in a long time. If we burn what I believe is the strongest team we have had in the last 8 years because Scott wants to play keepings off, I will be awfully disappointed.

To steal a term, we should be reopening the Geelong highway.
 

And_ROOS

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It's not 'apparently', it's 'actually'. We scored more than every other team in the H&A last year. And somehow the club blundered its way to that outcome with one of the most defensive game plans going around and a fundamentally broken strategy.

Absolutely remarkable...

:rolleyes:
And in 2 of 3 matches that counted, that gameplan failed.

And it failed in the same way for the 3rd final in a row V Richmond.

Whats that about doing the same thing over and over again?
 

Vdubs

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And in 2 of 3 matches that counted, that gameplan failed.

And it failed in the same way for the 3rd final in a row V Richmond.

Whats that about doing the same thing over and over again?
Our gameplan is superb.
Just that Richmond is a better team with clearly the best player in the comp. Take him out of that game, we win.
The Port final loss was more about implementation then gameplan.
 

AM

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Next time I think I'm enjoying something, I'll check with you first to make sure I am.
Pleeeeeese don't, Frederick. You hold an exalted position in my eyes and I fear all would crash and burn if you were to do that.:worried:

Slightly more seriously, I don't find watching the Cats on TV 'fun' as rule. Nor is it for the management as I move toward the TV from time-to-time with the intent of putting my foot through it due to poor umpiring, poor play............On the other hand, being at the game can be 'fun'. Going with mates who are Cat fans. Grabbing seats with other like-minded people so you can share the ups-n-downs vocally. Having a pre-game refreshment or two and a post-game review and refreshment or three. That can be 'fun'.
 

goyoucatters

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And in 2 of 3 matches that counted, that gameplan failed.

And it failed in the same way for the 3rd final in a row V Richmond.

Whats that about doing the same thing over and over again?
To say that the only games that count are finals is a spectacular oversimplification. You have to win lots of 'games that count' each H&A season to qualify in good shape for finals. And last year's GF (Dusty's heroics aside) was not exactly an utter failure on our behalf. We're the only team to make Richmond look ordinary for a half of football in both of the last two finals series. So if you believe we're not even close to meeting the mark as it stands, where does that leave all the other teams in the comp?

In the end, our 2021 incarnation personnel-wise can be better in some key areas for improvement than last year's line-up. So I'd be much more inclined to believe that there will be incremental adjustments based on the opportunity to 'sharpen up', rather than the wholesale rejection of a game plan that's left us as the team that's threatened the premiers more than any other in the past two finals series.

Even the truncated window between seasons makes it less likely we'll be radically mixing it up in terms of our game style. There simply hasn't been time to overhaul too much at all in terms of how we set up to play.

All in all, I think it means we're not going to see (or need) half as much adjustment to the game plan as some here believe is necessary.
 
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