Have Geelong Improved? Or has the Rest of the Comp Gone Backwards?

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Lavender Bushranger

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 25, 2005
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The narrative this year has been about the genius of Chris Scott and his reinvention of Geelong, in order to take them to the next level.

Apparently this is why they're better this year, statistically, than in recent years.

But I put it to you, that Geelong haven't improved at all. They're the same. They're the same Geelong that is a top 4 team with some warhorse superstars, some solid pros, and some average young guys.
The same Geelong that wins enough games at home to have a healthy % to match their win/loss and land in the top 4 - but always seems to find 1 or 2 teams that are just better each year.

The difference this year is not any changes to their game plan. It is not any changes to their personnel. It is that those 1 or 2 teams that are just better than them each year don't exist!

The comp has, without doubt in my mind, gone backwards this year.

That's why the standard feels better - because good teams are playing other good teams, and good teams are playing average teams each week. Not great teams beating up on average teams, and great teams handling good teams comfortably each week.

Collingwood are an average team in any other season. Sydney would be a 'team on the rise' in any other season. The 2022 version of Brisbane does not play in a Prelim in any other season.

St Kilda does not 'just miss the 8' in any other season. I mean s**t, they beat both Geelong and Sydney!

The comp is even, not because the rubbish teams are better this year, but because the great teams don't exist this year, and the really good teams aren't as good as other years.


Now this ain't a bad thing. And it's not a knock on Geelong. I just felt the need to dispel yet another bullshit footy myth that the media spruik and the public lap up.
 

HairyO

Hall of Famer
Jul 13, 2015
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Carlton, Port and St Kilda all massively under-performed this year. Collingwood over-performed. Most other teams were around the right spot.

Probably GWS under-performed but they are a team filled with over-paid lazy spuds.
 

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Wojcinski

Steve Hocking's Polish Friend
Aug 14, 2011
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Adding Stengle, SDK and Holmes to the 22 and seeing huge improvements to Close and Zach Guthrie without any massive drop-offs to the older blokes, while playing with a more attacking, high pressure style has helped.

But yeah, if Geelong wins it's because the comp has gone backwards
 

Zevon

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Aug 1, 2016
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Nah Geelong have clearly improved for mine. They’ve largely done away with the chip-chip-chip game plan where they hold on to the ball for long periods but go nowhere. There’s been a clear change now to a more attacking style where they actually take the game on and give their key forwards (and talented smalls at their feet) a chance.

It’s a brand that’s much more conducive to winning finals than what they were doing previously.

They’ve also added some decent new talent in the form of Stengle and De Koning (and probably others I’m missing) which has freshened an otherwise ageing list up a bit.

Credit where it’s due I reckon.
 

iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
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I do think that last year’s best teams have dropped a long way, but we are playing a lot better in the back half of the year.

Stengle has stuck an extra two goals a game into the club immediately. The step up from the bottom six has been huge.
 

SSSSSS

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Apr 18, 2011
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I do think that last year’s best teams have dropped a long way, but we are playing a lot better in the back half of the year.

Stengle has stuck an extra two goals a game into the club immediately. The step up from the bottom six has been huge.

The big difference for me. The top end has declined with Selwood and Danger dropping off (offset by the rise of Cameron).

I think in terms of overall improvement I don't think there has been any but just far less reliance on the superstars which make the team more consistent.
 

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NetworkNerd

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Sep 6, 2011
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AFL Member so all clubs I guess.
Its both

Cats have improved with a quality small forward (Stengle), a gun defender (DeKoning) a second year of Hawkins/Cameron working together and their role players like Z.Guthrie, Close etc having good years. This allows them to absorb pressure for as long as is required then just slingshot the other end and snag goals.

Melbourne winning last year killed their hunger. Collingwood are workmanlike and Brisbane have too many players that go missing. The best 2 teams are in this years grand final.
 

Lunchlady Doris

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Apr 3, 2006
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The big difference for me. The top end has declined with Selwood and Danger dropping off (offset by the rise of Cameron).

I think in terms of overall improvement I don't think there has been any but just far less reliance on the superstars which make the team more consistent.

Selwood has had a great year, has been huge especially in our finals. He's twice the player he was in 2019.
 

RichLeMonde

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Sep 26, 2019
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Premiership teams generally are defined not by necessarily having the best top tier group out of any team but by having the best bottom tier group in the league. That’s why the Saints never won the flag around 2010. Their top 6 players were perhaps the best in the league but their bottom 6 were well below a Collingwood or Geelong.

Look at Geelong’s emergencies and unnamed players from Fri night. Several of them would walk into other teams’ best 22 or even 18, and were in Geelong’s team just one year ago. There’s your answer
 

La Dispute

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Adding Stengle, SDK and Holmes to the 22 and seeing huge improvements to Close and Zach Guthrie without any massive drop-offs to the older blokes, while playing with a more attacking, high pressure style has helped.

But yeah, if Geelong wins it's because the comp has gone backwards
Sometimes just introducing decent young players is enough of a circuit breaker, but Geelong have adjusted their gameplan and are incredibly dangerous in the front half. Plus another 12 months of Cameron and Hawkins working together, and it's now all clicking nicely.

I reckon some decent teams have gone backwards, but there's no doubt the Cats have taken steps forward.
 

GastevsBeard

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Aug 18, 2009
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I reckon you could see around mid season that the more attacking game plan was really paying dividends. That alone has taken their performance to a whole other level

The fact they didn't roll the dice more in the previous couple of seasons after multiple September failures is extraordinary
 

GeelongFTW

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I reckon you could see around mid season that the more attacking game plan was really paying dividends. That alone has taken their performance to a whole other level

The fact they didn't roll the dice more in the previous couple of seasons after multiple September failures is extraordinary
not really- we didnt have the personell. Look at the forward lines in 2017 compared to now- its night and day
 

Duskfire

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Jun 30, 2007
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Who are these warhorse superstars? Blicavs, Stengle, Atkins, De Koning, Holmes, Close, Guthrie have been among their best players this year. Danger has barely played, Selwood has been managed all year. Cameron and Hawkins are great obviously and they fall into that category, but the days of Geelong relying on Selwood and Danger is no longer there. Some people seem to have a hard time accepting that.
 

STPer18

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Feb 12, 2017
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Most of the lesser lights in our team are having career best/breakout years. Stengle AA, De Koning second in the rising star only behind a freak Daicos, Zac Guthrie gone from depth to one of the first picked in the backline, Holmes one of the highest rated wingers in the comp, Close flying under the radar and Atkins has gone from a back pocket plumber to a genuine top-line mid. Even young Gryan Miers was second best on ground in the prelim behind Dangerfield. A fit Cameron is a massive boost too + the gamestyle tweaks are highlighting everyone's strengths.

Regardless of the rest of the comp, we've clearly improved on previous years, there's simply no denying it.
 

jj1978

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May 11, 2006
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List balance, maturity and experience. A team that loves its footy, is professional off the field in terms of players not going overboard and doing stupid things, they recruit well and keep refreshing their assistants as well. Well done to them, 11 GF's in 33 years is a heck of an achievement.
 

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