Eye-catching AFL games from youngsters Josh Caddy and Mark Blicavs on Friday highlighted Geelong’s strong depth heading into round one.
Caddy was high among Geelong’s best and Blicavs rucked well against Collingwood star Darren Jolly as the Cats won 20.21 (141) to 13.12 (90) at Simonds Stadium.
This is the last weekend of pre-season games and rival coaches Chris Scott and Nathan Buckley said they were pleased with how the two teams are tracking.
But Buckley admitted the ‘Pies must lift their intensity after a poor second half a week ago against Brisbane and now Friday’s lacklustre performance.
There were no such concerns for Scott after watching his team have 41 scoring shots with 14 goalkickers – and star key forward Tom Hawkins kicked none in opposition to Nathan Brown.
“Somewhere between 15 to 30 on our list is pretty close, we’ve got a big group of players that are capable of playing really good, solid, AFL footy in the early rounds of the season,” Scott said.
“I’m pretty confident our side (in) round one won’t be our side round four, we’ve got a pretty even spread among those guys on the fringes.”
Caddy, who was recruited from Gold Coast, is surely in their round-one team for the blockbuster against Hawthorn.
Blicavs also continues to impress and given the Cats will probably be down a couple of ruckmen, the former steeplechase runner could make his AFL debut on Easter Monday.
Regardless, Blicav’s running ability continues to amaze Scott.
“I’m not one for massive statements, but … there’s never been a 198cm AFL footballer who can run like him,” he said.
Buckley was philosophical post-match saying there was plenty to like about their pre-season.
They were missing a big group of senior players, with Clinton Young pulling out of the side late.
“I’m not disappointed with our pre-season – I believe we’re in good shape,” he said ahead of their round-one game against North Melbourne.
“The performance in isolation today was poor.
“Our last six quarters of footy, we don’t want to hang our hat on that, but the pre-season in entirety we feel we’re in decent shape to begin well.”
Buckley singled out rookie-listed player Sam Dwyer for praise, saying he showed great effort as he tries to earn an elevation to their senior list.
“It was indicative of a player who there was no tomorrow for – he was playing for everything,” Buckley said.
“That was a fair contrast to the majority of the rest of our players.”
Key forward Quinten Lynch kicked four goals for the ‘Pies, but he missed the last term with a corked thigh.