There are trends, and then there are patterns that seem set in concrete.
Geelong coach Chris Scott was delighted with his new-look side after a thrilling seven-point win over Collingwood at the MCG.
Geelong coach Chris Scott was understandably proud of his new-look Cats after their stunning seven-point win over last year’s beaten grand finalist Collingwood.
But he says it will take more than Friday night’s thrilling 10.12 (72) to 9.11 (65) win at the MCG to validate the club’s off-season overhaul.
Scott’s side contained no less than six new faces, four of whom were making their AFL debuts.
Experienced hands Luke Dahlhaus (Western Bulldogs) and Gary Rohan (Sydney) impressed, but so did debutants Jordan Clark, Tom Atkins, Charlie Constable and Gryan Miers, who didn’t wilt in the heat of the frantic final term.
“We, as a collective football club, were really proud of them,” Scott said of his new crop.
“We thought they all executed their role, as we thought they would.
“It wasn’t a great surprise to us that they delivered – that’s why we picked them – but one of the really pleasing things is they didn’t look overawed by the occasion.
“So hopefully that will give them some confidence. We’ve got a long way to go and there’s a lot of growth in them, but we are excited.
“… (The win) was, in some way, validation of the things that we’ve worked on.
“I think it will take a lot longer than that for us to feel as if we have been endorsed by the footy world (though).”
Scott’s team overhaul isn’t just about new players, it’s also about the redeployment of tried and true stars to new roles.
Gary Ablett kicked two goals in an influential display playing predominantly as a forward, while skipper Joel Selwood often started on a wing at centre bounces instead of in at the coalface.
“I don’t want to expand too much in terms of Joel’s role … it’s something we’d like others to have to work out rather than give the game away,” Scott said.
“But he wants to win for the team and if we wanted him to play in back pocket he’d do it.
“They’re the sort of captains you love.”
Scott lauded his players for stepping up in pivotal big moments late in the game.
Tom Hawkins was one such player, booting his 500th career goal with just over five minutes left in the see-sawing contest to put the Cats in front.