Prior to the first bounce, it is evident that the Geelong Cats will need to lessen their dependence on the performance of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, but this is the sort of problem any AFL club would enjoy, as it certainly beats some of the issues that teams such as the Brisbane Lions must confront on a daily basis.
Dangerfield showing up in Geelong was a boon in terms of taking some of the heat away from Selwood, although the retrospective perspective is that now it is Dangerfield, the 2016 Brownlow Medal winner, who needs some assistance to keep the target on his back from being completely obvious.
Last year, clubs playing the Cats used deep midfields to wear the two out and the Swans exposed this Cat vulnerability in last year’s preliminary final and scored seven goals in the first quarter to make Geelong’s task insurmountable from early on.
Selwood and Dangerfield had impressive numbers in terms of clearances and contested possessions when the dynamic pair was on the ground, but for those statistics to come from just two players exposed a deficiency between the side’s best and worst that was easily exploited, despite the improvement in the Cat’s home and away record to 17 – 5.
Surprisingly, when the Cats tried to preserve Selwood and Dangerfield’s energy, they were vulnerable to bottom-10 teams, losing games to Carlton, Collingwood and St. Kilda, even though they were able to dominate in victories against the Hawks and the Dogs.