Danger backs Cats youth
Geelong star says there’s plenty of talent to fill Kelly’s boots
PATRICK Dangerfield has put it on Geelong’s generation-next to fill the void left in midfield by star Tim Kelly.
The explosive midfielder returned home to Western Australia early in this year’s trade period, leaving the Cats without one of their best.
But Dangerfield is confident Geelong has the talent to replace Kelly, adding a number of young Cats — including Charlie Constable and Lachie Fogarty — had already put their hand up to make that position theirs.
“It’s very difficult to replace somebody of Tim Kelly’s calibre. He is an out-and-out star of the game,” Dangerfield said.
“The door is open. Tim has left and he will be a wonderful player for West Coast, but it gives other players opportunities and this is what pre-season is about.
“We saw some real big improvements last year from Charlie Constable. Lachie Fogarty wants to play more in the midfield, I know that.
“Jack [Steven] has obviously come across from St Kilda. And then there will be the natural progress from guys we’ve seen like Sam Simpson, who didn’t play AFL footy last year but his second half of the year was really strong. I see a really bright future with what he is going to be able to contribute to our team and the way he has come back and the nick he is in is exceptional.
“There’s a lot of midfielders, a lot of up-and-coming midfielders on our team.
“‘There’s a spot there and it’s your opportunity to grab it’. That’s the message from us.”
Dangerfield returned to training early following the off-season, joining Geelong’s first to fourth year players as well as recruits Steven and Josh Jenkins on the track.
The 29-year-old said training was “just more fun” than running laps through the summer. He said he was happy with what he had seen from Steven and former Crows teammate Jenkins early in preseason.
“Everyone is going to tell you how great [condition] their list is in and everyone is running PBs — and that’s wonderful,” Dangerfield said.
“But at the end of the day the most important thing is we put in a really good four month block and then we will be judged on our performances, as Jack and Josh will be.”
Nakia Cockatoo has been another that’s caught eyes on the track with the 23-year-old training solidly following a horror run with injury.