Just days from his 33rd birthday, Geelong captain Joel Selwood produced his highest disposal count since round one 2018 on Saturday afternoon, racking up 39 disposals in a best on ground performance against the Gold Coast Suns.
“I think we’ve spoken pretty openly about his physical shape the last couple of years, he hasn’t been at his best,” Geelong coach Chris Scott said.
“I think there’s a case to make that he will be better this year than he had been the previous two years because he’s healthier.
“How he can use his will to overcome physical limitations can’t help but surprise you, which is why we’re optimistic if he can actually get his body in good shape, he’ll continue to play really good footy.
“I think he’s been great; he’s led the team really well. It’s not just in the absence of Dangerfield, it’s others and part of his role is to bring the others through. Previously, I thought it was just you go in and get it done for us. It’s probably symbolic of the evolution of our list, particularly the midfield.”
One of the “others” to come through in the win was 23-year-old, Quinton Narkle, who finished with a career-high 34 disposals.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Quinton. It was a combination of him getting a little bit more of an opportunity but more him taking that opportunity. He’s a super player around the ball. He’s a strong, smart player so there’s a lot to like about him,” Scott said.
On the injury front, Geelong’s midfield depth could be tested further against Collingwood next Saturday, with Mitch Duncan subbed out of the game at halftime against the Suns due to concussion. Reigning best and fairest winner Cam Guthrie was another casualty, exiting during the third quarter with what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury, though Scott was optimistic about his chances of playing the Pies.
“He went back on the ground so we’re pretty confident it’s not serious,” he said.
“I don’t really know, I think it’s an AC which is much, much better news than a dislocation or broken collarbone. If there’s a manageable one, this might be it, but I wouldn’t take my word for it.”
Suns coach Stuart Dew said he was pleased with the improvement his side showed on Saturday, a week after being trounced by local rivals Brisbane.
“Our execution obviously cost us but I am really proud of the effort, particularly after last week,” he said.
“Come down here to give it a shake and had we taken our chances … there were a few 12-point turnarounds. They’re the ones that really hurt.”
“If we bring that effort and that intensity against most teams, we’re in for a big show.”
“The good teams make you earn (the opportunities). They’re more glaring because you don’t get as many opportunities against the best.”
Scott admitted he expected the Suns to show up ready to fight and insisted the Cats didn’t take the clash lightly.
“I’m always worried. We were worried but not surprised,” he said.
“They were pretty clear that it was an important game for them to compete really hard and I thought they did that, that’s what we expected.
“It took us a long time for us to get on top. It wasn’t the cleanest game but sometimes you’ve just got to get your hands dirty and accept the way the game is going to be played.
“I think the key part for us was to hold our nerve when the game was tight. We never thought this was one that we would blow the game open and have everything on our terms.”
Originally published as How AFL veteran silenced the haters