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Selwood challenges young Cats

Captain Joel Selwood has challenged his younger teammates to follow his lead in 2019 - Geelong Cats,Joel Selwood
Captain Joel Selwood has challenged his younger teammates to follow his lead in 2019
We'll make sure we're around with them and have that healthy competition within the club that will make us the best we can be.
Joel Selwood

GEELONG captain Joel Selwood will train on a modified program before Christmas as the Cats continue to manage his ageing body.

The skipper, who turns 31 in May, said the modified loads in his 13th AFL pre-season were due to his age.

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"Mine's probably a bit of a slower build compared to the others," Selwood told AFL.com.au.  

"It's mainly just an age thing more than anything else, I'll only be in parts of training leading into Christmas. After that I'll be with the boys for most of it."

"It's simply that I'm 30 years of age now and just have to be more careful with the body and prepare it in the right way."

Selwood, who averages 22.6 games a season across his career, was the most notable absentee as the senior Cats returned to duty, two weeks after their younger teammates.

Gary Ablett, Harry Taylor and Tom Hawkins all took part in large chunks of running before they sat out the final 15 minutes of conditioning during Friday's session.

Zach Tuohy is expected to return to full running in coming weeks after knee surgery.

Contracted until the end of 2021, a year in which he will turn 33, Selwood praised a AFL-wide approach where senior players were given extra allowances during pre-season.

"The league is getting better at it, wanting to see players around longer," Selwood said.

"It's great to see Luke Hodge and 'Sandi' (Aaron Sandilands) and the older guys going around because they really still are great footballers.

"We've got to make sure we keep them around as long as we can."

Much like superstar teammate Patrick Dangerfield, Selwood encouraged his younger teammates to force their way into key midfield slots in 2019.

"I've always been on the case that you never want to anyone to give up a spot. Now I'm in that position where I'm not going to give up my spot," Selwood said.

"There's other proud players at this club that aren't, and these kids have got to come and take them off us.

"We'll make sure we're around with them and have that healthy competition within the club that will make us the best we can be."

After holding on to 24-year-old Tim Kelly, the Cats are searching for fellow youngsters to follow his lead.

The next batch includes Brandan Parfitt, Nakia Cockatoo, Jordan Cunico, Lachie Fogarty, Quinton Narkle and the untried Charlie Constable, all of whom will be all 23 or younger by next September.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs