Well renowned for his incredible defensive craft, Tom Atkins is beginning to add some attacking flair to the Cats midfield as they push for a return to finals action.
Coming off another impressive performance against Port Adelaide, Atkins collected 21 disposals and five clearances in the middle while also amassing eight score involvements.
The 27 year old has been a shining light for the Cats in 2023, averaging 19 disposals and five clearances while featuring in every game so far this season.
Atkins spoke to K Rock following the Cats win over Port Adelaide on Saturday night, saying how a more proactive approach was a big focus for the side against the Power.
"We made the mistake in previous games of being too defensive,” Atkins told K Rock.
“You still have to think about winning the ball yourself, because otherwise you end up playing reactive footy.
"Against teams like Port Adelaide, they have those types of players who have quicker reaction times that can really beat you up the other way.
"If we can try to play proactive and get the ball ourself, that's when we can get on top."
Despite the new offensive minded approach, Atkins certainly has not receded in his defensive efforts sitting fourth in the league for tackles laid this season.
‘The Axe’ also leads the Cats for clearances and contested possessions in 2023, becoming a vital piece of Geelong’s midfield puzzle.
But Atkins said that having a more attacking approach to his game was an area he had identified for improvement, helping to make him a more well-rounded asset for Geelong.
"I definitely need to get more offensively minded, probably need to try and find the footy a little bit more,” Atkins told K Rock.
“I can always rely on my defensive work, that comes pretty naturally but I need to get a bit more proactive.
"Then obviously try to get more composed when I've got the footy, I'm a little bit scrappy with ball in hand so that's where I can improve.
"I'll just do whatever the team needs though, at the moment we're missing a few ball winners through injury so I need to try and find it a little more.”
The Cats went for a different approach in the lead up to the Port Adelaide clash, hitting the reset button as they started to prepare for a crucial month ahead in the fight for September action.
Atkins outlined the different approach after Saturday night’s game, noting how the change helped to relax the playing group.
"We changed things up a bit, went for a walk down in Torquay on Tuesday,” Atkins told K Rock.
“Footy is such a mental game sometimes, so having a little reset was nice.
"We knew we had a six day break coming up after the Port Adelaide game too and before you know it, we will be into the Collingwood game.
"It's nice to have a little rest.”
Alongside Atkins in the midfield, Geelong skipper Patrick Dangerfield helped guide his side home with an enormous final term amidst a pivotal four-goal run to seal the match.
Collecting eight disposals and two clearances in the midfield, the captain also delivered four inside-50 entries and three score involvements as the Cats stormed over the top of Port Adelaide.
Atkins said it is a privilege to run out alongside Dangerfield each week, with his captaincy impressing the playing group right across the 2023 season.
"Paddy is awesome,” Atkins told K Rock.
“We know how good he is, I love having him as a captain and he has remained really positive throughout the season.
"He has basically been the perfect captain to have in the situation we have been in this year, where we need to keep the energy up and get excited for each game.
"I love running out next to Pat, that last quarter was a perfect example of what he can do."