1. Young Cats ready to take the next step

After breaking the goal assist record (44) in season 2023, Gryan Miers looks set for another big jump in production in his seventh season at the club.

Starting the first quarter in the midfield on Thursday, Miers was everywhere, providing energy in attack, and helping spark the team to five consecutive goals to close out the first quarter.

Miers played on the wing at times before returning to his more traditional position in the forward line, producing a wonderful run and carry goal late in the second term.

Another Cat to impress was 203cm Key Forward Shannon Neale, who showed off his aerial abilities, taking a bag of contested marks.

Neale looked dangerous when the ball was in the Cat's forward 50 with Jeremy Cameron playing a higher role and Tom Hawkins off for the entirety of the fourth quarter.  

Booting six goals along with 27 disposals in a VFL Grand Final is a sure-fire way to get yourself on an AFL list. As was the case for 26-year-old Shaun Mannagh, who on Thursday donned the Hoops for the first time. 

Injected into the game in the third term, Mannagh’s presence was felt early as he looked like a ready-made AFL player with clean, composed usage of the footy.

On a day where players were shaking off rust and quality football was at a premium, Mannagh was able to hold his head high as he pushes for a Round One spot come March 16th.


2. The Need for Speed

The Cats looked fast on Thursday. 

With the likes of Oisin Mullen, Ollie Dempsey, and Max Holmes, the Cats have a number of bonified speedsters on their list. With the latter being the current Grand Final Sprint Champion.

Here's what assistant coach James Rahilly said when asked about it post game.

“I think it’s those young guys coming through, […] Oisin’s [Mullen] got speed, up ahead of the ball with Ollie [Dempsey], and then we’ve got some guys on the wing, Mitch Kevitt was there. They’ve got speed, but they can also cover the ground pretty well.”

After the coaching staff threw Holmes to Half Back for Thursday's game, Rahilly was questioned about the logic of that tactic.

“He’s got that speed, and everyone is looking for that speed off Half Back, you want that overlap, so he can turn a play or a short kick into a 100 metre play with his speed.”


3. Dangerfield looking as good as ever 

Heading into his 17th season, and second as captain of the Cats, the 2016 Brownlow Medalist is showing no letup in his ability to dominate the game if Thursday is anything to go by.

After sitting out the first term, the following three were vintage Dangerfield.  His tenacity to hunt the ball, along with an ‘at all cost’ mindset, saw Dangerfield regularly burst from congested packs with the Sherrin tucked firmly under his arm. 

He was also threatening throughout the game when thrown forward.

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“He’s an interesting one Patty, because he doesn’t seem to look much older,” Rahilly said.

“You’ll have to ask him, but I’ve heard it’s his best preseason he has had for a long time.

“Obviously he was good around the ball, but then we were able to chuck him deep, and be pretty dangerous ahead of the ball”

Geelong will host Essendon at GMHBA Stadium on the 1st of March for their Community Series Practice Match before all eyes will be on Round 1 on the 16th of March, where Geelong again will player host to St Kilda at GMHBA Stadium.