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How the Misfits took over the Cats backline

Zach Tuohy is quite happy leading his merry band of Misfits - Geelong Cats
Zach Tuohy is quite happy leading his merry band of Misfits

What kind of pedigree would you expect from the AFL’s number one defence?

A bunch of dour robots who’s mindset is to shut down at all costs?

Down at GMHBA Stadium, in the absence of traditional defenders Harry Taylor and Lachie Henderson a new breed of defenders is emerging.

Introducing the Misfits.

Speaking on the Cats official podcast “To The Final Bell”, defender Zach Tuohy was asked by fellow panellists Cameron Ling and Scott Gullan what the secret to the win and the backline’s efforts were on Saturday.

“The stats for this defence are stacking up since round three or four, all the shows keep listing it, you’re the best in the comp.” Gullan said.

“The Misfits.” Tuohy replied.

“The steeplechaser, a high jumper, a pole vaulter, a Gaelic football player and a North Melbourne full forward, it’s not bad.”

“How do you all combine? What’s the magic ingredient?” Gullan asked.

“We started quite slowly and gave up some big scores in the first few weeks.” Tuohy answered.

“The good thing about underperforming, and I said it at the time, if you want to take some positives out of underperforming is that the mistakes are really obvious.” 

“We addressed some things we were doing blatantly just wrong and you kind of hope it will all come together and work out the way it has but really it has come on the back of Jack Henry coming out of nowhere and Stewie (Tom Stewart) going to another level and all those types.”

And since round three the stats haven’t lied.

AFL Stats guru @sirswampthing on Twitter has shown just how strong the Cats have been defensively.


Their nine game stretch of averaging only 54.8 points against is the best record for any team in the AFL era over that period of time and second only to the 1989 Bombers side over the last 50 years.

And as Tuohy so eloquently pointed out, it is a defence built out of what Chris Scott and his coaches had at their disposal rather than the best side on paper.

Whilst Tom Stewart is being universally selected as a lock for the All-Australian team his fellow defender Mark Blicavs is starting to create his own rumblings.

His efforts on Coleman medal leader Ben Brown on Saturday were as good as any defender this year and as pointed out be various football shows on Monday this is not a one-off. Blicavs is yet to have more than one goal scored directly against him in any game this year.

The next test comes this week. Rather than the Roos rock solid defence, the Cats will come up against the Tigers much vaunted attack which is the second best in the AFL. 

Something tells us this backline loves a test.

Listen to this week's episode of To The Final Bell with special guest Joel Selwood.

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