Main content

Superstar Cat primed for big 2019

Patrick Dangerfield is primed to make a big impact this year. - Geelong Cats,Patrick Dangerfield
Patrick Dangerfield is primed to make a big impact this year.
You can't cheat the pre-season. You either do it or you don't.
Patrick Dangerfield

To say Patrick Dangerfield is in better condition this pre-season compared to last would be a massive understatement.

A nagging back injury, which affected the Geelong superstar more than he let on, has been consigned to the past and a productive summer has the midfielder primed to explode in 2019.

Dangerfield said the amount of training sessions he has been able to complete has increased dramatically in the lead up to this season.

The Brownlow medallist also strained his hamstring in the JLT Community Series, which forced him to miss round one of 2018.

"I'm not sure in numbers but in terms of a percentage it would be easily double, if not more which is pretty significant," Dangerfield told AFL.com.au.

The 28-year-old said improved continuity in his sessions had made a crucial difference.

"That's the key to it. The more sessions you do, the greater bulletproofing it gives you for the season ahead," Dangerfield said.

"You can't cheat the pre-season. You either do it or you don't.

"That was challenging last year so it's nice to have completed basically every session this year. It gives you good confidence to know that the sessions are on the bank."

Dangerfield spent 37 per cent of game time as a forward last season – the highest percentage of his career since 2011, according to Champion Data.

There was a slight dip in the disposals column in 2018, but the impact Dangerfield had when the ball touched his hands was pronounced.

Dangerfield had the fourth-most score assists of any player in the AFL across the premiership season and booted 24 goals (the third-most at the club behind Tom Hawkins and Daniel Menzel), earning his fourth consecutive All Australian guernsey. 

With Gary Ablett slated to play as a permanent forward this season, Dangerfield expects his own midfield time to pick up accordingly as Geelong embraces a changing of the guard in the engine room.

Youngsters Brandan Parfitt, Quinton Narkle and even the untried Charlie Constable seem increasingly likely to spend some time through the middle.

"It'll be similar to last season, but with potentially a little more midfield time. But really it's what best suits us," Dangerfield said of his own role.

"Gaz will play a little more forward but we want to make sure that we've got our younger players and expose them to midfield roles for the positions they were drafted for rather than drafting them as 'mids' and trying to turn them into half-forwards."

Dangerfield believes the introduction of the 6-6-6 starting positions and the adjustment to the kick-in rule would have a sizeable effect on how the game is played in 2019.

"It's going to be interesting to see how teams play it because you can't throw players behind the ball all of a sudden," he said.

"You can't get too high in defence from kick-ins because now (as a defender) you can just run out of the square and clear a lot of lines and there'll certainly be some players in the competition who will be able to hit halfway with their kicks."

Dangerfield will captain the Bolts in this Friday night's AFLX tournament at Marvel Stadium.

 

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