Gryan Miers could be excused for resting on his laurels after a breakout 2019 season.
The mercurial goalsneak came from relative obscurity to make his round one AFL debut against the Magpies, and didn't miss a beat thereafter, playing all 25 Geelong AFL outings in the year.
His mindset leading into his third AFL season gives an insight into the hunger that has fuelled his successes.
“My mindset doesn’t change, you’ve always got to improve,” he says.
“Last year I definitely ticked a few boxes, but I really didn’t achieve what I’ve set out to yet, we want to win a premiership as a team so that’s really the main goal so I’ve got to keep working towards that for this year.
What has changed is the Geelong local’s assurance that his game can stand up at the top.
“I’m definitely a lot more confident, I know what I can do at AFL level where last year I was coming off a year in the VFL,” he says.
“Last year I was aiming to get a game and now it’s to excel, to get more of the ball and be more of an impact for longer in the game.
"I’m really quite excited about what the season has for me in store and I really can’t wait to get into games and start trying against new opposition."
When Miers is asked what he hopes to improve on for the Cats’ 2020 campaign, he rattles off a long list of areas he has identified.
It’s an indication that the young Cat isn’t just saying the right things when it comes to his continual improvement, he genuinely believes it.
“Definitely listening to the coaches, definitely trying more different stuff out on the track, just being more confident and trying more things and seeing if it works and what doesn’t work,” he says.
“Groundballs – I’m good at getting there but what to do with it next and not getting pushed off the ball and then being able to find it and get it off to my teammate.
“Then my kicking, just trying to be the best kick possible so when I have the ball in my hands my teammates are confident are in me and I’m confident in myself that I can hit wherever a player is on the ground.”
The Cats will be hoping the club’s young charges can take a leaf out of Miers’ book and make a seismic leap as he did in 2019.
Geelong boasts the equal most 18-21yo players in the entire league on its list, so will be hoping the group, especially its young forwards, take another step forward.
“Sav’s just improving out of sight… and then we’ve got Brad Close, Ben Jarvis is training really well, Jake Tarca is there.”
“(Taheny) has got really long arms, kind of like Bori (Enright). I can’t believe how long he is. He’s not that tall but when he reaches out he’s nearly 200 centimetres,” Miers says with tongue in cheek.
“We’ve got a good new mix and the usuals from last year so it’s going to be a good balance trying to work everyone in and work together.”
“I wouldn’t rule any of them out really (for round one). We’ve just seen a little bit of each of them so far because they’re in and out of drills, but I don’t think anyone last year would have thought four of us would have debuted in round one.”
“I don’t see why not, all of them could put their hand up and give it a go.”