Geelong opened its doors to a bumper crop of first-year Cats last offseason, with 10 players freshly welcomed into the AFL system through the draft and trade pathways.
While Jordan Clark and Tom Atkins have attracted attention for their efforts at the top level, there have been plenty of other strong performers at VFL Level.
VFL Coach Shane O'Bree shared his thoughts with Cats Media.
Nathan Kreuger (eight Games, 12 goals, two times in best)
“We’ve been playing him backline, forward line and kept flicking him around mid-game and mid-quarters. He’s one of those players that has a real impact on the game when he does that.
“The last month has showed that, with his ability to go forward and kick goals. He’s been rewarded for the amount of work he’s been doing on the training track, trying to learn all facets of the game."
Oscar Brownless (nine games, two goals)
“He’s been an interesting one Oscar. He had a massive pre-season – his assets are his running capabilities.
“The bye has come at a good time for him. Like a few others he’s showed signs of a bit of fatigue and the mental and physical strain of playing week in and week out.
"Oscar is another we have been playing in multiple positions. He’s played half-back, wing and high half-forward. He’s going really well, it’s just come to that point of the year where he’s feeling really fatigued and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does in the second half."
Jake Tarca (nine games, eight goals, one time in best)
"We want more from Tarcs. He definitely does have a lot of tricks, for his height he’s really explosive and can take a good mark.
“We want to see him take his marks. At junior level he took a lot of speccies and at training he’s done that but on game day we’ve only seen one or two of those. We’re hopeful in the second half of the year we get to see a bit more of Tarcs and he’s more comfortable with where he’s at.
"The areas of the game we’ve been working on with Jake are impacting over longer periods. He’s been playing inside mid and getting his hand on the ball a bit more there.
"He’s not far away from playing really good consistent footy for us at VFL level."
Ben Jarvis (six games, one goal)
"He’s probably one that hasn’t played against men a hell of a lot. He’s getting used to playing against bigger bodies, stronger bodies, quicker players.
"He started as a forward and probably wasn’t impacting on the game as much as he’d like so we’ve put him down back just to free him up a little bit. He’s learning how to play on some of the good VFL forwards and learning some tricks there.
"At training to be able to play on guys like Tom Hawkins and Gary Rohan, eventually we’ll throw him back forward and hopefully he has a bit more impact on the game."
Jacob Kennerley (nine games, two goals, one time in best)
"Kennels is one of those players you love to coach. He’s a sponge and wants to learn and get the best out of himself and play in multiple positions.
"Of late he’s been playing a bit more back than anywhere and the last two weeks he’s really been (good in) all the areas of the game for the running defender. He’s been winning the one-on-ones, he’s been really solid down there. He’s playing our team defence and getting more comfortable every game he plays.
"Second half of the year we’ll see Kennels get up and around the wings where his natural position is and getting more of the ball and getting more impact that way."
Stefan Okunbor (one game)
“His instinct on the game – he’s just a natural footballer. We can’t take that away from him we’re just going to keep backing his judgement.
"He had a really good pre-season where he advanced really quickly. Athleticism is his real strength. On the weekend was his first opportunity to show us since the pre-season games.
"He went for a couple of hangers, didn’t quite take them but he has got a leap so we’ll keep working on his bag marking and then when it comes to the game he’s taking those for us.
"At the moment he’s just playing down back but we’d like to see him high up the ground and even around the midfield if possible."
Stefan Okunbor YouTubed 'AFL's biggest hits'. He liked what he saw.— Geelong Cats (@GeelongCats) February 8, 2019
Now the talented young Gaelic footballer is trying his luck in Australia.
READ : https://t.co/CpMNB7Jud0#StandProud #WeAreGeelong pic.twitter.com/CTSStC8foc
Blake Schlensog (six games, six goals, one time in best)
"With Blake probably the area of his game to work on is getting a bigger engine. For a big guy we want him to do multiple efforts and be a target for us, plus put pressure on and get forward and behind the ball.
"Blake’s played back and forward for us and had an impact in both areas of the game. He is a project player for us and he’s started to feel comfortable for us at VFL level.
"He’s had two bags of three as a forward for us and on the weekend we needed to play him back and he was really solid against the best VFL team in the competition.
Darcy Fort (six games, nine goals, two times in best)
"Forty’s first half a dozen to eight games were really promising and he competed well. He was our most dangerous forward and played a little bit in the ruck.
"That got him an opportunity at AFL level which he looked really comfortable at. Unfortunately he couldn’t hold his spot in the team.
"I suppose with a lot of our young players it’s going through that phase where you’ve played AFL and achieved what you’ve set out to do and now it’s just that next phase where you have to come back to VFL and keep improving your game.
"Darcy the last two weeks has probably lost a bit of confidence with that and the break has come at a good time for him to freshen up mentally and physically."