Squad Breakdown: Geelong Cats 2023 SC analysis

We take an in-depth look at Geelong's SuperCoach credentials heading into the 2023 AFL season.

AFL Pre Season

Too old, too slow, too good.

Geelong secured that elusive flag that had evaded this playing group for so many years with a dominant defeat of Sydney in the Grand Final, silencing the doubters who had concerns over their list management strategies.

Three players retired over the off-season headlined by former captain Joel Selwood, with the club still yet to appoint his successor.

However, it opened the door for a trio of young inclusions and former top 10 talents to join the club, including Jack Bowes, Ollie Henry and Tanner Bruhn.

Whilst their on-field efforts are the best in the business, where do they stand from a SuperCoach perspective?

Sports journalist Dylan Bolch takes a deep dive into some of the players worth keeping an eye on down at Kardinia Park.

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FB: J. Bews, S. De Koning, Z. Tuohy

HB: T. Stewart, J. Henry, M. Duncan

C: M. Holmes, T. Atkins, I. Smith

HF: B. Close, J. Cameron, O. Henry

FF: T. Stengle, T. Hawkins, G. Rohan

FOL: R. Stanley, P. Dangerfield, C. Guthrie

INT: M. Blicavs, J. Kolodjashnij, Z. Guthrie, G. Miers

SUB: J. Bowes

EMG: B. Parfitt, S. Menegola, J. Clark, M. O’Connor

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List Changes

Ins: Jack Bowes (Gold Coast), Tanner Bruhn (GWS Giants), Ollie Henry (Collingwood), Jhye Clark, Ted Clohesy, Phoenix Foster, Oisin Mullin, Oscar Murdoch, Osca Riccardi

Outs: Luke Dahlhaus (retired), Francis Evans (delisted), Shaun Higgins (retired), Quinton Narkle (delisted), Joel Selwood (retired), Cooper Stephens (Hawthorn), Nick Stevens (delisted), Paul Tsapataolis (delisted), Zane Williams (delisted)

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Lock & Load

Tom Stewart (DEF, $604,000)

Is Tom Stewart the best defensive premium in SuperCoach this year? I think he has an extremely solid chance of ending the year as D1.

He is integral to Geelong’s transition from defence to attack and has all the attributes for SuperCoach scoring – intercept marks, precise kicking and high possession games.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Stewart is his ceiling, last season he put up scores of 187, 174 and 161.

He averaged 109.7 SuperCoach points per match in 2023, but if you take out his injury affected score of 39, that average bumps up to 114, which is more than both James Sicily and Jordan Dawson, who are also terrific options, yet slightly pricier.

The concern with Stewart is his injuries, he missed five matches last season which was frustrating for owners and also the fact that given his value to the side, he can often attract a tag.

He’s currently in my starting side due to his upside.

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Jack Bowes (DEF, $277,500)

This is an extremely speculative selection, and we need to see how Geelong set up and what his role is over the preseason and practice matches.

Bowes arrived at the Cattery after being traded from the Gold Coast Suns, in search of new and fresh opportunities.

Will he get that straight off the bat? I’m not so sure.

The 25-year-old would be a great mid-priced selection if he can replicate his scoring from the 2020/21 seasons, where he averaged 84 and 82.8 SuperCoach points per game.

Whether Bowes takes his place in defence or in the midfield remains to be seen, but both roles are usually pretty conducive to SuperCoach scoring.

He looks to have put his injury woes behind him, so keep a close eye on him in the coming weeks, especially if we get some clarity over his shaky job security.

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Jhye Clark (MID, $175,800)

Geelong got their man in the draft in the form of local lad Jhye Clark.

Clark captained the Geelong Falcons in the NAB League last season and was drafted by the club at pick eight.

He’s been likened to Selwood in that he is a tough, in-and-under, no fuss, competitive bull and averaged 25 disposals, 13 contested possessions and 127 SuperCoach points per game in the NAB League last season.

But does he fit in the side’s best 22? Keep a close eye on what Geelong do in their preseason outings before selecting him.

It’s also worth keeping tabs on Esava Ratugolea (RUC/FWD, $174,000), who is eyeing off a potential move down back in 2023.

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Tom Hawkins (FWD, $519,500)

Tom Hawkins could be a mid-season upgrade option, but steer well clear of selecting him in your starting side.

Whilst the big Cat is aiming to take his place in the round one team, he is still recovering from off-season foot surgery and is no certainty for the club’s opening clash with Collingwood.

“I think the most important thing is I, and we as a football club, want to make sure we are doing the right thing for my longevity so I’m not going to rush back and play when I’m not ready,” Hawkins said last week.

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The premiership-winning full-forward finished his 2022 campaign with an average of 94.4 SuperCoach points per game, ranking sixth amongst forwards.

He averaged 108 points in his last six matches and is such a critical part of how Geelong operates, plus, he seems to be getting better with age.

However, despite playing all 22 matches last season, given he is turning 35 this year, don’t be surprised if the Cats manage him at some stage as they did with the likes of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood last year.

With the likes of Josh Dunkley, Stephen Coniglio, Tim Taranto and Connor Rozee looking in exceptional touch as alternatives this preseason, avoid Hawkins.

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