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Round 21 Preview

21st August 2015

All week we were waiting for the news that a teammate who’d been through an injury struggle would be picked for his first senior game for a number of years. We thought that player might be Daniel Menzel, however we’re thrilled for Nathan Vardy.

Dan was a little bit sore from his BOG performance on the weekend, having now played six games in a row. If he came into the AFL side he’d need to play through the next month without a break.

Nathan’s a great story and he hasn’t played at this level for almost two years but he’s got so much talent and you just hope he gets a good run at things. He’s grown up a hell of a lot through his injury struggles. It’s going to be great to see him out there tomorrow night. He’ll give us an option in the ruck and might free up Mark Blicavs to play through the midfield.

During the week I caught up with an old school mate (still a mate) and a key player for the opposition on Saturday night, in St Kilda’s Jarryn Geary. We went to school together from Year 7 at Catholic College in Bendigo and were rivals when Kennington Sandhurst and Eaglehawk played each other. He believes the Saints are really comfortable playing at Etihad Stadium and that’s something we need to be aware of. We need to make sure we come to play right from the start. It’s another huge game for us because if we drop one along the way we are in a lot of strife.

Hope to see you all there at the game on Saturday night.

 

Go Cats!

Sel

My 200th

6th August 2015

Wow, 199 games of AFL footy have flown by. I’m into my ninth season and it only feels like yesterday I was kicking a ball around the backyard with my three brothers.

I’m looking forward to running onto Simonds Stadium on Saturday for a number of reasons and the milestone is just one of them.

Playing 200 games is probably something that means more to my parents, I’ve got my eye on the ball at the moment, but I’m sure they will be very proud of me. Whenever my brothers or I have reached a milestone like this it’s a good time to remember where we came from and think about our footy journey. There were certainly some tears along the way, but it’s a chance to give each other a pat on the back and acknowledge we are making a pretty good fist of it.

Looking back on what I’ve achieved so far, I’ll always be indebted to the coaches and players I’ve worked alongside. I was lucky enough to be drafted to the club I barracked for as a kid and idolised the players who became my teammates.  I worked hard to earn their trust and respect. They challenged me and I challenged them. I’m forever grateful for that.

It’s no different now. We’ve built a strong culture at the club and I genuinely love arriving for work each and every day. Not a lot of people could say that.

Being an AFL player is a challenge. I’ve learned over the journey how much energy you need to invest in yourself to ensure you’re delivering for the team on a consistent basis. You as an individual have a key role to play for the football club and that is to cross the t’s and dot the i’s to make sure you perform on game day.

joel 200 boots
My custom Asics “200th Boots”

Another thing I’ve come to understand is that when you think you’re going well, you’re probably not going that well and when you think you’re going badly, you’re not going that bad. You’ve got to stay on your toes in this game.

This has certainly been my most challenging year at Geelong from a win-loss perspective.  It’s the first time we’ve had to fight tooth and nail until the end of the season to claim a finals spot. But, I’m excited about how we are playing at the moment.

This time of year I love the most. You can see finals on the horizon, but you’re still aware there’s a process to go through. I feel our list is becoming healthy and we are hitting form at the right time. The boys are stepping up and we’ve been really hard to score against over the last three weeks.

Go Cats.

 

Congrats Boris on your 300th Game

19th June 2015

It was a huge result for us last Friday night and probably one of the best interstate wins we’ve had in years. With both sides sitting on a same number of premiership points, it was a game we were both desperate to win. It was probably our best four-quarter effort for the year. We had the answers every time they challenged us. When the Power midfield gets a run on it’s hard to stop, but our second half was outstanding. Rhys and Mark did a great job in the ruck and it flowed from there. Over the past two games we’ve been rewarded for sticking to our plans and executing the game plan.

We have extra motivation this week with Corey Enright playing his 300th game. The Geelong Football Club over 150 years old and he’ll be just the third player to reach this milestone. We are all extremely proud of what he’s done and the fact that he’s the only member of the triple-premiership winning group to get there highlights what an achievement it is.

Boris sits alongside Matty Scarlett and Gary Ablett as the best players I’ve played with at Geelong. My first impression of him was that he was a good player, but I didn’t quite understand how good he actually was. I quickly saw the way he trained and how he prepared. He does the simple things well to make himself better. It’s no surprise he’s got five All-Australian jumpers, three flags and two Best and Fairest awards in premiership years. He revolutionised the way half back is played with his rebound and intercept marking.

More importantly, Corey is a really good person and teammate. It’s never been about him, it’s always been about the team. I didn’t get to know him very well until the end of my first season (2007). He was quite shy and hung around with his fellow defenders. It wasn’t until after the 2007 grand final that I got to see the real Boris.

What people might not know about Corey is how funny he is. He’s different, but loveable. After the 2007 Grand Final, he had been given a black cat (one of the first Geelong mascots) and a hunter’s hat by someone in the crowd after the 2009 Grand Final. He wore the hat to Mad Monday and made sure the toy cat played a big role in the festivities. It was simple humour, but had the boys in stitches. He’s become a leader at our football club and he always reminds us to find the fun in football. This is particularly good for the young guys. He has the ability to take himself back to their age and really enjoy what they are going through at that stage of their careers.

And the nickname?….

Boris came from the tennis player Boris Becker. I understand he used to throw the odd tantrum and his dad’s mates back in Kimba gave it to him!

Round 8 Reflection

28th May 2015

After a tough start to the season I feel like we are settling into a bit of a rhythm and it was pleasing to win in such convincing fashion against the Blues.

We’ve won three out of the past four matches now and that’s come on the back of different guys standing up each week. It wasn’t my most prolific performance, but when you’re on the end of a heavy tag it’s important to find other ways to contribute and I believe I did that.

It was a night for me to support the other midfielders and use my voice to make sure we maintained the right structure at stoppages and block for them when required. Ed Curnow had a job to do and he stuck at the task really well. I got frustrated at times and I need to make sure I don’t give away free kicks and stay focused on the job at hand.

It’s important to stay in the game and understand that it’s not always about how often you touch the footy. I remember last year against Carlton I had a pretty ordinary night but I ended up kicking the goal that put us in front with a minute to go. There might be a moment or passage of play that you have a huge influence on and it might change the game.

There are no hard feelings towards Ed, he’s a good Geelong boy. My brothers have played similar roles in their careers, so I understand more than anyone he’s just doing a job for his team. In fact, we play the Eagles on Sunday afternoon and Scott has played a tagging role on me in the past.

I’ll go over a day before the rest of the team and spend some time with my younger brother Scott, but once game day rolls around it’s all business. Usually, we will check to make sure we are both on the ground during the warm up, but from there we just get on with the job.

Finally, Cam Guthrie’s moment with Chris Judd after the game on Friday night has got plenty of attention. I didn’t actually know what had happened until once we were in the rooms. I just thought he was walking around with his top off! I’m sure he was pretty nervous asking, but I hope Juddy is chuffed another player holds him in such regard.

If I were to swap jumpers with a current player, who would it be? Gary Ablett. We’ve obviously shared some great memories on the field and I really enjoying watching him play for the Gold Coast.

Thanks for reading….!

Go Cats! Sel.

Round 6 Review

10th May 2015

We took another step forward on Friday night and to beat Collingwood on the big stage is a confidence booster for our young group. It was probably our first four-quarter performance for the season and it was pleasing to see the next generation of stars spark us early in the game.

It’s not all about stats, but to have Mitch Duncan, Jackson Thurlow, Mark Blicavs, Josh Caddy and Stevie Motlop among the highest possession winners was telling.

Collingwood is a side we rate highly, so to come out of the blocks with seven goals in the opening term was pivotal. We just did the simple things well.

There was a good feeling in the rooms before the match with Tom Lonergan playing his 150th and Josh Cowan returning for his first game at AFL level since 2011.

We found out that Josh would be playing on Wednesday and it gave the group a lift. It was disappointing to see him get injured in the first quarter, but it won’t be the last time you see Josh at senior level this year. He’ll overcome this hurdle like he has others in the past three seasons and return better than before.

I have been asked about my hand a number of times over the weekend after it was not looking all that great Friday night during the game. It’s on the mend and feeling much better, I will have to work closely with the medical staff early this week but confidence it will mend quickly and I will be right to go.

We now board a plane for the first time this season and play the Swans at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night. We rate them as one of the best sides in the competition, but we will focus on playing our brand of footy and attack the contest.

We enter Round 7 with confidence and feel like we’re building momentum with every match.

Finally and most importantly, I would like to wish all all the mum’s out there a very Happy Mother’s Day. I’m so blessed to have such an amazing mum who has always supported myself and my three brothers and still to this day, never misses a Cats game.Spoiling mum on Mother's Day

Go Cats & Happy Mothers Day!!

Round 5 Wrap & Round 6 Preview

6th May 2015

It was pleasing to get the points against Richmond on Saturday and particularly because of the way we played. The processes we worked on during the pre-season are starting to translate into how we play on match day. Besides the final 15 minutes, when the Tigers kicked some late goals, we had a really strong defensive game and were able to kick goals after forcing turnovers.

We’ve got a lot of new faces in the team and wins like that inspire them to play bigger roles. The more confidence guys like Cory Gregson, Jed Bews, Shane Kersten and Darcy Lang build, the longer we will be in the contest and the more games we will win.

A big test awaits us on Friday night against the in-form Magpies, but we can’t wait for the challenge. We’ve seen a lot of them on TV this year and I’ve been impressed with their ball movement and ability to win the contested ball. Our midfield will have to be on song to prevent them from getting the ball inside 50.

It’s our first match under lights for the season and we relish playing on the big stage. It’s not a foreign experience for us, the majority of our games in 2014 were at night, but for the younger players there’s some things to get used to. The ball is often a little dewy to start with, there’s the glare of the lights and it’s tricky to know when to sleep or what to eat during the day. The only downside of playing a night game is that you don’t get to sleep until 3AM the next morning because the adrenaline is still running!

We are likely to get some experienced players back this week, which will help. However, one guy that won’t be out there for a couple of matches is James Kelly. It’s the sort of injury you wouldn’t wish on anyone, but he’s handled it pretty well and his sense of humour is still alive. He’s been getting some pretty clever/cheeky text messages and social media post.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Steve Johnson delivers against Collingwood. He’s not in the form he’d like to be, but it won’t take long for things to turn for him and it’s not through a lack of effort on the training track. He’s a competitor and a player you want out there by your side because he can do anything.

Go Cats!