The Geelong Cats head into the new season with a mix of seasoned veterans and some emerging talents. However, unlike many other teams, the Cats don’t have a plethora of players coming through the ranks, making it a challenging task to pinpoint potential breakout candidates and stash options. This uncertainty is heightened by Geelong’s tendency to evenly distribute AFL fantasy points across the team, rather than having a few dominant high scorers. In this article, we’ll explore the Geelong Cats’ lineup, focusing on identifying those undervalued players who could offer significant fantasy value. With the team’s well-known resilience and ability to surprise, keeping an eye on the Cats’ lesser-known players could yield unexpected rewards for AFL Fantasy
Cam Guthrie had a bit of a stumble in the 2023 season, and I’m not just talking about his foray into ballet for injury rehab. Last year was a bit of a tough gig for Guthrie, sidelined with a foot injury that required surgery, making him more familiar with pirouettes than drop punts. Before this setback, he was a fantasy league gem, averaging 109.9 in 2021 and a nifty 95.9 in 2022. There’s a slight changing of the guard at Geelong with ‘younger’ players like Tom Atkins becoming a full-time midfielder, along with actual younger players like Max Holmes playing a greater role and Brandon Parfitt returning to the midfield later in the season. We should also see 2022 draftee Jhye Clark play more this season, so Geelong could use Guthrie’s experience and flair – if he can stay on his feet, that is. Here’s to hoping he swaps his ballet slippers for footy boots soon. If he’s fit and firing this season, he’s bound to be a twinkle-toed terror on the field and a handy pick for any fantasy team, especially if he slides in drafts.
Max Holmes’ transition into an inside role for most of 2023 seemed like a promising shift, with him attending way more center bounces than in previous years. But let’s be real, while his fantasy scores did improve last season, they didn’t soar to the heights we were all expecting. Averaging just 75 for the season? Come on, Max, you can do better than that! It was a bit of a head-scratcher to see him nudged out of the midfield for Brandon Parfitt later in the season, taking on more of an outside role. I’ve got my fingers crossed that 2023’s inside midfield experiment wasn’t just a flash in the pan and that we’ll see him back in the thick of it. But honestly, he just screams ‘outside player’ to me, and let’s face it, they’re not exactly setting the fantasy world on fire right now. It’s not that I doubt his potential to rack up some decent AFL fantasy scores, but I reckon there’s a bit too much hype around him. A good player, sure, but worth all the buzz? The jury’s still out on that one.
Gryan Myers turned heads last season. He established himself as one of the better general forwards in the competition. And let’s not forget those hilarious comparisons to Lionel Messi by some well-known commentators – talk about setting the bar high! But let’s come back down to Earth for a moment. As much as Myers shone last season, I’m not convinced he’ll improve on his average of 76 this season. That said, considering the current shortage of top-tier forwards, he’s shaping up to be a pretty handy contributor. In a year where picking a solid forward line feels like a bit of a lucky dip, Myers might just be one of those surprise goodies you’re glad to have snagged.
Jack Bowes last season was a bit like a jack-of-all-trades, but was a master of none and it didn’t translate well in the AFL Fantasy world. He was shuffled around everywhere – playing on the half-forward line, half-back, and also spending some time in the midfield. Sadly, this lack of consistency led to his worst fantasy return since his debut season, barring the injury-riddled 2022. When it came to his midfield stints, it was a classic case of feast or famine. Some weeks, he was racking up center bounces like they were going out of style, and other times, he was nowhere to be seen in the midfield. However, there’s a glimmer of hope for Bowes. If he can nail down a consistent midfield role, there’s value to be had. Given Geelong’s rollercoaster performance last season, there’s a decent chance he might get more midfield action. He’s one to keep an eye on in the off-season – could be a sneaky good pick if things fall into place.
The Breakout Contenders
Jhye Clark, the young gun at Geelong, gives off some serious Joel Selwood vibes. Like Selwood, Clark is shaping up to be that tough, gritty inside midfielder, known for his leadership qualities on the field. It’s true, he might not have the flashy outside game of some of the other elite midfielders, but he’s carving out his own niche at Geelong. With Patrick Dangerfield not getting any younger and his AFL days numbered, Clark could be the one to step into those big shoes soon. Last season, I really thought we’d see more of him, but injuries had other plans. This year, if he can keep his body in check, I’m expecting him to rack up plenty of game time. Now, he might not be the biggest scorer out there yet, but he’s got the makings of a player who could average a solid 85 to 95 in his prime. Fingers crossed, we might witness a breakout year from Clark. If he taps into that Selwood-esque resilience and determination, we’re in for a treat. He’s one to watch as he continues to develop his game and make his mark in the AFL.
The Stash Options
There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Toby Conway. Geelong has been in dire need of a solid ruckman for ages, and it looks like Toby Conway might just be the answer to their prayers. With Rhys Stanley’s time at the top seemingly on the wane and Mark Blicavs not getting any younger, not to mention the retirement of Jon Ceglar, Conway’s emergence couldn’t be more timely. Although he’s only 20, we might see more of him in the senior side sooner than expected. Last year’s foot injury did put a bit of a damper on his start to 2023, but he still managed to show some promise in the VFL, averaging 74 fantasy points from his three games. That was enough to earn him a spot in Geelong’s senior team for the final round of the year. Given that he’s probably still learning the ropes at the AFL level and considering the lack of fierce competition in Geelong’s ruck department, Conway could be a name worth keeping an eye on. He might take some time to fully develop, but he’s got the potential to be a significant player for the Cats through necessity alone.
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