Geelong Cats premiership favourites but fixture curveball, defeat St Kilda Saints, Nathan Buckley on Best On Ground

Geelong veteran Zach Tuohy believes there’s a unique feeling about his enjoying group in 2022 in comparison with previous seasons after the Cats claimed their eleventh straight win on Saturday evening.

However whereas seven-time All-Australian Nathan Buckley believes the Cats are “primed on the proper time of the yr and on prime of the ladder for a cause”, he holds some issues about how “hardened” the Cats may very well be come September, with clashes towards two bottom-10 opponents to return over the ultimate two dwelling and away rounds.

The Cats on Saturday cemented their spot inside the highest 4 with a 45-point win over St Kilda at GMHBA Stadium. It means the Cats will earn a double probability in finals for a fourth straight season – and the ninth time in 12 seasons beneath coach Chris Scott.

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The narrative round Geelong at the moment of the yr in latest seasons has been whether or not they’re in a position to translate their dwelling and away type right into a finals marketing campaign, constantly reaching the preliminary closing stage since 2013 however falling wanting a flag.

Talking on Fox Footy’s Greatest On Floor on Saturday evening, Tuohy stated there was one thing totally different in regards to the 2022 Cats.

“We’ve definitely all the time felt we’re in with an enormous shout coming to the sharp finish of the yr, however this yr sort of does have a unique odor to it,” Tuohy instructed Fox Footy.

“I’m unsure you’ll be able to shut down one or two of our gamers and suppose it’s going to impact the outcome an excessive amount of, which is a superb downside to have.”

Requested if the Cats had been the clear No. 1 seed heading into finals, triple premiership Lion Jonathan Brown instructed Greatest On Floor: “I believe so. They’re constructing one thing properly, they only appear to be very full.

“I simply have extra confidence within the gamestyle they play. I believe it’ll stack up higher in September.”

Saints champion Nick Riewoldt added Roo: “That fashion they performed that introduced them unstuck – in finals specifically beneath the fierce strain – that management sport, they will flick to it and nonetheless go to it, however they’re much less inclined to start out video games prefer it.

“I believe they’re simply way more potent on offence than they’ve been in latest occasions and so they haven’t given up a lot defensively.”

After a tricky five-game run towards finals contenders, the Cats now face Gold Coast (eleventh) and West Coast (seventeenth) to complete their dwelling and away sport.

Buckley urged it’s “not one of the simplest ways to complete the house and away season”.

“You need to be hardened since you get that week off between dwelling and away and finals, so if there’s something that’s not working for Geelong, it could be these couple of video games,” he instructed Greatest On Floor. “However they’ve taken all of it earlier than them.”

Isaac Smith of the Cats is in stellar type. Image: Darrian TraynorSupply: Getty Photos

However Buckley stated the modifications the Cats had made personnel-wise over the previous 12 months would put them in good stead for a shot at this yr’s flag.

“Sam De Koning down again, Tyson Stengle up ahead, Jeremy Cameron’s up and about, Zach Guthrie performed a extremely good sport tonight and Tom Atkins by way of the midfield – 5 gamers they’ve discovered this yr they didn’t have final yr,” he stated.

“They’ve all the time had a deep squad and gamers that may are available in and play the roles, however they only appear to be deeper once more this yr.

“The opposite two are Max Holmes, who’s a younger participant that’s getting it carried out, and on the different finish of the spectrum is Isaac Smith – these two are operating gamers getting up and down the bottom in entrance of the ball. Brad Shut is one other … I imply Sam Menegola wasn’t even within the 22 and he is available in and he’s a official AFL participant.

“They’re rather well positioned and that depth of squad they’ve been in a position to put along with shrewd buying and selling and recruiting, wage cap administration – they’ve carried out effectively.”

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