Vic Country player Mitch Knevitt fronting the media at Trevor Barker Oval, 2021 (Photo: Mitchell Keating - Zero Digital Media)

Geelong's track record both in list management and sustained on-field success is evident for all to see. Having played in every finals series bar one since 2011, the Cats are one of the strongest sides in the competition.

But a constant hurdle they face is surmounting the preliminary final - including an 83-point thrashing at the hands of the Demons this season.

Geelong has always been a mature side, with the list's know-how and experience often guiding their success. But a burst of youthful talent could also go a long way in improving the club's fortunes in the near future.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 07: Geelong list manager Stephen Wells speaks to the media during the AFL Trade Period at Marvel Stadium on October 07, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Draft Hand

Picks: 22, 30, 32, 34, 50
Draft points: 2873

Geelong's picks are all centred around the middle of the draft. By extension, the Cats will play a crucial role in the second and third rounds.

Importantly, they'll almost certainly be able to extract high-end talent through players that slip through the first round. But as per the nature of the draft, ultimate flexibility will be required - a trait the club has shown in the past.

List Needs

Midfielder:
Geelong have kept their faith in the current stock of mature-aged players. Five of the Cats' top six clearance winners this year were Patrick Dangerfield (31 years old), Joel Selwood (33), Cam Guthrie (29), Mitch Duncan (30) and Sam Menegola (29). They have also added former Hawks ruckman Jon Ceglar and mature-aged small forward in Tyson Stengle.

Although, sticking fat with older players has come at the expense of Jordan Clark's departure to the Dockers and Charlie Constable's delisting.

Geelong could have their eyes on a young midfielder to ignite the next brigade of their engine in lieu of Constable and like, in order to avoid a lengthy re-build in the middle of the ground.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 17: Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats kicks during the round 22 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Geelong Cats at The Gabba on August 17, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Agile defender:
If there is one thing learnt from Geelong's 2021 campaign, it's the fact that Tom Stewart was sorely missed in pivotal games late into the year. Veteran defender Zac Tuohy is also not getting any younger.

Jordan Clark provided an offensive spark off half-back, but the club were reportedly concerned with his lack of defensive nous. Geelong would benefit from a mid-sized defender who can play one-on-one and remain defensively oriented.

Ideal Recruits

Mitch Knevitt:
A tall, big-bodied young gun whose work is centred around endurance and dominating the midfield. Knevitt has brutal power and an aerial capability that would also see him put to good use in the forward line.

His work rate is unquestioned, having impressed at the Draft Combine - finishing among the top names for speed (20m sprint) and endurance (2km time trial) tests. With a height of 194cm, alongside such athleticism, Knevitt frames as a damaging prospect.

The Geelong local won the Falcons' best and fairest award using his superb contested marking ability and immense strength. Knevitt is anticipated to go in the second round - a perfect accomplice to Geelong's' pick 22 or 30.

Sam Banks: Banks' 2021 season was rewarded with selection in the NAB League Team of the Year, having averaged 21.8 disposals per game for the Tasmania Devils. The medium defender is rated among the best by AFL talent ambassador Kevin Sheehan, although he is able to roll through the midfield too.

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Samuel Banks of the Tasmania Devils contests the ball during the NAB Leagues match between Tasmania and Eastern Ranges at Kingston Twin Ovals on April 17, 2021 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/AFL Photos)

Banks has been a highly-touted prospect from Tasmania for a number of years as a young player with elite decision making and exceptional athleticism. He is rarely defeated in a contest, whether that be on the ground or for a mark.

Emerging as a mid-to-late selection at the draft with pick 30-60 - again ideal for Geelong's suite of middle-order picks.

Zac Taylor:
Taylor is regarded as a brutal ball-winning midfielder with an elite and crafty kick inside 50.

He has proven to be a damaging player for Vic Metro and the Calder Cannons, having averaged 34 disposals in his final three games of the junior competition. In the last game of this season, he had 22 contested disposals and 11 clearances.

The Victorian local finished in the NAB League Team of the Year and as Calder Cannons' best and fairest. He is a bolter for the first round, but a more reserved prediction sees him picked between 25 and 35, right where Geelong's selections are.