GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18: Brad Close of the Cats celebrates a goal with Brandan Parfitt during the 2021 AFL Round 05 match between the Geelong Cats and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at GMHBA Stadium on April 18, 2021 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Geelong have again opted to continue with their win-now mantra in the wake of their absolute dismantling at the hands of eventual premiers Melbourne during last season's preliminary final.

The Cats have their eyes set on premiership glory heading into 2022 after having been so close to recapturing the ultimate prize in footy over the past two seasons.

The acquisitions of former Hawks ruck Jonathan Ceglar and cut Crow Tyson Stengle have both addressed a key weakness in the centre while adding even more firepower to an already potent forward 50.

The future trajectory of the Cats hinges on the outcome of their 2022 season. Either Chris Scott and co will be immortalised in Geelong folklore or the club will be forced to blow up their list and start fresh.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats reacts after being defeated during the AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Demons and Geelong Cats at Optus Stadium on September 10, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

With the stakes for their season laid out, here's a look at how the Cats may line up in 2022.


The Geelong back-six is anchored by Tom Stewart, arguably one of the best defenders in the game, and his ability to intercept, communicate, lockdown, and initiate counter-attacks binds the team's defence.

The likes of Jed Bews and Mark O'Connor serve as a traditional pairing where they shadow the opposition and give little wriggle room.

Conversely, Jack Henry and Mark Blicavs occupy the modern interceptor roles as the athletic duo can cover space as well as their direct opponents.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 05: Jack Henry of the Cats avoids a tackle by Blake Hardwick of the Hawks during the round 3 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Hawthorn Hawks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 05, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The ball skills that Zach Tuohy possesses allow Geelong to comfortably chip away at possession down back while also serving to break the lines when he does decide to run-and-carry.

The Cats' defence has been constructed in a methodical fashion as they are equipped to suffocate even the league's most potent offences.


The Cats midfield can be summed up by one word. Assertive.

When your side is captained by the legendary Joel Selwood, his ferociousness is bound to bleed into your footballing psyche. Coupled with the pure football acumen of Patrick Dangerfield, the Cats midfield still ranks as one of the elites in the competition.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 24: Cameron Guthrie of the Cats runs the ball during the round 14 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Geelong Cats at The Gabba on June 24, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

The rest of the Cats midfield will remain comprised of the skilful and fierce Isaac Smith and Sam Menegola, not to mention the ball-winning machine that is Cam Guthrie. With Geelong's core still intact it is almost impossible to dismantle this group when in possession of the footy.

The Cats even addressed their midfield's largest deficiency by signing Ceglar to take primary ruck duties, something he proved to still be capable of performing at a respectable level during his 12 games last season.

The last thing the rest of the comp needs is Geelong getting first use of the ball more frequently.


Like their midfield, one word can summarise their forward-line. Selfless.

The Cats' bread and butter is their juggernaut forward 50, comprised of goalkicking stalwarts Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron.

While this pairing receives most of the opposition's attention, the running capacity and marking ability of Gary Rohan has proven to be a lethal third string to their proverbial bow, especially when factoring in how crafty Close and Miers are when the ball hits the deck.

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Then the addition of Stengle adds further headaches that defences will need to account for as he offers the Cats speed and a natural prowess when near the big sticks.

In a similar fashion to how their back-six is constructed, Geelong's forward-line has been assembled to break even the stingiest of defences by diverting attention and passing to players in the best position to score - no matter who has the ball in hand.

Best 22

FB: Jack Henry, Mark Blicavs, Jed Bews
HB: Zach Tuohy, Tom Stewart, Mark O'Connor
C: Sam Menegola, Cameron Guthrie, Isaac Smith
HF: Mitch Duncan, Jeremy Cameron, Gary Rohan
FF: Bradley Close, Tom Hawkins, Gryan Miers
FO: Jonathon Ceglar, Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield
I/C: Tyson Stengle, Esava Ratugolea, Tom Atkins, Brandan Parfitt

EMERG: Shaun Higgins, Rhys Stanley, Max Holmes, Quinton Narkle