Geelong will be looking to avoid successive non-finals finishes for the first time in two decades when they look to bounce back from a 2023 campaign that saw them finish 12th.

In their attempt to defend the premiership, the Cats could only conjure 10 wins from their 23 games under Chris Scott, with injuries and areas of weakness opening up throughout the year.

The Cats weren't as active as they often have been through the trade and free agency periods, instead attacking the draft to bring in a total of seven fresh faces.

A quartet of those inclusions came in the form of mature-aged assets, with recruiter Stephen Wells hoping to have uncovered another diamond or two from the rough.

Among those is VFL star Shaun Mannagh, who will be firmly in the selection conversation to start the 2024 season.

Here we've previewed what Geelong's best 23 for 2024 might look like...



1. Defenders

The Cats lost Esava Ratugolea through the recent trade period, but with all of Zach Guthrie, Mark Blicavs, Sam De Koning and Jake Kolodjashnij playing more than the departed defender's 16 games this year they shouldn't struggle to find options to replace him.

Chris Scott will likely welcome Jack Henry back into his defensive plans after a year interrupted by injury, with the Geelong swingman likely to partner De Koning in taking on the opposition's best tall forwards.

The Cats have added ex-Hawk Emerson Jeka to their rookie list and are likely to use the 198cm utility as a defender.

Five-time All-Australian will again be the integral piece in Geelong's backline structure as a damaging two-way asset, while premiership players Jed Bews, Zach Tuohy and Mark O'Connor can offer some relief down back.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Tom Stewart of the Cats runs onto the field during the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Sydney Swans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 24, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Jack Bowes is entering his second season at Kardinia Park and showed glimpses of what he can provide across multiple lines for Geelong in his 17 games in the hoops, while Mitch Duncan will also offer some service across all three areas of the field.

The Cats could look toward Irishman Oisin Mullin as a dashing half-back, while top draft selection Connor O'Sullivan would be an outside chance of being thrust into the deep end to start his career.

Geelong played the long game with De Koning before he was used at AFL level, with the decision paying off for Scott and his side last year.