Geelong couldn't have started season 2024 in better fashion, knocking off St Kilda, Adelaide and Hawthorn in the opening weeks.

After a disappointing 2023, which saw the club miss the finals for the first time since 2015 - and the sixth time this century - the Cats look primed to launch an all-out assault for their 11th premiership cup.

Labelled "old" and "slow" and engraved with "an end of an era" tag, Geelong is once again proving to defy the odds stacked against them.

And as we know, you dismiss their premiership credibility at your peril.

Geelong have done it their way for over a decade, especially since Chris Scott took over in 2011.

Opting to 'regenerate' as opposed to rebuilding, it seems the team down at Kardinia Park has found a winning formula for success, reflected by their consistent finals appearances.

The recent departures of Joel Selwood and Isaac Smith combined with the imminent retirements of Tom Hawkins, Zach Tuohy, Patrick Dangerfield, Rhys Stanley, Mark Blicavs, Gary Rohan and Mitch Duncan is supposed to send the club into disarray.

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats celebrates a goal with Tom Hawkins of the Cats (R) during the round six AFL match between the Geelong Cats and Sydney Swans at GMHBA Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

But as the competition is quickly realising, the next wave is ready to take over.

Scott noted two youngsters who were impressive in the win against the Hawks despite their infancy at the level.

"We're really pleased with Toby (Conway) in his second game," Scott said post-game.

"We've got to a point where we're ultra-confident that he'll have a long career with us.

"He's going to be managed carefully, there's a thorough plan around how we get him to the point where he can play week in, week out, but his performance was really encouraging."

Jhye Clark, who has been likened to Selwood, has also bounced back from an interrupted 2023.

"Jhye played about 15 minutes for us last year and hurt his foot and didn't play again which was really disappointing but the upside was he started his preseason before everyone else," Scott said.

"And he didn't miss a beat. And I've said (before) that we don't consider him to be a young player feeling his way.

"We're not looking at Jhye saying 'he's going well for a young player', we just think he's in our best team at the moment and the progression has been really steep."

Clark and Conway aren't the only ones growing before our eyes, with a host of young talent beginning to dominate the league.

Max Holmes, 21, is quickly becoming an elite midfielder and has vowed his allegiance to Geelong, despite plenty of rival clubs reportedly inquiring about his status.

Oliver Henry, 21, - since crossing from Collingwood - has taken huge strides toward becoming a key pillar up forward, slotting 48 goals in his time wearing the white-and-blue hoops.

Ex-Giant Tanner Bruhn was arguably best on yesterday against the Hawks and is forming a strong partnership through the midfield.

Oliver Dempsey and Mitch Knevitt are also featuring more at the top level.

Geelong Cats player Ollie Dempsey during Round 1 of the 2024 AFL season (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

The Cats then boast a list of players entering their primes, led by Jack Henry, Gryan Miers, Tyson Stengle, Bradley Close, Zach Guthrie, Brandan Parfitt, Jack Bowes, Sam De Koning, Tom Atkins and Mark O'Connor.

And who could forget their champions like Jeremy Cameron, Cameron Guthrie, Tom Stewart and Jake Kolodjashnij, who still have plenty to give.

The club also has a strong interest in Melbourne's Clayton Oliver and Western Bulldogs' Bailey Smith, with history indicating that the Cats are more than capable of luring a star down the highway.

Once again, Geelong pose themselves as a genuine threat, as they have done for many years.

In terms of 2024, they are well within the race for the premiership.

As for the future, post the Dangerfields and Hawkins, they've got plenty to be excited about.