Geelong list manager Stephen Wells says the club is doing all they can to go one step further in 2021, after topping up with veterans at the trade table.
The signings of Jeremy Cameron, Isaac Smith and Shaun Higgins have left observers pondering how the Cats’ young players will get opportunities at senior level.
“It’s something that’s on our mind all the time,” Wells asserted on SEN Breakfast.
“We don’t make any apologies for being a hard team to get a game in.”
Across the final round and four finals in 2020, the Cats selected the five oldest sides in VFL/AFL history.
Of their Grand Final team, 36-year-old Gary Ablett and 34-year-old Harry Taylor have retired, but Smith and Higgins will be respectively 32 and 33 when the 2021 season begins.
“It looks like we’ve thrown everything at being a contender again next year and the year after, but we want to be contenders for a long time,” Wells explained.
“Our list management strategy has to be reviewed and looked at all the time. We’ve got some great young talent at our club.”
On-baller Brandan Parfitt, forward Gryan Miers and defenders Mark O’Connor and Jack Henry each played 18 or more games for the Cats in 2020, and none are older than 23.
However Lachie Fogarty was traded to Carlton after just six appearances in 2020, while young midfielders Quinton Narkle and Charlie Constable combined for only seven games.
Dashing utility Jordan Clark battled a shoulder injury as his form wavered, and was seen in the hoops just three times after playing 18 games in 2019.
Wells explained the decision to take two future second round selections in the deal for Jeremy Cameron, while three first round picks for the 2020 draft went to the Giants.
“We didn’t just want more young players in a queue that might be struggling to get a game,” he admitted.
The long-time recruiter says the Cats are determined to make the most of this window of contention.
“That time will come. We know we won’t necessarily always be in this position and we’ll have to be relying a bit more on younger players coming through,” he said.
“Just at the moment, we’re doing all we can to be as good as we can.”