AFL News 2022: 10 reasons Cats fans are treating coach Chris Scott Geelong too harshly at Melbourne’s GMHBA Stadium

Geelong fans have spent the last decade accusing Chris Scott of doing the same thing over and over again. Here are 10 reasons they’re wrong in 2022.

And it’s the same every time.

What does Chris Scott do? Why aren’t they doing anything differently? Home and away winners become finalists.

Don’t worry, Cats fans are well-versed in the adage that a sure sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again.

That’s what they’ve blamed the Geelong coach for the past decade, despite having an exceptional win/loss record. In fact, Scott’s team has only finished worse than fourth once in the last six years.

In any language, this is a stunning era of success, but without silverware since Scott’s freshman year in 2011, the natives are restless, which brings us to 2022.

Once again, Geelong are at the top after 16 rounds and sitting pretty much in second place ahead of a clash at the top of the table with Melbourne on Thursday night.

Before the cynics jump up and down and say you won’t be able to read anything in Geelong until September, here are 10 reasons these cats are so different.

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1. Hard-nosed middleman

Tom Atkins has shaped the midfield since moving in in Round 11. In the first 10 rounds of the season, the small defender played eight percent of the game in midfield, in the last six weeks that has jumped to 88 percent. His center bounce presence has gone from 0.8 to 19.2 per game.


He won’t win the Rising Star because Nick Daicos is a freak, but Sam De Koning is a second-place ban as his ability to get up at center back has allowed Scott to do so many other things with players like Mark Blicavs do in particular. De Koning’s main defender profile has him above average in three categories – exits (12.8), intercept points (2.7) and intercept possession (7.3) – while he is considered elite for contested possessions (6.3).

From rounds 7 to 15, the 21-year-old had the third most intercept possession in the competition (71), one ahead of Hawthorn star James Sicily and behind only teammates Tom Stewart (78) and GWS Giant Sam Taylor (77).


Not long ago, the thought of Mark Blicavs not playing at full-back terrified Cats fans. After trying his hand as a ruckman/follower early in his career, he became the key man in the back half. But with the rise of De Koning, the development of Jack Henry and the cool heads of Tom Stewart and Zach Tuohy, the former steeplechaser no longer needs to save the day.

With ruck position continuing to be an issue due to Rhys Stanley’s ups and downs, Scott was able to use Blicavs effectively as another midfielder/mobile ruckman. Since Round 8, he has played just two percent game time in defense compared to 68 in Rounds 1-7. His ruck presence is up from 24 percent to 59 percent, with the wing increasing from 8 percent to 35 percent of game time.


The middle of the floor has seen many new faces. The 2021-2022 Center Bounce participants’ appeal tells a significant story. Captain Joel Selwood’s time at center is down 16 percent, Mitch Duncan is down 40 percent, while tagger Mark O’Connor is down 217 percent. As previously mentioned, Atkins is up 96 percent, Brandan Parfitt is up 24 percent, Max Holmes is up 46 percent, and rookie Cooper Stephens is averaging 5.4 per game when he’s played.


Mitch Duncan and Isaac Smith are two of the great wingmen of the last decade, but they spend less time there. Duncan, in particular, returned to defense, with his time there increasing from 10 to 77 percent between rounds 8-16. As a result, his wing presence has dropped from 27 percent to 11 percent.

Smith starts more up front, his percentage up from 28 to 41 while the wing fell from 68 to 56. The veteran’s midfield forward profile shows just how important he is to the Cats’ function. , yards gained (481), within the 50s (5.1) and grades (6.5) while above-average dismounts (21.6).


Telling Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield not to play has been nearly impossible until now. Confidence in these stars, even when they’ve been banged, was too strong before. Selwood has been rested three times this year, while Dangerfield were deliberately held back after completing a mini preseason following a calf problem earlier in the season. Don’t underestimate the influence of Premiership hero Harry Taylor, the new head of medical and conditioning services, in this area.


For starters, Jeremy Cameron was never fit last year so this really was the first time Scott had his full range of tricks at his disposal. The obvious point at the former Giant is his goals – he leads the Coleman Medal at 46 – but his influence higher up has become important.

“Firing Cameron upstairs when you have (Gary) Rohan and Dangerfield on your side works because you don’t lose up front,” said an opposition analyst. “Cameron plays his best footy when he gets up on the floor and then runs his opponent back. Look at his first all-Australian year, that’s where he feels most comfortable.”


There are plenty of feel-good stories in the AFL this season, but Tyson Stengle is at the top. He brought so much to his third club with his sheer torsion (31 goals) that the Cats lacked. His partnership with Brad Close and Gryan Miers, both of whom play more on the floor, looks far better than veterans Luke Dahlhaus and Shaun Higgins, who have previously held those positions.


Fans have been screaming this until they’re blue in the face, and Scott has been quietly making sure the next generation gets plenty of airtime. Geelong have players four debutants which puts them in fifth place in the competition behind West Coast (9).


The Cats have finally caught up with the trend towards faster ball movement.

“What they’re doing is training for the finals,” said a rival assistant coach. “Instead of playing slow and robotically all year long, they can only play like that. I think they’re actually working on playing a few modes when they hit the good points.

“A lot of it is more positional, they’ve used different types in different places that can actually do a little bit more.”

Originally published as AFL 2022: All the news ahead of Thursday night’s blockbuster between Geelong and Melbourne AFL News 2022: 10 reasons Cats fans are treating coach Chris Scott Geelong too harshly at Melbourne’s GMHBA Stadium

Nate Jones

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