Experienced Cats fail their young teammates

The master: Paul Couch  
Wednesday, June 12

SEVERAL of Geelong's core group of experienced players have failed Paul Couch's mid season report card.

The former Geelong Brownlow medallist said the club needed more from its experienced players if it wanted to remain competitive in the second half of the season.

He said if Geelong was serious about making the finals it needed players such as Ben Graham, Ronnie Burns and Brent Grgic firing.

Geelong is sitting 10th on the ladder at the halfway mark of the season, just one game out of the eight, and needs to win about 12 games to feature in finals action.

That the club is within sight of the top eight is largely the result of many of the younger and less experienced players, who Couch said had exceeded expectations.

Couch said Gary Ablett, James Bartel and Jarad Rooke had done more than was expected of them in the first half of the season and that James Kelly had also impressed in his four appearances.

Paul Chapman too, given his chance a couple of weeks back, has earned his spot in the side, Couch said.

While Graham, Burns and Grgic have failed Couch's report card, Kent Kingsley has earned top grades.

Sitting on top of the AFL goal kicking table with 34 goals, he has developed into an instinctive forward who leads fast and hard and has a strong mark, Couch said.

``He reads the ball well off the boot and is just a natural instinctive forward,'' Couch said.

GARY ABLETT: Great effort to play 10 games. Done more than expected of him and has had a real influence when given time on the ground. 5

JAMES BARTEL: One of the leading possession winners early for the Cats but like young kids do he dropped off a bit and has been given a spell in the reserves. Great job. 5

PAUL CHAMBERS: Given a couple of games and did some nice things but needs to develop his body more. Will find it hard to push back into the seniors with King and Street doing the ruck duties. 4

RONNIE BURNS: Been hit with injuries and would be disappointed with his year so far. Hasn't found the goals and looks to to have lost some of his zip. Pressure will be on him to perform in the second half. 3

PAUL CHAPMAN: Given his chance in the past couple of weeks and has really stepped up. Shows desperation and is keen to impress. Sick of being a reserves player and it has shown. 6

DAVID CLARKE: Started off in disappointing fashion but his last four games have been outstanding. Big possession winner who has improved his delivery but needs to continue to work on it. 6

JOEL COREY: One of the Cats leading possession winners who has been okay without stamping his authority on a game. Room for improvement and that will come with maturity. Been his best year yet. 6

COREY ENRIGHT: Looked the goods before being cut down with a shoulder injury. Looks to have developed into a very good midfield player who will get better in the second half as his confidence returns. 5

DANIEL FOSTER: Had a couple of games and showed a bit but has also been stitched up in a couple. Could show more desperation when the occasion arises. 4

BEN GRAHAM: Down on confidence for most of the first half and has failed to have an influence on games in the forward line. Showed when moved back that he is far more valuable to the Cats. 4

BRENT GRGIC: Hasn't shown much yet and a question mark hangs over his head. Given a couple of opportunities and hasn't really grabbed them. The club is still coming to grips with exactly where to play him. 3

TOM HARLEY: Gets the job done each week. Has been competitive against some of the oppositions best forwards and showed when he went forward that he can kick a goal. 6

JOSH HUNT: Only played a handful of games and not given much ground time. Will struggle to get a senior game unless injuries cut deep. 2

DAVID JOHNSON: Injured in the opening game but showed enough to suggest he will be a talent. 2

STEVE JOHNSON: Only played two games and is a bit hard to assess but has impressed in reserves games. 2

JAMES KELLY: Looks alright and is hard at the ball and a strong tackler. Picks up kicks and can create good movement through clever use of the ball. 4

GLENN KILPATRICK: Injured in round five and has only just come back. Very important to the side with his experience and hardness at the ball. Sorely missed in important games. 4

STEVEN KING: Probably among Geelong's top three players this year but hasn't dominated like he did two years ago. Needs to jump more at the ruck contests. 7

KENT KINGSLEY: Leading AFL goal kicker. Has been the surprise packet of the AFL. A good mark, leads hard and has troubled the opposition in most games. Reads the ball well off the boot. A natural instinctive forward. 8

CAMERON LING: Had some hard jobs tagging the likes of James Hird and Shane Crawford and wasn't great in the role. Given a free reign on the ball he has proved useful and has set up goals. 5

AARON LORD: Done well since crossing back from Hawthorn. Loves kicking a goal but sometimes holds onto the ball too long and misses opportunities to give off to others in better positions. 5

TIM McGRATH: Only played two games so not given much opportunity. If he continues to play as he has in the reserves is sure to get another crack at it. 2

DAVID MENSCH: Only played the one game for limited influence. Plays well in the reserves but struggles when he gets the call up. 2

DARREN MILBURN: Missed the opening games through suspension. Since returning he has shown that he is an important part of the backline makeup. Great job on Schwarz. 6

CAMERON MOONEY: Led contested marks early but never really capitalised on his chances. Been disappointing and needs to lift. 4

JAMES RAHILLY: Only three games off the bench. Will struggle to get a regular senior berth. 3

PETER RICCARDI: Sluggish early but has moved into top gear in the past month to prove his worth. Has been a quality player over a long time. There is no-one you would want more than Riccardi shooting for goal after the siren. 6

JARAD ROOKE: Has come from nowhere and is the equal of Ablett and Bartel. Shows a cool head and attacks the ball hard. No fear. 5

BRENTON SANDERSON: Missed a couple of games through injury. Not his usual dominant self in games but still plays an important role in the backline with his leadership skills. 5

MATTHEW SCARLETT: Great year. Looks to have grown in confidence and showed versatility when thrown forward. One of the most consistent players in the side. 6

BRAD SHOLL: Used on and off the bench. Provides drive when given his chance. Tough, reliable and a good leader. Hasn't been his best year but still serviceable. 5

PETER STREET: Just the two games. The club has given him his chance and he has shown enough to keep his spot in the side. Important as a second option to give King time forward. 3

MITCHELL WHITE: Cut down again by chronic injuries and his influence negligable. A major diappointment since crossing and his body looks to be failing him. 2

DAVID WOJCINSKI: Good link man through the middle. Did an okay job on Crawford when moved onto him. Good leg speed which gives the side drive. 4

MARC WOOLNOUGH: Only given a couple of games and didn't show enough to retain his position. Playing well in the reserves and will get his chance again. 3