Young Cat is ready to pounce

Thursday, August 22

GEELONG'S VFL side has every reason to feel like the forgotten sons of the city as the senior team grabs the spotlight in its battle to play finals.

Sitting on top of the ladder and with a wealth of talent across every line, the Cats are nicely placed with one round to go before the finals.

The dominance of players such as first year talents Gary Ablett Jr and James Bartel has been well-documented this season, but they are not the only new names to have contributed to the team's success.

Andrew Carrazzo has also shown consistent form.

Recruited from Oakleigh Chargers, the young midfielder has been waiting patiently for his chance at the big time.

Having been rewarded for his good form mid-year with a berth in the VFL side against South Australia, Carrazzo's hard work has not gone unnoticed.

According to coach Ron Watt, he ``just keeps getting the ball''.

``Andrew has been in pretty consistent form all year,'' Watt said. ``He's hard at the ball and works very hard.

``We use him mainly as an on-baller but he has the ability to go forward and kick goals for us.

``He is very good at the clearances and has averaged 24 possessions per game this year.''

Although Carrazzo has shown huge potential, Mark Thompson and the senior coaching crew want him to mature some more before promoting the 18-year-old to senior ranks.

``Young blokes need to understand that the game is different against experienced players,'' Watt said.

``They will come up against players who are just as good as them every game so they can't just go out and dominate every week.''

Carrazzo may be considered unlucky not to have been picked up in last year's national draft, especially after being selected in the 2001 All-Australian under-18 side.

Fellow rookies Paul Chambers, Jarad Rooke and Will Slade have been promoted to the senior list this year, inspiring Carrazzo to go harder to match his mates' achievements.

``Those guys have done really well,'' Carrazzo said.

``I know that when I have done enough to deserve my place I will be put up (to the senior list).

``Having seen those guys get promoted has given me a taste and I know that there's no reason why I can't get there as well.''

Working his way into the Cats senior midfield won't be easy, but Carrazzo takes heart from the rapid rise of players like Cameron Ling.

``Hopefully I can have an impact like him and be part of a bright future at the club,'' he said.

For now, Carrazzo is intent on having a win over the Northern Bullants in the final home and away round this week.

A win will ensure the Cats end the season as minor premiers.