The captaincy trap Cats won’t fall into with new duo following in Selwood’s huge footsteps
Rather than trying to emulate his celebrated predecessor Joel Selwood, new Geelong AFL captain Patrick Dangerfield has been encouraged to embrace change.
Dangerfield assumes the captaincy of the club he supported as a boy boasting a glittering CV which includes a Brownlow Medal, a premiership, four club best and fairest awards, eight All-Australian guernseys and the presidency of the AFL Players Association.
He does so clear in the knowledge that the club doesn’t expect him to copy Selwood, or other great leaders of the past like Michael Voss, who made such an impression on current Cats coach Chris Scott during the Brisbane Lions’ triple premiership run in the early 2000s.
“It’s moving with the times as much as anything,” Scott said on Monday.
CLICK HERE for a seven-day free trial to watch the AFLW on KAYO
“It’s a big mistake to look back and say ‘hey, Michael Voss was a great leader. What made him great? I’m going to try and copy that and see if I can be, at best, a B-grade copy’.
“It’s a little bit the same with Joel. The worst thing that you can do when you’ve had a really great leader is just to try and imitate everything because you just won’t do it as well.
“The opportunity we’ve got is to look at where we are at the time and act in a way that represents who we are in this moment.”
In Dangerfield and vice-captain Tom Stewart – who cut their teeth respectively at local clubs Anglesea and South Barwon – the Cats now have two genuine home-grown products as their official on-field leaders.
“It’s probably a positive thing because we’re really strongly connected in that sense,” said Dangerfield.
“I still remember coming to games, standing on the Moorabool St side of the ground on a milk crate watching Peter Riccardi and now we’re playing with, and Chris is coaching, his son (first-year player Osca Riccardi).
“It’s pretty special in that sense.”
At 32, Dangerfield assumes the skipper’s armband at a much different stage in his career than Selwood, who was just 23 when he replaced Cameron Ling ahead of the 2012 campaign.
As such, it’s far more than a platitiude when he says he’ll be be taking it one year at a time.
“We’re not looking any further ahead than what we can achieve this year,” Dangerfield said. “It’s not about going back to back; it’s a completely different group to last season.
“It’s how we can prepare ourselves and give us the best shot of winning the 2023 premiership cup. I dare say this year from us you’ll hear less about back to back and more about what’s in front of us.”