2023 AFL Season Preview: Geelong Cats

Following an amazing season form the Cats, could they go back-to-back defending themselves as the oldest ever side to have won a AFL Grand Final?

Recap of last season

Last season the Cats could not have asked for a better way to finish their season. The Cats won their 10th AFL Premiership, which would come to a fairytale finish for captain Joel Selwood retiring on a high with his fourth AFL Premiership and the most games played for the club.

The Cats won the minor Premiership finishing the home and away season with 18 wins two clear of second place. Despite finishing the season clearly as the dominant team heading into the finals, the question was raised as to whether the Cats' recent record heading into the finals would come to an end.

The Cats would however prove the AFL community wrong belting the Swans by 81 points in the Grand Final. The Cats became the oldest side to have ever played in a Grand Final and deserved the title after a well-deserved season of footy.

How they can improve

It is hard for the Cats to improve following their success from last season, however, it is not out of the question with the depth and quality of players that the club has picked up.

The departure of Selwood is a big loss for the Cats in terms of his leadership, role model, and ability to play AFL. The next few seasons will see the Cats look to follow in Selwood's footsteps into retirement which could hurt the Cats.

Patrick Dangerfield has a big role now being the new captain at Geelong to make sure now the Cats do not drop off and keep their form heading into the season.

List changes

INS: Oisin Mullin (Ireland), Jhye Clark (pick 8), Phoenix Foster (pick 52), Osca Riccardi (rookie), Oscar Murdoch (rookie), Ted Clohesy (rookie), Tanner Bruhn (GWS), Jack Bowes (Gold Coast), Ollie Henry (Collingwood)

OUTS: Quinton Narkle (delisted), Francis Evans (delisted), Paul Tsapatolis (delisted), Nick Stevens (delisted), Zane Williams (delisted), Luke Dahlhaus (retired), Joel Selwood (retired), Cooper Stephens (Hawthorn)

Biggest strength

Geelong's biggest strength would be the depth level of players their side has and the number of incredible pickups from the Cats. Young guns Bruhn, Bowes, and Henry are massive for the Cats given their football ability as well their contribution to the club in the future.

In every part of the ground, the Cats are dangerous and intimidating to come up against. Although the Cats' forward line consisting of Tom Hawkins (67) and Jeremy Cameron (65) were the highest two goal-kickers last season (including finals) is scary for any opposition to come up against.

Biggest weakness

With an all-talented side, it was hard last season for the younger players to break into the team and show their potential. This forced a lot of players to depart from the club due to how stacked the side was and no time to crack in.

The departure of captain Joel Selwood hurts the club, along with players such as Narkle and Stephens who are great quality players but just could not get into the side. The addition of the Premiership would further encourage these players to pursue their options.

The cats have been known in the recent seasons to have an old side to the rest of the competition, and it looks as though this is to happen again this season. The next few seasons will be crucial to see from the Cats as to whether they will drop off given the number of young players their side will have.

Rising star

Tanner Bruhn looks set to have a breakout season for the Cats after joining Geelong during the off-season. Bruhn has only played 30 games in his two seasons at the GWS Giants but has already looked adapted in his new colours.

In Geelong's practice match versing the Brisbane Lions, Bruhn was definitely in the best for the Cats collecting 19 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances.

The 20-year-old looks set to transition into the midfield for a lot of runs and carry the play. His speed and agility are going to be crucial for the Cats with the side having a lot of older players.


It is hard to say following a Premiership that a side is going to keep their form and become just as much if not stronger the following season. That is exactly how the Cats look heading into the 2023 AFL season.

The Cats have recruited well off the field and look to be as menacing as come up against for any team to face. Whether or not the Cats can go back-to-back is not out of the question, and looks very likely to happen.

Ladder Position: 3rd