WHILE we wait for play to resume, and with the little bit of knowledge we've gleaned from round one, we're taking this opportunity to put the microscope on every club.
THE PRESSURE GAUGE Which coach is under the most heat?
This is Geelong's Shutdown Report Card. >> LISTEN IN THE WHOOSHKAA PLAYER BELOW
The biggest lesson from round one was …
Gary Ablett's still got it. After questions were raised following a quiet pre-season, he delivered 24 touches, a goal and 493 metres gained and for large parts looked the most damaging player on the ground. With Jack Steven missing through hamstring soreness and Tim Kelly in Eagles colours, the midfield lacked explosion when Patrick Dangerfield was tagged and held to 16 disposals.
What’s their weapon in 2020?
For so long it's centred around the midfield, but this year the firepower looms around the options in attack. Tom Hawkins, who is set to turn 32 in July, is still in his prime, while Esava Ratugolea will only improve with a full pre-season. Throw them in with Ablett, Gary Rohan, Tom Atkins, Luke Dahlhaus and Gryan Miers and it should cause headaches.
What could be their downfall?
Uncertainty remains around the ruck and as Sam Jacobs showed in round one against Darcy Fort, good ruckmen can have an influence against the Cats when they're firing. With Harry Taylor in most likely his last season, the need for a proper key defender beyond Mark Blicavs will be heightened. First-round draftee Sam De Koning is the future but won't be ready for a couple of seasons.
Who missed out on round one and what does it mean for them?
Josh Jenkins missed out due to structure as the Cats went with the two key talls to support ruckman Darcy Fort. With the VFL season expected to be on hold longer than AFL returns, Jenkins and Rhys Stanley will need to impress at training to force their way in. Jed Bews was a surprise omission and his task will only be made tougher when Jake Kolodjashnij (hip) returns. Brandan Parfitt was left out after an interrupted pre-season with a back complaint.
Which players could benefit from the break between games?
Mitch Duncan was the Cats' best in round one after a limited pre-season due to separate shoulder and hip surgeries. Like skipper Joel Selwood (hamstring surgery), Duncan will be cherry ripe after the break. Ablett was only set for 18 games in 2020 so a shortened season with reduced quarters will only increase his impact.
Who looked set for a breakout season?
Once again round one was left up to the usual suspects. But a big onus will be placed on Quinton Narkle when the Cats return after his 12-disposals showing against the Giants. The West Australian will command more midfield minutes this year. The same can be said for Parfitt when he's back fully fit.
The market place
The Cats were closing in on new deals for Hawkins and Jack Henry before talks were put on hold competition wide. Narkle and Parfitt are both coming out of contract this season and will be hoping for a run of strong matches when the season's return in order to strike bigger deals. Zach Tuohy is also off-contract but remains in the Cats' future. A decision on the 30-year-old may come down to a one or two-year extension. Rhys Stanley faces an intriguing season coming off a two-year deal he signed in 2018.