Cats recruit Josh Caddy, who joined the club after 24 games with the Gold Coast Suns, put in his most impressive performance in the pre-season against the Magpies on Friday.
He had 20 disposals, six clearances and kicked two goals in an excellent display. Although young, he is a strong player with the body shape to make him competitive in tight.
Cat youngsters feast on Pies
Geelong coach Chris Scott said it was important Caddy got some game time leading into the season as he learned the Cats' system, adding he had been impressed with Caddy's progress.
"I've been pretty happy with the way he's been playing up to this game, but he took another step forward today," Scott said.
The wildcard in the pack is 198-cm rookie Mark Blicavs. He contested the first centre bounce and bounded around the ground. As Scott said, he did not look out of place, kicking a goal and winning the ball 15 times. He even drifted back to take an impressive defensive mark in the third quarter.
With Trent West touch and go to be ready for the season opener and Hamish McIntosh and Nathan Vardy almost certainties to miss round one, Blicavs has shot into contention.
"I'm not one for massive statements, but to answer the question, 'What's his running power like?' there's never been a 198cm AFL footballer who can run like him," Scott said.
"If he doesn't play in the ruck, we're confident he can play in different positions."
It would have been interesting to see former Magpie ruckman Peter Moore against Blicavs but that is a match-up for imaginations rather than hard-headed realists.
The Magpies have some decisions to make of their own in relation to the rookie list. They can upgrade two rookies next week and Nathan Buckley stated a case for the mature aged Sam Dwyer. Dwyer's intensity impressed Buckley, who said he showed some of the more senior players what happens when you are desperate to perform well every time you play.
"Sam Dwyer's performance and intensity and effort today was indicative of a player who there was no tomorrow for and he was playing for everything," Buckley said.
"That showed in his effort and his will and his intent and that was a fair contrast to the majority of our players."
Dwyer managed 15 touches and attacked the ball fearlessly.