GEELONG midfielder Mitch Duncan has echoed his teammates’ sentiment and thrown down the gauntlet to write the Cats off at your peril.
Cats defender Zach Tuohy on Tuesday warned of the risks of underestimating Geelong in 2022, with Duncan accustomed to the constant lowballing of the Cats potential in season’s past.
“I’ve been getting it nearly every year I’ve been here, it is what it is, we can only control what we can control,” Duncan told media on Wednesday morning.
The 30-year-old pointed to his side’s exemplary record of making the finals, having featured in September in all-bar-one of his 11 seasons on Geelong’s list.
“We’ve got some great staff that give us an opportunity to play finals footy most years.
“We’ve got some new voices and coaches, I dare say there’ll be a few different tweaks and changes, really looking forward to this year and where we get to.”
Geelong overhauled its coaching panel in the off-season, parting ways with club greats Matthew Scarlett and Corey Enright, and re-introducing Shannon Byrnes, Matthew Egan and Duncan’s 2011 premiership teammate James Kelly to Kardinia Park.
With a raft of new assistants at the Cattery, Duncan believes the club has been reinvigorated and can only get better under new tutelage.
“I feel like I’m young again with those blokes, it’s a spring in the step, we had great people at the footy club but it was time for change and some new voices and new people around,” Duncan said.
“It feels like a new club, a lot of draftees, it feels really different at the minute and it’s exciting.”
Geelong’s last match was its 83-point preliminary final drubbing at the hands of eventual premiers Melbourne, and despite the demolition, Duncan has made a concerted effort not to look back at the match.
“For me, it’s moved on, [we] caught a team white-hot, we weren’t at our best, we got beaten and sometimes you lose to better sides, we look forward to playing them this year.”
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Geelong will train today at Deakin University with Duncan on a managed load as he eyes off a return to full training in the next few weeks.
The Cats have been hit by the state government’s COVID-19 protocols with more than 10 players forced into isolation, including Tom Hawkins who announced his positive diagnosis via social media on Tuesday.