THE FALLOUT from Geelong's season of mediocrity is underway with coach Chris Scott conceding he needs a closer relationship with his younger players.
With the entire football department undergoing its biggest review in recent years following the Cats' elimination final exit, Scott is already implementing changes this pre-season.
While Scott has been on holidays for much of the summer, chief executive Brian Cook has recognised a more concerted effort by his senior coach to form a bond with his young charges.
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"He's doing that purposefully, it's a matter of rebalancing his energies and where he's been spending them," Cook said at the club's Annual General Meeting on Wednesday night.
"He's made that decision on his own and I think it's a good decision.
"What's happened in footy in the last 10 years or so is that the senior coach used to have 45 direct reports to players, now he has 10 direct reports and they're assistant coaches.
"I think this is an issue throughout the industry, what is the role of the coach with players now? Does he have a personal and professional relationship with them or does he leave that up to the assistant coaches?
"We had to talk through all of that and did a little bit of role clarity between all of the coaches."
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Cook and football operations boss Simon Lloyd presented to the board in the off-season, outlining tinkers to the football program in what he described as a "health check."
With Scott contracted until the end of 2022 – an extension he signed in August – it is the senior players who have driven much of the post-season change.
And while Scott was absent from a number of younger players' exit meetings this year, Cook believes the youngsters were well aware of the internal line of communication.
"They've (senior players) come up with a lot of ideas around collaboration and getting commitment off people.. a lot from the player leadership group and our leaders," Cook said.
"I spoke to some of the younger guys, it (direct senior coach relationship) wasn't the major issue with the younger players. They don't necessarily expect that.
"It seems a lot of the younger guys are more understanding; their direct coach is the assistant coaches."
The Cats introduced 12 fresh faces this off-season, including 10 players via the drafts and assistant coach Matthew Scarlett revealed at the AGM mature-age pair Tom Atkins and Darcy Fort were both in the frame for round one.
Scarlett will again manage the club's backline with the coaching structure for 2019 remaining largely the same from 2018.
Other key messages from the AGM include
- The aim to celebrate the club's 10-year reunion from the 2009 premiership at the round 17 home game at GMHBA Stadium against St Kilda.
- The goal for the AFLW season opener between Geelong and Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium on Friday February 2 to attract 20,000 fans.
- A change in the club's constitution to streamline the review process for crowd behavior incidents into 2019, with an internal "investigations officer" a key part of decision-making.
- The continual push to remove the club's debt by 2020, with a further $1million to be paid in March 2019.
- The aim to sell the club's 80 remaining poker machines currently housed in Point Cook inside the next 12 months with a prospective buyer earmarked.
- The continual investigation into future revenue streams pending the sale of the club's poker machines including potential wellness centres and gym facilities.
- Plans for the commencement of stage five of the GMHBA Stadium redevelopment to begin in 2020 following the Twenty20 World Cup, the Labor Government’s re-election coming with $102 million of funding.