Geelong season preview

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 12 Maret 2013 | 12.50

2013 preview: The Cats can cling to a finals berth with a mix of old heads and young talent, says Fox Footy expert Brad Johnson.

Geelong captain Joel Selwood is a bridge between two generations at Geelong. Picture: Wayne Ludbey. Source: Herald Sun

WILL the Cats bottom out or can they stay at the top and contend again in 2013?

Geelong is at the crossroads.

The core of stars that led the team to its incredible era of success is nearing the end. But is the team?

Matthew Scarlett and David Wojcinski retired at the end of last season, joining quartet Cameron Ling, Cam Mooney, Darren Milburn and Brad Ottens the year before - that's 1480 games of experience gone.

Paul Chapman, Josh Hunt, James Podsiadly and Corey Enright will be 32 by the end of this year and Joel Corey 31.

Under the laws of the AFL universe, that means a big crash is coming - just ask the Bulldogs.

But the Cats could defy footy physics.

Exclusive video: Watch Fox Footy expert Brad Johnson answer the hard questions about the Cats in the video player above

If it happens they can thank recruiting genius Stephen Wells, who not only put together one of the great teams of the modern era but has been shrewdly planning for the transition to the next successful Geelong side.

Fans of the Dogs and St Kilda, the other teams at the top of the tree with the Cats from 2007-11 who sacrificed developing youth in the hope of snaring a flag, must cry when they see the likes of Mitch Duncan, Allen Christensen, Steve Motlop, Jordan Murdoch and Daniel Menzel (if he can get his knee right).

Those players have been given exposure at the top level as part of a successful team and head a highly talented youth brigade that can take the baton from the veterans.

Check out our top Geelong SuperCoach picks here

And it doesn't hurt that right in the middle the Cats have two genuine stars in captain Joel Selwood (24) and Tom Hawkins (24) who will dominate the competition for the rest of the decade.

Jimmy Bartel, Steve Johnson and James Kelly are closer to the end of their careers than the start, but still have plenty to give.

And the fact the Cats recruited mature bodies in Jared Rivers and Hamish McIntosh - plus exciting young midfielder Josh Caddy - shows they don't intend to rebuild.

Sydney proved in 2012 it's possible to win a flag without hitting rock bottom. It would be a brave man to bet the Cats couldn't do the same.

Check out our previous team previews here:

Adelaide - Tippett leaves huge hole

Brisbane - Fate rests on Browny's shoulders

Carlton - Mick the messiah

Collingwood - good but not good enough

Essendon - too many distractions?

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