Selwood surging with Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Selwood surging with Cats

By Roger Vaughan 18/09/2008 02:04:37 PM Comments (0)

Geelong have been very good for Joel Selwood and Selwood is proving exceptional for the Cats.

The 20-year-old is one of the great stories in the AFL club's last two extraordinary years.

Geelong will start strong favourites on Friday night at the MCG in the preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs, with the second-year onballer already one of their key players.

Picked up at No.7 in the 2006 draft, he joined the club as they were hammering out the results of their extensive internal review, following the disastrous drop out of the top eight that season.

The timing was mutually perfect - Selwood broke into senior football with a refreshed team and the Cats added a smart, dedicated young talent to their midfield.

As Geelong steamrolled to a drought-breaking premiership, Selwood won the Rising Star award.

This year, he has just kept going.

"He's a remarkable young player, we've had some fantastic players come through like (Gary) Ablett, (Jimmy) Bartel, (James) Kelly and these kinds of guys," said captain Tom Harley.

"But for sheer output in his first two years, he surpasses those guys."

Harley added he had "never once" felt the need to give Selwood a stern word about his attitude.

"He just plays it the right way and (plays) contested footy," Harley said.

"He's very confident, without a hint of arrogance - a model draftee."

In the manner of many people who are very good at what they do, Selwood makes the reason for this success sound simple.

"I had a big pre-season again and just being around good players all the time, you learn off them," said the third of four brothers to forge an AFL career, along with Adam and Scott (West Coast) and Troy (Brisbane).

"It's pretty easy to keep motivated when you're around such good players."

One of the biggest lessons for Selwood and his team-mates was last year's preliminary final win over Collingwood.

The Cats were expected to win easily, but the Magpies were outstanding and Geelong were well off their game, eventually grinding out a five-point win.

"This year, we're in a different position where we've been there, done that and we're going to become better prepared this week, not think about the week after," Selwood said.

"Last year I think we got a bit caught up in what could be.

"It was a little bit of a shock to all the boys, there were probably only a handful who came out and played (well) that night, it was really disappointing for the other 18 of us."

While Geelong eventually overwhelmed them when they last met in round 16, Selwood noted that the 'Dogs kept pace with the Cats for three quarters.

In his eyes, they have the firepower to take the game away from his team if the Cats repeat last year's preliminary final form.

"They took it up to us in round 16, for three quarters they were fantastic," he said.

"We know the Bulldogs can play, they were impressive against the Swans (in last Friday's semi-final)."

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