Cats' golden AFL era will stretch on: Ling - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats' golden AFL era will stretch on: Ling

By Sam Lienert 14/09/2011 02:10:52 PM Comments (0)

Geelong captain Cameron Ling believes the Cats' golden AFL era can extend for years, even though he and other premiership veterans are winding up their careers.

The 30-year-old said he would decide once Geelong's finals campaign finished whether to retire, or play on for one more season.

Another veteran of the Cats' 2007 and 2009 premierships, Cameron Mooney, has already declared this his last season and Ling said others were likely to be contemplating the same decision.

While none were mentioned by name, 34-year-old defender Darren Milburn is an obvious candidate, particularly after he was left out of the club's qualifying final side, with 31-year-old ruckman Brad Ottens another possibility.

So far the Cats have retained the core of their dual premiership list, with the notable exceptions of Gary Ablett's defection to Gold Coast and the retirement of former skipper Tom Harley.

But Ling said there was no suggestion this was the final tilt at a flag for what is the AFL's oldest list, before the club needed to rebuild.

"That's never been spoken about, I don't think anyone would be thinking that," Ling told reporters on Wednesday.

"I think there's a really exciting medium to long-term future at the footy club, with the guys like (Daniel Menzel), Nathan Vardy, Josh Cowan, Allen Christensen, Mitch Duncan, these guys.

"The group constantly changes anyway. As a playing group we're hoping to be a really competitive, successful group for a long period."

First-year coach Chris Scott has already started building for the future, with the Cats having four first-time finalists against Hawthorn on Friday night, compared to one last year.

One of those, Menzel, had surgery this week, after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against the Hawks, which Scott said had devastated the youngster.

In better news, veteran Joel Corey should return from a groin injury for the Cats' preliminary final on Saturday week, against the winner of Saturday night's West Coast-Carlton clash.

While Geelong's win over the Hawks was the most impressive performance of the opening finals weekend, the Cats coach dismissed suggestions that his side had overtaken Collingwood as the most likely premiers.

"It didn't matter when they said we were out of form and it doesn't matter now they're saying we are in form," Scott said.

"... We've put ourselves in a position to contend."

The Cats also announced an extension of their sponsorship deal with Ford for the next five years.

The car manufacturer has sponsored the Cats since 1925, which they believe is the world's longest-running arrangement of its kind.

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