We analyse the Cats’ 2014 AFL season.
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(Regular Season: 3rd position, 17 wins, 5 losses; Finals: Knocked out in semi-final v. North Melbourne)
What went right:
Yet again the Cats defied critics and went on to miss out on the minor premiership only on percentage.
The Cats again showed their consistency in 2014, losing just once in Victoria.
Joel Selwood was a delight to watch and should be in with a very, very good shot at winning the Brownlow Medal, while Tom Hawkins stepped up massively and narrowly missed out on winning the Coleman Medal, finishing second to Sydney star Lance Franklin.
What went wrong:
Chris Scott’s side regularly faded out in the second half of games, most notably against the Hawks in round 22. It wasn’t the only time it happened, and it’s one of the key reasons why they missed out on winning the minor premiership.
In addition to the second-half fade outs, the Cats just couldn’t find a stable ruck line-up due to injuries.
It was always a gamble going into the season with three injury-prone ruckman, and it backfired when Nathan Vardy did his knee in pre-season, before Dawson Simpson (back) and Hamish McIntosh (knee) both failed to see out the year.
His value to the Cats is priceless and his influence on games of football can only be matched by the likes of Gary Ablett, Lance Franklin and Scott Pendlebury.
Ultra-courageous, Selwood perhaps didn’t have his most consistent of seasons, but he was undoubtedly the Cats’ no.1 man in 2014.
It’s been three seasons since the Cats’ last premiership in 2011, and it now begs the question as to whether they’ll be good enough to stay with the likes of Hawthorn and Sydney over the next couple of years.
On evidence of 2014, it doesn’t seem likely.
However, there’s no doubt the Cats list will be again strong enough for a top four finish in 2015, but time may be running out in terms of the perhaps mythical
Season score: 7/10