The long awaited Patrick Dangerfield move to Geelong was made official on Monday, with the Cats giving up yet-to-debut youngster Dean Gore and picks nine and 28, while Dangerfield and pick 50 moved east. Dangerfield was technically a restricted free agent, but the Cats were forced to the trade table due to a reluctance to break their wage structure, meaning Adelaide would have been able to match the offer.
WHY THE CATS?
Basically, Dangerfield wanted to go home. His family lives in Moggs Creek, 43 kilometres southwest of Geelong, and it would seem it was always his plan to go back there. Dangerfield spent his first year as a Crow living and studying in Victoria and always felt an affinity for home. In his speech at the Adelaide best and fairest – which Dangerfield won – he said that his decision had “not been based on football, but family”. It was Dangerfield’s first Malcolm Blight Medal, but it followed three consecutive top three finishes.
AT HIS BEST….
Dangerfield’s strength is winning the contested ball and clearances – he was in the top five league-wide in both statistical categories in 2015. Nowhere was this brilliance underlined more starkly than his game against Fremantle in late May; Dangerfield famously went head-to-head with Nat Fyfe and amassed 29 contested possessions, matching the record, and nine clearances. Dangerfield is a barrel-chested bull – the way he hits packs is reminiscent of Mark Ricciuto in his prime – but it is his ability to accelerate away from stoppages that makes him so alluring. He is blessed with real pace, a rare commodity for a player of his size, and is more than capable of turning on the after burners and burning off other players.
A NEED TO HIDE DEFICIENCIES
As is so often the case, Dangerfield’s contested style means there is a compromise in disposal efficiency. He’s only gone over 65% effective disposals for a season twice in his career, and there have been questions raised about his field kicking. Dangerfield has had a tendency in the past to not lower his eyes under pressure, occasionally taking hurried kicks at goal with a teammate in a better position. In the past he has also drifted out of games on the odd occasion, but has been able to exert his influence more regularly this season.
WHERE WILL HE PLAY?
Patrick Dangerfield will go straight to Geelong’s first centre bounce in 2016 without passing Go and without collecting $200, and from there he will become a regular attendee at stoppages. The Cats were the worst clearance side in the competition in 2015, and ranked 15th for contested possessions per game, statistics that Dangerfield’s presence will improve immediately. Because of his gifts in both strength and speed, Dangerfield is also comfortably resting forward and would provide a very difficult matchup for any defender.
WILL HE BE A SUCCESS?
Dangerfield’s size, strength, speed and skill set would improve any midfield in the competition, but his impact will be immediately appreciable at Kardinia Park. The Cats gave away more than 100 contested possessions and clearances to their opposition in 2015, while Dangerfield personally ranked fourth and fifth respectively in those categories. His bullocking style and Geelong’s clear need for his talents means that it’s almost impossible for him not to succeed for the Cats. Aside from Geelong’s need for him, Dangerfield is a top echelon talent – among the top 10 in the league – and will flourish in any environment. A Patrick Dangerfield that is back home and completely happy is a scary prospect for the rest of the league, and one that will have Cats fans licking their lips.