K rock Football

Can Cam claim first Carji?

Geelong midfielder Cam Guthrie. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

CAM Guthrie will look to cap an outstanding season in the Geelong midfield by winning his first Carji Greeves Medal as club best-and-fairest on Thursday night.

Guthrie, who earned All-Australian selection on a wing, and polled 14 votes to finish in a tie for ninth, was a key to the Cats reaching their first grand final since 2011.

The 28-year-old’s highest previous finish was fourth in 2016 – the last time he placed in the top 10.

Featuring in all 21 games, Guthrie was the leading Geelong player for disposals with an average of 21.3 per game.

He was Geelong also No.1 for handball, with an average of 11 per match, and was second only to Brandan Parfitt for tackles laid (86).

“Guthrie’s consistency, as well as constant improvement, has him well placed to win,” K rock Football expert Mark Neeld said.

“Supported by his All-Australian selection, Cam went from people hoping he’d play well to knowing he’d play well.”

Also chasing his first Carji is wingman Sam Menegola.

Like Guthrie, Menegola was a critical factor in the Geelong midfield with his two-way running.

The former Hawthorn and Fremantle rookie, who was named in the All-Australian squad, was second to Guthrie for disposals, with 299 of those a team-leading uncontested.

He was also fourth for clearances behind Patrick Dangerfield, Guthrie and captain Joel Selwood.

“To have someone so pivotal to your team sit outside the top 10 last year be considered a chance to win it following the year is a testament to Sam’s hard work and his importance to the team,” Neeld said.

“He’s certainly a player who played to his strengths this year.

“His endurance and his kicking skills meant he was important in both attack and defence for the Cats.”

If neither Guthrie nor Dangerfield claims Geelong’s top honour, Tom Hawkins is next in line after another impressive season in front of goal.

Hawkins, who won his only Carji Greeves Medal in 2012, finished with 49 goals to claim the Coleman Medal and the Cats’ leading goalkicker award for the ninth consecutive year.

He also earned selection at full-forward in the All-Australian team.

Dangerfield is the likely the “outsider” of that quarter, despite being named All-Australian captain.

The star mid-forward has won three of a possible four Carji’s since arriving at the club ahead of the 2016 season, finishing runner-up in 2018 behind Mark Blicavs.

If Dangerfield were to spring a surprise, he would join Dick Grigg and Garry Hocking as the only four-time winners of the award.

The Carji Greeves Medal night, which for the best part of the past 15 years has been a lavish function at Crown Palladium in Melbourne, will be held virtually.

As as well as the Carji Greeves Medal, the Cats will present the Tom Harley Best Clubman, Best Young Player and Community Champion awards.

Twitter: @tom_king79