K rock Football

“It’s not premiership or bust” – Stewart

Geelong defender Tom Stewart. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

TOM Stewart has firmly rejected suggestions it’s “premiership or bust” for Geelong in 2021.

The 2020 runners-up have added star Greater Western Sydney forward Jeremy Cameron, former Hawthorn speedster Isaac Smith, and ex-North Melbourne star Shaun Higgins in some experts have viewed an “all-in” move by the Cats.

However, Stewart, who has played finals every year since being drafted in 2016, isn’t buying into that discussion.

“I don’t think that is the case at all,” he said.

“We are lucky at this footy club because we believe that we should be contending every year. Scotty (coach Chris Scott) has come out and said it publicly; we don’t believe it is the right thing to do to rebuild or go into a transition phase with your list.

“We believe at this footy club that you should be contending, and if you are not, then you are probably not doing the right thing.

“Obviously to come up short last year was disappointing, but we are in another position again to contend, and it is not all or nothing, it is not premiership or bust, it is why you should play footy.

“You play footy every year to contend and to have a crack at the premiership, and at this point in time everyone is on the same amount of points, and we are all trying to chase that same goal.”

Veteran forward Tom Hawkins said last week he was embracing the expectation of adding talent to an already impressive list.

However, Stewart is taking a different approach.

“I just want to approach it looking forward to (today) and having a good training session and then coming back next week and putting my best foot forward again,” he said.

“Everyone is on zero points at the moment, so there is no real internal pressure on us to put anything extra than what is being said already.

“That is for other people to say, it is not for us to say.

“We are just trying to play good football and contend at the end of the year, and whether that is a premiership or finals, that is not really my focus at this point in time.”

Geelong is now less than four weeks away from its opening pre-season match, with a clash against Essendon scheduled for GMHBA Stadium on February 18.

The Cats trained at Deakin University on Friday morning, and Stewart admits with the later start to pre-season a balance has to be struck in preparation for 2021.

“The conditioning staff are working pretty hard on getting all the boys up to scratch,” he said.

“But everyone came back in really good condition, which was quite pleasing. We could hit the ground running and didn’t have too many blokes that had to chase their tail.

“We’ve had a great mix of conditioning work, but also got a lot of footy hits in there as well.”

Twitter: @tom_king79