K rock Football

Stewart embracing tough start

Geelong defender Tom Stewart gets tangled up with Essendon’s Joe Daniher in last week’s JLT Series match. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

STAR defender Tom Stewart is confident Geelong’s best football is good enough to negotiate a tough opening to season 2019.

The Cats start their campaign next Friday night at the MCG, with clashes against Melbourne (GMHBA Stadium), Adelaide (Adelaide Oval), GWS Giants (GMHBA Stadium), Hawthorn (MCG) and West Coast (GMHBA Stadium) taking them through to the end of April.

“It will be good to start on the right foot and show up against a strong Collingwood outfit and get after them,” Stewart, who was elevated to Geelong’s leadership group last week, said.

“We’ve got them then Melbourne down here, Adelaide over there, GWS, it’s a very strong month to start.

“We are just going to back ourselves in and back our system. Even if teams know what we are trying to do, we should be good enough with what we execute to win.

“We are just going to back ourselves in and do what we have worked on all pre-season. If our best is good enough, then that’s what it is.”

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The first challenge for Geelong will be a Collingwood line-up featuring one of the AFL’s most potent forward lines, which will feature the likes of Jordan DeGoey, Jaidyn Stephenson, Josh Thomas, Brody Mihocek and American Mason Cox.

All five kicked 25 goals or more in 2018.

“They’ve got a lot of threats everywhere,” Stewart said.

“They’re a quality outfit, and that’s why they made a grand final last year. We’ve got to treat them with a lot of respect, but we can’t be waiting for them to show us what they’ve got.

“We’ve got to at them hammer and tong and meet it head first and get after it.”

Draftee Jordan Clark is a chance to be part of the Geelong backline come March 22, with Stewart already a fan of the teenager.

“His temperament around the ground, he’s not shy about coming forward, he’s not afraid of taking risks and he backs himself in, which is great,” Stewart said.

“He’s not afraid to make a mistake which for a lot of young kids coming into the system, that’s what holds a lot of them back, it’s the fear of failure and making mistakes.

“He’s as tough as nails and is a really, really good kid.”

Twitter: @tom_king79