K rock Football

“Too planted in now” – Hocking

Geelong leaves Optus Stadium following its preliminary final loss to Melbourne. (AFL Photos Image via Getty Images/Paul Kane)

NEW CEO Steve Hocking concedes Geelong needs to find a better balance between future development and short-term success.

The Cats have found themselves in the spotlight for much of Chris Scott’s tenure as senior coach for its preference to top-up with players from rival clubs instead of developing players through the draft system.

While it’s a philosophy that has kept Geelong in premiership contention, history will say the Cats have failed to win a premiership since 2011.

“You want a foot planted in now, but you also want to have a foot planted in the future,” Hocking said.

“And if I was going to highlight what I’ve seen, I think we’ve got too planted in just now.

“So, that’s an opportunity to address that, with a new CEO coming in, and new coaches and so forth as well.

“That re-setting of the football program will be really healthy.”

Hocking says he’s already made Scott aware of his position, and the club’s second longest-serving coach has “embraced” the change to adjust the football department’s thinking.

“Chris is committed to Geelong; he seriously wants to see this through,” Hocking said. “One of the easy things to do is to jump off when things are going really well.

“Potentially, when people externally are looking at it and assessing Geelong and going, “you know what? It’s a slippery slope from here.”

“Chris is committed to our club continuing to have success.

“I think his leadership, his coaching, and so forth, is one of the best in the industry around that.”

However, Hocking says others at the club have to also carry that workload.

“I think a lot of it has fallen to Chris,” he said. “And at times, potentially, I think we’ve got a little bit caught up in the legacy piece of what has gone before.

“The rearview mirror’s got a bit big, and my job is to make the windscreen far larger.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to doing and have started that way.”

One of the areas Hocking shone the spotlight on is list management.

“That’s Stephen Wells’ area,” Hocking said. “He needs to own that and deliver a future version of where we need to go, and that’s younger talent coming in.

“We’ve got picks 22, 30, 32, 34 and 50, and there’s a lot of interest in those picks from other clubs.

“I think we’ve got to get away from Chris carrying the can on a lot of this and have a bit more of a shared responsibility.”

Despite being on the end of an 83-point hiding from eventual premier Melbourne with a team featuring 11 players aged 30 or older, and only six under 25, Hocking is confident Geelong can contend again in 2022.

“But, what we do need to do is, I think, just take stock,” he said.

“Understand where we want to go into the future, make sure that we get 2022 right, which is what we’re currently working through with recruitment and appointments – both on-field and off-field.”

Twitter: @tom_king79