North Melbourne legend David King believes Geelong star Mark Blicavs’ versatility to play multiple roles for the Cats could be the reason they win the premiership.
King noted how Blicavs “totally” shut down Blues star Patrick Cripps, who was held to 17 disposals, two score involvements and a season-low four clearances, in a tagging role in Saturday night’s clash at the MCG as the Cats gun split his time between midfield and ruck.
And the dual premiership Kangaroo also thinks Blicavs’ capacity to play in essentially every position on the ground should be rewarded with All-Australian selection for the first time.
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“We normally see Cripps physically dominating whoever he’s standing next to, but he couldn’t do it against Mark. It was on him at stoppage then off him and make him chase. We just don’t see this happening with Cripps,” King said on Fox Footy’s First Crack
“I’m a real fan of what Chris Scott is doing with this matchup, because what are the options? What do you do if you’re Michael Voss with Cripps? You can’t really send him forward, because one, you don’t want him forward, and two, Blicavs just goes with him, he doesn’t get caught out because he’s been an almost All-Australian key defender for a long period of time.
“It’s about time the All-Australian selectors recognize this guy, just because he plays this different role, I think he should be in the All-Australian team. Whether you put him in as a second ruck or a wingman, this role could just be the reason they win the flag.
“It must be recognized in season 2022, it must be.”
Geelong’s 30-point win over Carlton marked its eighth-straight victory to improve to 13-4 on the season and remain first on the ladder.
King called the Cats “almost bulletproof” given the way they’ve performed against the best sides in the competition in a season where Chris Scott’s team is playing a more daring brand.
And King thinks the combination of Geelong’s game plan with its personnel makes it Scott’s “best chance” to win a second flag in “six or seven” seasons.
“You wanted to see them against Melbourne and Carlton and the teams that are seriously good. What they’ve done defensively, holding those two teams to 63 and 55 points (respectively) stamps this model.
“Everyone is talking about what they do with the ball, and there’s some uniqueness and brilliance there, but what they’re doing defensively hasn’t wavered — this is without Tom Stewart.”
“I think you have to look at them different, they’ve got a point of difference with their personnel.
“Blicavs, a tagger at 190cm and 100kg is something we haven’t seen before. A center half forward who roams and kicks the way Jeremy Cameron does open up opportunities most teams don’t have the luxury of. The full forward (Tom Hawkins) who can take ruck hit-outs and kick goals.
“I think what they’re doing is challenging the competition to now try and disarm Geelong, and I don’t know if we’ve said that before.
“The Cats have disarmed every other team, and they haven’t really had to take too much off Geelong except for maybe the impact of Patrick Dangerfield and the absolute brilliance of some of those center bounce players.
“We haven’t said taking away Geelong’s game plan is the only way you can beat Geelong… you get a look at them (their weapons), but I’m not sure what you do about them, that’s the challenge.
“And I’m not sure the chasing pack are going that well, I’m not sure they’re playing that level of football at the moment. I know there’s six weeks to go — a lot can go wrong, a lot can go right.”