If anything, Patrick Dangerfield exceeded expectations in his first match for Geelong.
That’s saying something, because those expectations have been sky high from the moment he left Adelaide last year after eight stellar seasons to join his hometown AFL club.
A team-high 28 disposals and three goals was a great return in anyone’s language, even if the Cats did come up eight points short in a NAB Challenge goalfest against Collingwood at Simonds Stadium on Friday night.
“It’s always rusty, the first game, and it was a bit of a shootout, which isn’t exactly the way we want to play our footy this season,” said 25-year-old Dangerfield, who grew up in the nearby surfcoast hamlet of Moggs Creek.
“But it was good to get the first one out of the way.
“I wasn’t too nervous.
“Round one’s still a month away, it’s still preparation stage for us.”
What was just as pleasing for the Cats’ coaching staff was the first-up effort of former Gold Coast ruckman Zac Smith, who was also among their best players in the 0.21.5 (131) to 2.16.9 (123) loss.
“Just for him (Dangerfield) to play four quarters tonight, he did some very good things, helped with our organisational stuff around the stoppages and started to build some chemistry with (ruckmen) Zac Smith and Rhys Stanley,” Cats assistant coach Matthew Knights said.
“They’re all pretty new to each other, so for those guys just to get that chemistry over the next four weeks before round one is pretty critical for us.”
Smith directed the first tap-out of the match straight to Dangerfield, who launched the Cats into attack – a sight Geelong fans can expect to see plenty more of in 2016.
“It was good that Zaccy got his hand on it and it worked out pretty well,” said Dangerfield, who has done a good job of dealing with the hype that has accompanied his arrival at Geelong.
“It’s something I can’t really control, so I don’t worry about it too much,” he said.
“It’s the controllables – if I can, then it’s something I should look to worry about, but if it’s something I can’t, then there’s no point wasting energy on it.
“I think everyone at the footy club needs to embrace (the hype).
“Our aim this season is 50,000 members and we want to exceed that – that’s the entire footy club, not just one player.
“For us to succeed this year, it’s going to be on the back of a really even contribution from everyone who pulls on the Geelong guernsey.
“It’s never built on one person, it’s not built on Joel Selwood or Tom Hawkins, it’s the entire playing list.”