Geelong recruit Patrick Dangerfield’s instant impact on the Cats’ pre-season has resulted in the star AFL midfielder being elevated to the club’s leadership group.
And skipper Joel Selwood is relishing the prospect of the former Crow absorbing some defensive pressure when the pair line up alongside each other in the midfield this season.
Both Dangerfield, who joined the Cats from Adelaide at the end of last year, and Selwood have devastated sides throughout their careers despite attracting the attention of opposition taggers.
Selwood believes the pair will work in tandem to limit the influence of the tag – similar to his time spent playing with former Cat and Gold Coast star Gary Ablett Jr.
“I think we’re happy to share it (the tag),” Selwood told SEN radio on Wednesday.
“Paddy and I have learnt to deal with it a fair bit.
“I think the challenge is learning to play together now.”
Stopping the duo is a daunting prospect for the rest of the competition, with the influence of the likes of Jimmy Bartel, Steven Motlop and Mitch Duncan also likely to require attention.
Dangerfield, who was a co-captain at Adelaide where he played 154 games over eight seasons, has been named to line up for the first time in Cats colours in their opening NAB Challenge game against Collingwood on Friday.
He joins Duncan and athletic tall Mark Blicavs in a new-look six-man leadership group after Corey Enright and Andrew Mackie stepped aside.
Selwood remains captain – his fifth season in the role – while vice-captain Harry Taylor and power forward Tom Hawkins retain their spots.
Duncan, who returns after being part of the leadership group in 2014, also talked up Dangerfield’s impact at the Cattery.
“His voice around the footy club is already up there with the best,” Duncan told RSN radio.
“His knowledge of the game and the respect that he’s already got from the boys is pretty telling.”
He said it was likely Dangerfield would play a role similar to the one he played at Adelaide, spending most of his time on the ball while occasionally rotating through the forward line.