One of the key pillars of the AFL competition is the salary cap and the draft.
Clearly the main objective of both is parody. Top teams find it difficult to continue to be on top and bottom teams are given hope that one day they will climb the ladder.
We have seen of the greatest sides of all times, the Brisbane Lions, succumb to the equality that is the AFL system.
So how is it that a team like Geelong can continually compete year in and year out and once again in 2013, thumb their nose at the system?
As much as we mull over statistics every week and get absorbed by them the key to a successful club is still people.
Clearly, one of the greatest strengths of the Cats is the leadership in the key roles throughout their organization.
The perception of the Geelong Football Club is they are a professional, disciplined an exceptionally well-run outfit.
That leadership extends to their player group and they have an incredible senior core that sets standards both on and off the field.
There is clear direction for young players to follow at the Geelong football club. This is something many clubs simply do not have.
Geelong recruiting manager, Stephen Wells, has done an exceptional job. In an increasingly difficult area, where the gap between U18 football and senior AFL football is only getting larger, Wells has an incredible knack for picking talent.
The common theme for Wells seems to be to pick smart, hard footballers. Whilst many clubs try to turn athletes into footballers, Geelong seem to want to take footballers and train them for the demands of the modern game.
As good as the recruiting has been, Geelong’s ability to develop the young players has been second to none.
The fact that the Cats were the first team to have a standalone VFL seconds side was and is a significant advantage.
The ability to pick young players and play them where and for how long the coach’s desire can be vastly different to many clubs that are dictated to by their independent partners.
There is no doubt that this has fast tracked the development of players such as Duncan, Christensen, and Motlop.
The Geelong coach’s have also done a terrific job in introducing young players while they still have had many veterans to teach them.
There has certainly not been the pressure on the Geelong youngsters that we have seen on the Suns and Giants early picks.
They have not had to carry a significant load when coming into the team and have just been asked to play a role within the team structure.
Bomber Thompson was an exceptional coach and undoubtedly still has a significant impact on the Geelong Football Club. As a dual premiership coach he demanded his players were hard, and uncompromising and this is a standard that still exists today.
However, the change of coach probably came at the right time. And I am sure Bomber was reading some signs and made a selfless decision.
Whilst, Chris Scott has not changed things dramatically the change of coach itself has probably refreshed the entire playing list.
In fact, Scott’s greatest strength has been his ability to respect everything that came before him. From day one, he was clear that he had to fit in to a very good football club. His game plan change has been subtle and smart, taking everything that was good from Bomber and tweaking some of the weaknesses.
He has proven to be an exceptional coach in his own right.
There seems to be an innate competitive drive from all who work at Geelong. They simply refuse to buckle to the system and strive for perfection in everything that they do.
If there is one thing that you look for in an employee of a football club and one thing that will drive success, it is the passion and will to compete.