AFL legend Tim Watson has lauded Geelong’s ability to scour the country for mature age recruits, as Tim Kelly became the latest state league star to perform strongly at the top level.
The 23-year-old, who was picked up from WAFL club South Fremantle with pick 24 in last year’s draft finished with 27 disposals and six inside 50’s in the Cats' thrilling three-point victory against Melbourne.
Harry Taylor, and in more recent times Sam Menegola, were picked up after dominating in the WAFL, while former steeplechaser Mark Blicavs won the Best and Fairest for Geelong in 2015.
“I don’t know how they do this, but their mature age recruiting has been exceptional,” Watson said on SEN Breakfast.
“Tim Kelly – we saw him through the JLT (series), he’s a bona fide stand up AFL player right now, when the whips are cracking.
“They’ve got so much depth in the midfield.
“He went to the draft six times before he got drafted. Even he now says he wasn’t ready before, but he’s ready now mentally and physically to cope with the AFL rigours.”
Another player who was impressive for the Cats yesterday was crafty forward Daniel Menzel, who booted four goals, and Watson feels he symbolises a trend that tends to be looked upon harshly in the modern game.
“That’s one of the great stories to have come out of this game is that anybody could’ve had him,” he said.
“This is something that happens in football all the time. We concentrate on what people can’t do, and we do not put enough value on what they actually do.
“He kicks goals in unusual, awkward, and difficult (situations). He is still a quality AFL player.”
Geelong will take on Hawthorn in the annual Easter Monday clash against Hawthorn, and look set to be boosted by the return of star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield.