Leigh Matthews believes Geelong captain Joel Selwood is beginning to navigate a difficult time in his career.
There have been some signs that the 33-year-old is beginning to slow down with frustration starting to creep in as time ticks on.
Selwood has been a warrior over 15 seasons and 334 games and although he still has something to give, Matthews believes it is time to begin tempering expectations and aspirations.
“From the time he started in 2007, he’s like the pink diamond,” Matthews said on Sportsday.
“Very rare, very valuable, a smaller version of Michael Voss, I can give no greater praise than that.
“He’s been such a fantastic competitor and his contribution has been immense, but he’s embarking on a tough, tough time. Because the ageing process, as it inevitably will, is kicking in.
“I empathise with it, because we’ve all gone through it. I like to think I had a competitive spirit a bit like Joel’s. Controlling the frustration of your declining impact is the greatest challenge.
“I keep talking about this physical, mental and emotional that when your body is not able to do what it used to be able to do, then your mind goes a little bit too because you lose faith in yourself.”
The Hawthorn champion and Collingwood and Brisbane premiership coach says some of the responsibility has to lie with coach Chris Scott and the club as a whole to help Selwood perhaps prioritise other things.
“What can Chris Scott or Geelong do about that? Apart from trying to maintain the confidence in himself for as much as he possibly can because you are fighting an inevitability,” he added.
“Eventually you’ve gone over the top too much and you can’t produce.
“So it’s trying to rationalise with Joel about that. You’ve got to have different aspirations which is hard.
“You can imagine Joel’s aspirations to be as good as he’s been, to be as good as Geelong have been in his time, to adjust your aspirations a little bit, particularly your own, so they don’t weigh you down and become a millstone.”
Matthews also touched on Geelong’s much publicised list profile which could see a dozen players over the age of 30 playing on in 2022.
He feels the Cats would be well aware of their situation and the challenge is to somehow keep themselves competitive at the pointy end.
“Geelong has got an ageing list and they know that too,” he said.
“You can’t have 12 players playing at 35, can you?
“They’ve got to be careful though not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because you have one bad game, just because it happens to be the last game of the year doesn’t mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater.
“All the things that the outside commentary is talking about, Geelong are aware of, but then it’s only a question of what can we do to maintain our position up toward the top of the ladder.
“Which is what Geelong has beautifully done over the last 15 years.”