Five trade targets for Geelong Cats

Geelong is poised to potentially make a significant impact during the 2024 trade and free agency period, aiming to strengthen their squad after a quieter off-season last year focused on the draft. The Cats refrained from acquiring experienced talent through trades in 2023, opting for stability amidst previous player movement upheavals.

Now, with Geelong navigating between contending for titles or rebuilding, they appear prepared to adopt a more assertive approach in managing their list. Here are some names the Cats may target during the upcoming off-season…

Bailey Smith

Geelong is actively pursuing the familiar name of Smith in trade discussions, viewing him as a strong candidate to join Kardinia Park by the end of this year.

However, Hawthorn and potentially Collingwood are also vying for Smith’s signature, with the Bulldogs likely to consider letting go of the midfielder due to other list priorities and competitive offers from rival clubs.

The Sandringham Dragons product is expected to play a pivotal role in Geelong’s midfield, alongside Max Holmes and Tanner Bruhn, both former first-round picks known for their individual strengths within Chris Scott’s midfield setup.

Smith, who is recovering from an ACL injury sustained last December, is likely to command a first-round pick or equivalent in trade negotiations.

If the dynamic Bulldogs midfielder can regain his top form, investing in an early selection will prove to be a worthwhile expenditure.

Ned McHenry

A local talent who has shown promise but faced challenges with form recently, McHenry was dropped from Matthew Nicks’ squad prior to Adelaide’s Round 15 bye.

Drafted by the Crows as a first-round pick in the competitive 2018 draft, McHenry’s development has somewhat stalled after playing just 11 games last season.

Could Geelong view the Barwon Heads native as a potential low-cost, high-reward target by season’s end? McHenry is currently unsigned for the 2025 season, and given his limited opportunities in Adelaide’s senior lineup, he may be available at a reasonable price.

Ed Langdon

Geelong could benefit from adding an experienced outside runner who bridges the gap between emerging talents and veterans, a role currently somewhat lacking in their midfield group.

Apart from the gritty onballer Tom Atkins, the Cats rely on players like Patrick Dangerfield, Mark Blicavs, and Cam Guthrie, who are approaching the later stages of their careers, while Max Holmes and Jhye Clark are still developing.

A player capable of providing a smooth transition and delivering consistent performances in midfield could be crucial at Kardinia Park, and Langdon appears to fit this profile well.

As Holmes transitions to a role in half-back or a more central midfield position, there is an opportunity for Langdon to secure a spot on the wing in Geelong’s blue and white stripes.

As we move into the latter half of the 2024 season, Langdon has not yet extended his contract with Melbourne beyond this year…

Curtis Taylor

Amidst their current status between contending for a premiership and potentially rebuilding, Geelong is seeking role players who can contribute without compromising their draft assets.

Taylor fits this description perfectly. His skills as a potential wing or half-forward, characterized by a strong kick and dash, align well with what the Cats may be seeking to bolster their under-24 ranks.

Despite a mixed 2022 season and a preseason disrupted by injury, the Keilor native has recently shown promising form since returning to AFL competition over the past month.

Another player who is unsigned for next season, the young Kangaroo could potentially thrive in an environment under the guidance of Cats coach Chris Scott.

Samson Ryan 

With a potential Tom Hawkins-sized vacancy looming in Geelong’s forward line and concerns over future ruck options beyond Toby Conway, the Cats may entertain the idea of acquiring an emerging dual-position talent like Ryan.

The sidelined Richmond youngster could provide competition for Shannon Neale as a versatile ruck-forward hybrid, capable of playing forward and supporting Conway in the ruck for the foreseeable future.

Geelong holds optimism for Neale’s development, and adding Ryan would bolster their depth in key positions, complementing South Australian Phoenix Foster and first-year tall Mitch Edwards.

Ryan could potentially move ahead of Neale in the pecking order and might even take on a first-string ruck role ahead of Conway as he continues to progress in his development.

There’s a scenario where Neale, Conway, and Ryan could all feature in the same side, possibly dependent on the eventual retirement of key forward Jeremy Cameron.

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