Geelong star Joel Selwood will play on next year but admits he is no certainty to break former Blue Stephen Kernahan’s record for most VFL-AFL games as captain.
The Cats confirmed on Tuesday that Selwood, an unrestricted free agent, had agreed to a one-year contract, while he will also return to the line-up against Fremantle in Perth on Thursday, having been rested in the win over the Blues.
“I feel good, I have had a good run at it, continuous training, I just have to make sure that continues now for this last part of the year. Then, yeah, I go into next year,” Selwood, seven games shy of Corey Enright’s club record of 332, said.
Team first: Geelong skipper Joel Selwood will play on in 2022.Credit:Getty Images
Selwood, 33, has led the Cats in 215 matches, currently in fourth spot overall for most games as captain, while Carlton legend Kernahan led his club in 226 matches. The three-time premiership star will need to retain the role next season, a position he has held since replacing Cameron Ling in 2012, to take the captaincy record. But he could not guarantee that will be the case.
“It’s one thing that we will sum up when it comes. As I say, most years, we just weigh up the captaincy through the pre-season period, whether it’s me or someone else, and we will look at it from there but, for now, it’s just about finishing the year well,” Selwood said.
“We talk about what’s best for the footy club, always. Whether that’s next year or the years to come, we will just wait and see. We will do what’s best for the club. We have a number of guys that could do it. I have got no doubt in that. Whether it’s still helpful for them for me to do it and shoulder the load for a little bit, and they can just take over when needs be, I am happy to do that, too.”
Should the Cats decide it’s time for change, All-Australian half-back Tom Stewart, 28, will be one of the frontrunners, while Patrick Dangerfield, 31, would also be in the mix. Mark Blicavs, 30, Mitch Duncan, 30, Mark O’Connor, 24, and Zach Tuohy, 31, are also in the leadership group.
Cats football manager Simon Lloyd described Selwood as an “icon” of the club, with his durability and passion obvious to all. The only thing missing from his packed resume is being a premiership skipper, but the Cats are well placed with 12 wins so far this season to secure a top-two spot and give themselves every chance of erasing last year’s grand final heartbreak against Richmond.
“We have got ourselves in a really good position … now, we just have to build on that, and our position in the top four,” Selwood said, adding Dangerfield would benefit from a sustained run after a long lay-off because of an ankle injury.
He also spoke for the first time about the incidents behind a $3000 fine he received for making unnecessary contact to the face of Western Bulldogs opponent Bailey Dale during the round 14 thriller at GMHBA Stadium, and for rough conduct when his boot made contact with Bulldogs defender Taylor Duryea’s leg. That second incident comprised $2000 of the fine, with match review officer Michael Christian declaring it careless and low impact.
“Maybe it come across like that [unnecessary] but the game is so fast, there is so much on the line that we put ourselves through each week, and it’s something that I have moved on from pretty quickly,” Selwood said.
Most games as captain in VFL/AFL history
226 Stephen Kernahan
224 Dick Reynolds
220 Nick Riewoldt
215 Joel Selwood
212 Ted Whitten
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