GEELONG’s debutant quartet are all taking the approach of “keeping it simple” ahead of Friday night’s opening round meeting with Collingwood at the MCG.
For the first time in 45 years, the Cats will unveil four first-gamers to open a season, with Tom Atkins, Charlie Constable, Jordan Clark and Gryan Miers joining off-season acquisitions Gary Rohan (Sydney) and Luke Dahlhaus (Western Bulldogs) in pulling on the Hoops for the first time at AFL level against the Pies.
Clark, who will have a number of family and friends from Western Australia trekking across the Nullarbor for the match, says the confidence he played with during the JLT Series comes naturally.
“I’m just going to stick with that and see where it takes me,” he said.
“I’m not going to play too complicated; I’m just going to keep it simple like I usually do.”
Miers, who burst into draft calculations after a seven-goal performance in the 2017 TAC Cup grand final, didn’t think he would be selected despite solid performances in the pre-season.
“I thought I was a chance because of JLT; I thought I was in the mix, but I didn’t think I was going to play.
“I was hoping to be an emergency, really, and then try and push for Round 2 or Round 3 with some VFL form.
“But to get the call Round 1, I’m so excited.”
For Constable, his selection makes being on the fringe of selection for much of 2018 worthwhile.
“I think I was emergency nine or 10 times all up last year which was a little bit frustrating,” he said.
“It made me really hungry over the summertime to come back in good shape and have a good pre-season.
“It’s got me to here today.”
Atkins, who the Cats used their only rookie draft pick on after five years in the VFL system, says he will treat the match like any other game.
“I don’t want to get caught up too much in the moment of my first game; I want to enjoy it, and Joel’s (Selwood) made it clear you need to enjoy it,” he said.
“But, in terms of how I approach it, I just want to treat it as a normal game and try and play as I’ve been playing.”