2023 Defence Ratings: Geelong
Points Against (Brennan Jakovich Shield): 1488 - 3rd
Inside 50's Against Per Goal: 4.6 - 5th
Scarlett Silvagni Medal Votes: 63 - 4th
Keys: Sam De Koning, Jack Henry, Jake Kolodjashnij, Oscar Murdoch, Esava Ratugolea
General: Jed Bews, Jack Bowes*, Mitch Duncan, Zach Guthrie, Oisin Mullin, Mark O'Connor, Osca Riccardi, Tom Stewart, Zach Tuohy
In: Jack Bowes*, Oisin Mullin, Oscar Murdoch, Osca Riccardi
Out: Nick Stevens (delisted)
Geelong finished 2022 with the third-best points against for the Home and Away season, having had less than a goal more kicked against them than Melbourne for the season, had two All-Australian defenders - if we can call Blicavs a defender - and won a long-awaited premiership after years of contending.
Based on that, it's hard to say there was much wrong with Geelong's defence, and it would also be tough for it to improve. For the most part, this is true. When Stewart found himself out of the side, Jack Henry proved to be a more than reliable cover, and the same was true when Henry was sidelined and Zach Guthrie had to come in. Even Jake Kolodjashnij had the most consistent season of his career.
On that same note though Geelong's backline was greatly assisted by a ferocious midfield, and Rhys Stanely consistently dropping back to fill in holes in the defensive half. The defenders were blessed with the lowest average Inside 50's against per game in the competition, and performed well enough at preventing the ones that came in from converting into goals.
The questions with Geelong will mostly be about hunger, as it is with many premiership sides, and is the reason it is often so hard to go back to back.
Nothing has been lost from Geelong's backline, although Tuohy and Duncan being a year older and finally having their hands on a premiership medal may impact their performance, and Esava Ratugolea's transformation into a key defender seems to be complete.
We're hoping to see improvement from Sam De Koning, one of the best young key defenders the game has ever seen, along with Zach Guthrie and Esava Ratugolea.
Back Pocket Rating: A
* Despite Jack Bowes being listed as a defender, we think it's very unlikely he plays there