HE may be just 40 games into the Geelong stanza of his career, yet Patrick Dangerfield is already being favourably compared with the two finest players in the club’s history.
Those unofficial titles belong to Graham “Polly” Farmer from the 1960s and Gary Ablett Sr between 1984-1996, opinions agreed upon by seven men who boast a collection of playing accolades between them at the Cats.
And they agreed Dangerfield belongs with the elite wearers of the blue and white hoops, up there with Gary Ablett Sr and Jr, Jimmy Bartel, Corey Enright, Bill Goggin, Garry Hocking, Matthew Scarlett, Joel Selwood and Farmer.
John Sharrock was a devastating half-forward for Geelong in the 1960s before a knee injury finished his career at age 24 in 1968.
“I saw Dangerfield recently take possession in the backline and kick long to a teammate on the wing, who went back and booted it into the forward line. Who marked it? Dangerfield. I just sat there shaking my head,” said Sharrock, 73.
“I’m biased because I played with ‘Polly’ but I would go in order Polly, Ablett Sr and Dangerfield.”
Bill Goggin, 76, is a dual best and fairest winner and one-time games record holder (248) for the club.
“I would go with Farmer and Ablett Sr but Dangerfield is quickly climbing into that category. I haven’t seen him play a bad game at Geelong,” Goggin said.
”He actually seems to have improved in the time he’s been at Geelong in terms of strength and goalkicking.”
Doug Wade kicked 834 goals for Geelong between 1961-62.
“I find it hard to go past Polly and Gary Ablett Sr, but I would have Dangerfield and Joel Selwood equal third,” said Wade, 75.
“Selwood is the best captain I have seen at the club whereas Dangerfield is something else. I knew he was good but in his first game for Geelong against Hawthorn last year I remember saying ‘what have we got here?’.”
Michael Turner played 245 matches between 1974-88 and is on a wing in the club’s Team of the Century
“It comes down to how much influence someone can have on a result,” said Turner, 62.
“In that category he rates with players such as Wayne Carey, Leigh Matthews, ‘Polly’ Farmer and Gary Ablett Sr.”
Bruce and Ian Nankervis, who won five best and fairests between them in the 1970s, both agree that Dangerfield already belongs in a group with Gary Ablett Jr and Joel Selwood below Farmer and Ablett Sr.
The last word belongs to 1963 Premiership captain Fred Wooller, 79
“For sheer excitement he rates with Gary Sr. His attack on the ball or his opponent plus the way he leaps for an on-baller. And he’s a very fair player.”