Nick Dal Santo believes Josh Jenkins is a walk-up start in Geelong’s best side next year.
Cats premiership captain Cameron Ling recently told the club’s To the Final Bell podcast that the former Adelaide forward is no guarantee to step straight in given the presence of youngster Esava Ratugolea.
Ling also suggested that emerging Cats midfielders including Brandan Parfitt, Charlie Constable, Quinton Narkle and Nakia Cockatoo would also have to be considered ahead of four-time St Kilda best and fairest Jack Steven who also joined the club in the off-season.
However, Dal Santo is adamant that the best players must play, especially considering Geelong’s position as a premiership contender.
“Interesting comments there from Lingy. I disagree with Lingy from a certain perspective,” the former Saints and North Melbourne midfielder said on SEN Summer Breakfast.
“I think you put your best players forward and I look at Geelong and their recruiting over the last couple of years, the age demographic of some of their players. For instance, Gary Ablett going around for at least 12 more months.
“If they think they are a chance of winning, and they are not in a development phase, even though the Cats have historically been brilliant at giving younger players games without compromising the overall success of the team, you play your best player.
“Going back to the trade period, I was shocked at the lack of interest in Josh Jenkins. The perception of the way he plays his football and his performance and whether he’s good or whether he’s not, all those things that come into it when we talk about Josh Jenkins.
“In my opinion, I haven’t seen him at Geelong just yet, but he’s in their best team.
“He walks into that team. If there is a different path at some stage during the year where they feel like they need to bring through a younger player for the future success of the club, that’s a different conversation.
“But I think they’ll be around the mark again.”
Jenkins kicked 296 goals in 147 games for the Crows, booting the third most majors for the club over the past decade.
In 2019, he kicked 22 goals in 11 AFL games in a season that saw him dropped twice to the SANFL and included him hurting his knee after a four-goal haul against Richmond.