By Luke Voogt
Reigning Geelong best-and-fairest Cam Guthrie has signed for another four years with the Cats ahead of Friday night’s preliminary final against Melbourne.
“It’s kind of been bubbling away in the background a little bit, which is kind of how I wanted it to be,” the 29-year-old told a press conference on Tuesday.
“I’ve wanted to make it all about the team and push any individual aspects of my career to the background.”
Guthrie admitted missing out on playing in Geelong Cats’ last premiership-winning side during his debut year in 2011 played a part in his decision to re-sign.
“It was always a goal of mine to get in that group and be a premiership player,” he said.
This year Guthrie qualified as an unrestricted free agent but he had held off on signing a new deal in order to secure a longer contract extension, according to afl.com.au.
He has averaged 29.1 disposals a game this season, after making the All-Australian side last year.
The newly-inked contract means the reigning Carji Greeves medallist will remain at Geelong until at least the end of 2025.
“I feel like the club has always given me respect and I’ve tried to return that,” he said.
“Negotiations went really well and they were conducted really fairly and respectively again, so the whole process has been a good one.”
With the deal squared away, Guthrie was keen to face the Demons on Friday night at Optus Stadium in Perth.
“I’m really enthusiastic about our prospects and I can’t wait to get out there,” he said.
Clayton Oliver is just one of several talented players Geelong’s midfield will seek to counter.
“He obviously likes to get his hands dirty and win that contested ball,” Guthrie said.
“He played really well in that win against us in round 23 and was possibly the difference that night, so I think we’ll have good chat about him this week.
“We respect what their midfield can do – we respect what their whole team can do.”
Guthrie backed in-form teammate Rhys Stanley to take on All-Australian ruckman Max Gawn.
“I’ve always got confidence in my teammates, so I think Rhys will come up and do a really good job,” he said.
“He’s had a great finish to the season so we expect that Rhys will win his fair share and give it a good crack in there.
“Max is obviously a really good ruckman and he’s going to win his fair share at times.
“It’s going to be a bit of a balance both offensively and defensively and we’re going to be ready for both outcomes.”
“The clearances and the centre bounces are going to be a massive part [of] the way the game … ultimately goes in the end.
“As a midfield group we really take pride in what we can do in there and know we’re really important in that battle, so I’m looking forward to that.
“We think we need to bring our best to tip the result our way. We’re willing to go out and give it our best shot and we’ve been preparing that way.”