For all the risks around giving Tyson Stengle a third AFL chance, Geelong coach Chris Scott says the Cats knew exactly what they were doing.
More importantly, Stengle knew exactly what was expected of him from the moment he arrived at GMHBA Stadium.
The 23-year-old is proving a revelation this season and starred again in Saturday’s 35-point win over Port Adelaide with three goals.
That gives him 20 goals from 10 games.
There were big question marks over Geelong’s decision to recruit the former Richmond and Adelaide player, given his chequered off-field history.
But Scott said they went in with their eyes wide open.
“It’s probably a little harsh to refer to it as an experiment – we put a lot of work in over a long period of time, it wasn’t just his year (last season) in the SANFL,” Scott said.
“We’ve been watching him for a bit.
“We have the added advantage of (Cats assistant coach) Shaun Grigg … spending some time with him at Richmond and feeling like he knew him as a person better than most.
“But still we took our time to make sure that it was the right fit for our footy club and we could help him and support him in the appropriate manner.”
What was also crucial was that Geelong recruited Stengle with a particular forward line job in mind – one he is executing brilliantly.
“The thing that was really appealing to us was that we thought we had a specific role for him,” Scott said.
“So it’s always better when a player comes into your club and from the first moment he walks in … you can be specific around the role we’re trying to educate him in.”
Scott has said repeatedly that Stengle did not arrive in Geelong with a golden ticket, that he had to earn his senior spot.
So far, the goalsneak is repaying Geelong’s faith in spades.
“The early part of the year is really exciting for us – we really like our small running forwards, but they’re different to Tyson,” Scott said.
“That was a role we’ve been looking for, for a while, and the signs are good aren’t they?”