NO Tom Lonergan, NO second chances, NO one thought they could do it, but last night’s semi-final was NO problem as the Cats stunned the Swans ... and the critics
GEELONG coach Chris Scott has refused to buy into his side’s premiership chances after reviving its season with a thumping win over Sydney.
As the Cats gave their flag hopes a vital shot in the arm with a 59-point win over a sluggish Swans, Scott, who completed perhaps his best coaching performance since winning the 2011 grand final, would not be drawn on its chances of pressing deep in September.
“I’m not going to buy into any of that,” Scott said last night. “The same way that I don’t think we’re a basket-case when we lose and we’re not superstars when we win. That’s for the C-Graders.”
Scott said midfield maestro Patrick Dangerfield had accepted the challenge of starting deep in attack, booting four goals to ignite the Cats.
“If we had have put to him that we wanted him to start forward, and he was desperate to start in the middle, I reckon he would’ve started in the middle, but he was board and thought it could work,” Scott said. “So I would go to the fact that with every decision we make, we have a very collaborative coaching team, but that one got good support.”
Scott admitted the move, coupled with Dangerfield’s dominance, gave his side a major morale boost.
“It’s obviously positive. If you could script it, that you’d have one of your best players in the game putting the opposition on the back foot … it got our guys believing that when we got the ball forward, we were a pretty potent threat and it’s obviously destabilising to the opposition as well, but we’re just stating the obvious.”
Scott described the Cats’ midfield, who smashed the Swans 156-131 in contested possessions, as “collectively good”.
“We’ve had some bad nights against Sydney, in actual fact it’s been a reflection of how good Sydney are,” he said.
“They’ve got All-Australians on every line, but they’ve got them through the middle. It’s not one or two of their mids, it’s collectively, and they’re big and strong and use the ball really well.
“So if you’d told me we’d be plus 25 contested possessions against Sydney, I would’ve thought it would give us a good chance to win the game.”
Geelong’s win was even more remarkable, given Tom Lonergan was a late withdrawal with food poisoning.
Scott revealed he only learned of Lonergan’s illness early yesterday.
“I hate it when our doctor’s name comes up on my phone,” he said. “I always answer it the same way … with a bit of trepidation. It was mid-morning, maybe a bit earlier than that. His wife was sick and I’m not actually sure what it was, but he wasn’t good enough to play.
“There were a few interventions through the day that made him feel better and good enough that he should get up and see how he was in the warm-up but it didn’t get to that stage, he went downhill again.”
Scott said defender Tom Stewart was battling from hamstring tightness but “it was very precautionary”.
Chris Scott last night.