The Cats love to attack from defence and none do it better than this man. In just his first year at the Cattery he has become their No. 1 rebounder from defence and ranks 6th in the AFL for rebounds from the defensive 50. His beauty is he does not compromise his defensive responsibilities and knows when to drop back into defensive mode. Uses the ball well and when he’s on fire the Cats don’t often lose. Some defenders have attacking roles, some have shutdown roles, both are vital to the team’s success. Brown is a shutdown specialist. It’s a tough ask in the game today when zones are all the rage and one-on-one contests are becoming rarer and rarer. Brown is the Crows’ man for the tough job. The Cats have a wide variety of forwards who must be stopped. The job on Daniel Menzel would not surprise.
ISAW it, like we all did, and I’m still not sure I believe it. Geelong produced one of the great finals performances to completely dismantle Sydney and advance to a preliminary final.
Not sure we would have thought it was possible on Friday but, 48 hours later, it is and the Cats are suddenly premiership contenders.
One coach got it perfectly right and one coach got it horribly wrong.
Sometimes coaches can influence the result of a game. On this occasion Chris Scott produced the performance of his career.
Even he agreed, calling it one of the most satisfying wins of his career. The clash against the Crows at Adelaide Oval this Friday night has just become one of the most anticipated in years.
It will be standing room only as that man Patrick Dangerfield returns to his one-time home to play hero and villain once again.
He was a true hero against Sydney, turning the traditionally calm and calculated Swans defence into a rabble as he did as he pleased against each and every one of them.
No-one was spared. Paddy kicked four goals in the first half but it felt like 10 as he led, jumped, crashed packs, drew free kicks and played decoy to inspire his team to an againstthe-odds victory.
It was as good as it gets, but as good as Dangerfield was, this victory was not about him. This was a victory for Scott. With a less-than-flattering finals record in recent times, despite being a premiership coach, Scott took control of this game from early in the week.
He reportedly summoned the team behind closed doors to deliver some old-fashioned home truths.
Even the best teams need a shake-up every now and then.
It could not have worked better.
Danger responded as only he can. Zac Smith played the game of his life in ruck.
Harry Taylor and Lachie Henderson were impassable in defence despite the loss of Tom Lonergan pre-match.
Mitch Duncan was great, Darcy Lang excellent on his return, Sam Menegola powerful and Zach Tuohy faultless.
Then there was Stevie Motlop. With all the conjecture about his future, he produced the performance of his life but, as good as every player was, Scott was better than the lot of them.
He declared his hand to the media before a ball had been bounced and he kept his end of the bargain. No tricks.
Swans coach John Longmire had no answers.
Buddy Franklin was held goalless, as were Dean Towers, Callum Sinclair, Gary Rohan and Isaac Heeney.
They kicked 14 goals between them against Essendon the week before but not one between them seven days later.
A true coaching masterclass to get his players into such a focused headspace.
Scott was a good coach before Friday night. He was a premiership coach and you must be good to be in that select group, but he has just moved into the great category.
He was largely responsible for the result of this game.
You can’t win without the players, of course, but every now and then a team needs something more. Something extra. Something different.
There were no tricks, no allout defence – just a well-prepared plan, delivered and executed by his players.
Now for the Crows to beat them: Dismantle them.
The Swans proved, to just do what you’ve always done , will not be good enough. Not in September.
Crows coach Don Pyke will be reluctant to tag Dangerfield but he must. Who with is the big question.
Riley Knight? Hugh Greenwood?
It should be Rory Sloane for me, when he is on ball. Let the two bulls go at it, head to head.
And Jake Lever when Dangerfield is in attack – and he will be there for a significant amount of time.
Pyke must also be wary of Tom Hawkins and Joel Selwood. Hawkins was held to just one goal but he’s got six in him and Daniel Talia must be given the job.
Selwood may be playing hurt but that’s when he is at his most dangerous. Beware the wounded soldier, especially if his name is Joel Selwood.
Pyke and his team must put the entire 22 of the Cats under the microscope and have a clear vision of how this game will play out and how the Crows can win it, moving the ball with speed and depth and not allowing the Cats to dictate is important, especially early.
And they must stay composed.
The Swans lost composure on Friday and their game fell apart. They fumbled, panickicked, got in each other’s way and imploded.
The Crows must stay calm and maintain their belief in each other.
Finals are games won by teams, not individuals, and starting the game well as a team is a must.
Eleven times this season Geelong has led at quartertime and every time it has won the game. A good start is nonnegotiable.