Shocked Syd­ney licks its wounds

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - CHRIS CA­VANAGH NEIL CORDY

GEE­LONG su­per­star Patrick Danger­field has chal­lenged for­mer side Ade­laide to “bring it on” ahead of what shapes as a block­buster pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal on Friday night.

Fresh from a bril­liant four­goal per­for­mance which set up a 59-point win for the Cats in their semi-fi­nal against Syd­ney, Danger­field said he “can’t wait” to head back to Ade­laide and take on the mi­nor premier.

Gee­long com­pleted a 110point turn­around against the Swans, hav­ing suf­fered a 51point qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal loss to Rich­mond at the MCG which led to se­ri­ous soul-search­ing.

“I was pretty fired up, so was our side, so were our coaches,” Danger­field said.

“We main­tained pres­sure around the ball, which is ob­vi­ously crit­i­cal, and we were able to score up for­ward. It doesn’t mat­ter how many oneper­centers and how many tack­les and smoth­ers, you’ve got to be able to put score­board pres­sure on the op­po­si­tion and it was pleas­ing for us tonight.

“We were re­ally con­fi­dent that if we ex­e­cuted, things were go­ing to be OK. Ev­ery­thing’s looked at in iso­la­tion with our last per­for­mance, which was poor, ob­vi­ously.

“The re­silience and the abil­ity for this group to re­spond all sea­son has been enor­mous and we saw that tonight.

“The chal­lenge now is to con­tinue that mo­men­tum and what bet­ter chal­lenge than Ade­laide this week.”

Ade­laide for­ward Josh Jenk­ins said yes­ter­day in an in­ter­view on Fox Footy he would “100 per cent” love to beat his for­mer team­mate Danger­field.

“If he marches into town with his Gee­long team­mates, there’d be noth­ing bet­ter than beat­ing him and re­mind­ing him that per­haps he should have stuck around with us and he could be a Brown­low Med- al­list and a premier­ship player,” Jenk­ins said.

Danger­field dis­missed sug­ges­tions play­ing against his old side added a bit ex­tra to the match, say­ing the Cats were clear in their fo­cus.

“I don’t know if it’s ex­tra spice,” he said. “It doesn’t mat­ter who our op­po­nent is, we’re go­ing to win. We’ve got two games to go.”

Ade­laide and Gee­long have met twice this sea­son, each record­ing one win. SHAT­TERED Syd­ney Swans skip­per Josh Kennedy says the man­ner of his team’s shock exit from the fi­nals at the hands of Gee­long will make the up­com­ing off sea­son a pro­longed and ag­o­nis­ing one.

Af­ter look­ing like its sea­son was dead and buried at 0-6 Syd­ney’s amaz­ing run of 15 wins from the next 17 matches ig­nited hopes of the most un­likely of pre­mier­ships.

But the Cats’ 59-point de­mo­li­tion job put paid to those hopes in a man­ner no­body saw com­ing.

And now comes a long, long off-sea­son to pon­der what went wrong.

John Long­mire said his team was “bug­gered’’ af­ter ef­fec­tively play­ing elim­i­na­tion fi­nals foot­ball for the past five months.

Adding to the tor­ment was the fact the match was the 300th game for one of its most favourite sons Jar­rad McVeigh who had pro­vided much needed sup­port to Kennedy in his con­fi­dence shat­ter­ing start as cap­tain.

“It is [dis­ap­point­ing to lose on McVeigh’s mile­stone match],’’ Kennedy said. “But at the same time it’s painful be­cause it’s sea­son over and it will be a long six months wait­ing for next year.

“We did a lot of work to put our­selves in that po­si­tion and didn’t show up, it’s very dis­ap­point­ing. Gee­long’s pres­sure was good and off the back of the week they’ve had. It was pretty clear to see we didn’t have enough con­trib­u­tors and they were just bet­ter than us.”

Kennedy’s 20-dis­posal per­for­mance was well down on his usual out­put and Luke Parker’s 13 was a sea­son low, but they had lit­tle or no sup­port from oth­ers.

Cal­lum Sin­clair fol­lowed last week’s best ever per­for­mance with his worst, pick­ing up just two pos­ses­sions. Gary Ro­han had an­other MCG fi­nals shocker with just seven touches for the night.

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