Shepparton News

Scott has total faith in Geelong’s midfield



Geelong coach Chris Scott will back his gun midfielder­s to outpoint Melbourne’s vaunted onball division as Clayton Oliver looms large over their AFL preliminar­y final contest.

Oliver was outstandin­g in the two sides’ most recent meeting last month, winning 37 disposals and 26 contested possession­s as the Demons erased a 44-point margin on the way to a post-siren victory that sealed the minor premiershi­p.

The 24-year-old Brownlow Medal fancy also kicked two goals and had nine clearances in a best afield display and was outstandin­g again as Melbourne outmuscled Brisbane in their qualifying final.

Together with Christian Petracca and Jack Viney at the feet of AllAustral­ian ruckman Max Gawn, they form a powerful midfield unit.

But Scott believes Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfiel­d, Sam Menegola and recently re-signed best-and-fairest winner Cam Guthrie can get the job done without requiring someone to play a shutdown role on any of Melbourne’s prime movers.

‘‘There is a really clear line there for us where trying to stop them becomes an overall negative for the way that our team wants to play,’’ Scott said.

‘‘I suspect there will be a little bit of both teams trying to get the game on their terms and be proactive with their midfielder­s, with a couple of contingenc­ies if that’s not working.

‘‘But I think it’s folly to go in thinking that Petracca, Viney and Oliver need to have really lowpossess­ion games for us to win. I don’t agree with that notion.’’

Selwood has been a little down on his usual output in recent weeks, but Scott threw his support behind the long-standing captain, who broke Corey Enright’s all-time Geelong games record last week.

‘‘I’m prepared to back him in,’’ Scott said.

‘‘Their midfield’s really good, we’ve got great respect for them (and) I’m not going to diminish them in any way, shape or form.

‘‘But we are going to back in our midfield — they’re pretty good players.’’

Geelong will have to replace Brandan Parfitt (hamstring) and Scott said Mitch Duncan was a chance to play more midfield minutes after a strong return from a knee injury at half-forward and half-back in the semi-final win over GWS.

‘‘With the exception of match practice, Mitch is in full health, so we don’t feel there’s any restrictio­ns around what role we can play him in,’’ Scott said.

‘‘Obviously we’d have liked him to play more footy, but he’s a bit similar to a few of our guys in that there is some upside in that they haven’t had an arduous, lengthy season.

‘‘The lack of that cumulative load is a positive for them.

‘‘Dangerfiel­d’s in that category, (Jeremy) Cameron and there are one or two others as well.’’

 ?? Picture: AAP ?? In great form: Melbourne ace Christian Petracca has been in red-hot touch ahead of the Demons’ clash with Geelong.
Picture: AAP In great form: Melbourne ace Christian Petracca has been in red-hot touch ahead of the Demons’ clash with Geelong.

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