Cats content as AFL finals loom - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats content as AFL finals loom

By Roger Vaughan 03/07/2008 04:18:49 PM Comments (0)

The last time we saw Geelong's Mark Thompson, he was contentedly munching on a roll in the coach's box as his team handed West Coast a fearful AFL hiding.

Fresh from a quick time-out during the split-round break, Thompson is back to mastermind the business end of the Cats' premiership defence.

Many teams would have used the week off to reload and conduct an exhaustive review ahead of the last eight rounds before the finals.

But the well-organised Cats are doing something similar on a weekly basis.

"I'm not sure that's as important as it was a couple of years ago - you review every week and if you keep the lines of communication going, you should review," Thompson said.

"You shouldn't wait until halfway through the year before you sit down and talk about how you're going."

Geelong will go half a game clear in top spot on Friday night if they beat Adelaide at AAMI Stadium and Thompson said his team was progressing as well as the ladder position would suggest.

"We're going okay and I'd be silly to think otherwise," he said.

"The break has come at a perfect time, we've lost one out of 13, so we're in a perfect position, really.

"It's a battle for the top five or six and this year is really a great year of footy, with so many good teams - we look forward to the rest of the year.

The returns of Matthew Scarlett and Mathew Stokes mean only key defender Matthew Egan, who is out for the season, and small forward Shannon Byrnes are sidelined by injury.

As part of the overhaul of the club after the disastrous 2006 season, the Cats made several changes to their team support staff.

Thompson said the off-field management continued to play a key role in keeping the team healthy.

"It has a big hand in it, our football club, it's a pleasure to work there, we're working with all great people and very talented people - certainly the doctors, fitness staff, weight coaches, rehab coaches, it really is a first-class team," he said.

"We've only got two injuries - Matthew Egan, who's obviously not going to play, and Shannon Byrnes, who was so close to playing this week.

"We're in really good shape."

Likewise, the prospect of playing the Crows at AAMI Stadium, in front of a vocal pro-Adelaide crowd, does not faze the Cats.

"When you have a good team, it doesn't really matter where you play," Thompson said.

"The more experienced players are, the more they've travelled and we just play good football wherever we are now."

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