Geelong is so much calmer, says Harley - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Geelong is so much calmer, says Harley

By Ian Jessup 14/08/2008 04:58:59 PM Comments (0)

There is a different atmosphere in the city of Geelong as the Cats surge towards successive AFL premierships, and captain Tom Harley has noticed it.

"This time last year you couldn't keep a lid on it at all," Harley said of the 2007 flag that broke a 43-year drought for the Cats.

"The town was in a frenzy - that anxiety, anticipation and the nerves of going into another finals series.

"Are they going to lose again? All those sorts of things."

Geelong again have the minor premiership sewn up three games out from the finals but the euphoria that buried generations of doubt a year ago has given way to composure.

"This year it's been pretty calm, there's a definite level of expectation amongst our supporters and they're expecting the best," Harley said.

"But not so much the frenzy there was last year, more a gradual buildup."

Geelong have lost just once this year, to seventh-placed Collingwood, and on Saturday night face a Sydney outfit desperate to cling to fourth spot after a very ordinary last six weeks.

The Swans can kiss the finals double chance goodbye if they fall over at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night and are up against a Geelong side that won't be resting on their laurels.

"It could be a preview for a qualifying final in a month's time," Harley said.

"It's a showpiece game for the AFL and we won't be taking our foot off the accelerator at all.

"We are on a hot streak and you've got to cash your cheques when they're due."

Sydney's dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes kicked eight goals in last week's heart-stopping win over Fremantle and looms as the key for the Swans.

Harley said Geelong would decide Goodes' opponent at a team meeting but felt the task would be shared.

"This year, and in footy in general, there doesn't seem to be those one-on-one matchups there used to be in the past," Harley said.

"It's very much a rotation thing and Goodesy is certainly one of those players who could be rotated through because he's a threat and there's plenty of homework to be done on him."

While Saturday's match means little to Geelong's season, Harley eagerly recalled the 2005 SCG preliminary final which Sydney `stole' in the dying seconds.

"It was one of the most memorable games I've ever played in," said Harley.

"Although we lost it was just a cracker.

"I saw the ball sail over my head as Nick Davis kicked the (winning) goal. It was gut-wrenching. I was eight metres from Nick and two metres from the goal line."

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