'Cat empire' sounds cool to Thompson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Cat empire' sounds cool to Thompson

By Adam Cooper 15/09/2008 07:17:33 PM Comments (0)

Geelong coach Mark Thompson is focused on creating a dynasty at the AFL club, but says it's premature to bestow greatness on it yet.

Thompson admitted building an era of success at Geelong had been his plan since 1999, when he joined the club.

After steering the Cats to last year's drought-breaking premiership and dropping only one game in 2008, Thompson appears well on his way to taking Geelong to their greatest run of success since the 1960s, when they reached eight successive finals series.

They have won 41 of their previous 43 games and will enter Friday night's preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs a hot favourite after last weekend off.

But Thompson said any plaudits that claimed his side as one of the greats were premature.

"All we've done is won 21 games and one final," he said.

"We probably don't deserve too much at the moment.

"If we get over this week it would be great, then we get an opportunity to play in a grand final.

"When that's all finished and done and we're there at the end and (have) won, you can say what you like. But right now you can't say too much at all."

Thompson acknowledged not winning this year's premiership would be perceived publicly as a failure, similar to Essendon's reign of dominance from 1999-2001 which gleaned just the one flag, in 2000.

To build on last year's triumph, Thompson has implored his players to lead the way, to "play football the right way and help every person that comes into this club learn the Geelong way".

He said he was focused on building on Geelong's grand final win over Port Adelaide in 2007 and the near-faultless 2008 campaign.

"We were absolutely thrilled at what we did last year, winning a premiership and breaking that long drought (since 1963)," Thompson said.

"But more than one year, we've got to build some long-term successful traits and a culture around this place, because we want Geelong to be right up there and a really strong club."

Thompson said not everything was perfectly-positioned at this stage of the season, as the club did not have a clean sheet on the injury front.

Half-forward Paul Chapman will on Tuesday attempt to convince coaching staff he has completely recovered from his latest hamstring problem, while defender Matthew Egan (foot) and midfielder Brent Prismall (knee) will not play again this season.

But the experience of getting through last year's preliminary final had the Cats well-placed this time around.

Thompson said Geelong were already in "game mode" ahead of Friday night's clash, whereas this time last year the focus was still on freshening the players after the week off.

The Cats adjusted their training schedule last week and over the weekend after considering what they did at the same point in 2007.

Geelong were nearly pipped by Collingwood's pressure in last year's preliminary final despite entering that game a hot favourite.

"Looking back we probably trained a little bit too light last year, we were all about recovery," Thompson said.

"This time around we've recovered them post-game, but we've actually lifted the intensity a bit more than we did last year.

"We know that this time last year going into a preliminary final there was a lot of unanswered questions.

"Sure there's a lot of unanswered questions now, but we feel that we've been and lived through that experience and we're better for it - that's the only advantage we have coming into this week."

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