Geelong captain defends Cats' character - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Geelong captain defends Cats' character

By Roger Vaughan 16/09/2008 07:14:40 PM Comments (0)

Geelong captain Tom Harley has strongly defended his AFL team's attitude, in the wake of controversial comments by Western Bulldogs opponent Jason Akermanis.

Harley rolled his eyes at Monday night's All-Australian dinner when asked about Akermanis, who has said the powerful Cats are becoming cocky.

Akermanis alleged Geelong full-back Matthew Scarlett had said late in the two sides' round-16 clash that the Cats were headed for back-to-back premierships.

Asked if the team was becoming arrogant, Harley replied: "I don't think so - I would be very surprised if the majority of footballers out there thought we were arrogant.

"One of our virtues, if you like, I think is humility and I will stand by that, for sure."

The Cats will start strong favourites when they play the Bulldogs in Friday night's preliminary final at the MCG.

This time last year, Collingwood nearly caused a massive upset when they lost their preliminary final to Geelong by only five points.

Harley is confident the Cats have learnt their lessons.

"We haven't looked too much at the actual game, but we certainly had a look at how we handled the week off," he said.

"We certainly made a few minor alterations and made sure we're on the ball the whole time.

"So if there was anything to be gained from the experience, it's been that - we've trained really sharply in the last few days.

"I wouldn't say (we have trained) harder - maybe with a bit more intensity.

"It was all new for us last year and we weren't quite sure how to handle it."

Harley paid credit to the 'Dogs, who rallied after a bad qualifying final against Hawthorn to out-run Sydney in Friday night's semi-final.

The round-16 match between Geelong and the Bulldogs was eagerly anticipated because the two sides had been at or near the top all season.

The Bulldogs stayed with the Cats until the last term, when the mean Geelong machine blew them away.

"They finished third for a reason and we saw that on Friday night against the Swans," Harley said.

"We had a great game against them earlier in the year, so we're experiencing a fantastic battle and it will be great for Victorian footy."

Harley was named vice-captain of the All-Australian team and was among seven Cats to make the side, reflecting their domination of this season.

It follows last year's nine selections and these are the two biggest representations for a club in the All-Australian team.

Harley is rapt with how his team is playing, but emphasises now there is no room for error, even for a team that has lost only once this season.

"We know we've had a fantastic season, but this is our first cut-throat game since the grand final last year," he said.

"So we want to make it count, there's no doubt about that.

"We won't be doing anything different, we'll be playing our normal styles, structures and people in the same positions."

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