Dogs not banking on luck to beat Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs not banking on luck to beat Cats

By Adam Cooper 18/09/2008 04:13:12 PM Comments (0)

Coach Rodney Eade insists the Western Bulldogs do not need luck to topple their Goliath, and expects a positive showing against Geelong in Friday night's AFL preliminary final at the MCG.

The Bulldogs will start rank outsiders to reach the grand final given the Cats' near-faultless campaign, but Eade drew on several factors to give his side a major chance of posting what would be the boilover of the 2008 season.

He said last week's win over Sydney in the semi-final had helped the Bulldogs regain the confidence they possessed over the first two thirds of the season.

Building on that vibe, he also reminded his players that they matched Geelong for a large slab of their clash two months ago, and that not all favourites prospered on the penultimate weekend.

The Bulldogs had won 13 games and lost only one (plus one draw) when they met the Cats at Skilled Stadium in round 16, but were blown away in a second-half blitz by the reigning premiers, who won by 61 points even without Gary Ablett and Cameron Ling.

Eade could be forgiven for discarding that result, but instead highlighted the first half, when the Bulldogs did well to be all-square at the long break.

That, and the round 17 encounter against Hawthorn, were the only games in the second half of the season where Geelong found themselves in a contest at half-time.

Geelong's average winning margin spanning round 12 to the qualifying final win over St Kilda was 68 points.

"They've blown teams away by half-time or halfway through the third quarter," Eade said.

"We didn't play very well that day, but to be in the contest at three-quarter time (when the Bulldogs trailed by 15 points), I think we can take some positives out."

The Bulldogs can also draw inspiration from the quirks of previous preliminary finals, most notably when Carlton pipped red-hot Essendon in 1999, and Collingwood came within a goal of downing an unbackable Geelong last year.

"History can help sell a story or paint a picture," Eade said.

"We're certainly not a group and I'm not a coach who worries about the underdog tag, that we have to do a Steve Bradbury or anything like that.

"It's more about what we've got control of and the way we go about it. The guys are looking forward to it."

Beating Geelong will require more than three quarters of commitment, as the Cats piled eight goals on in the final quarter in round 16 when the Bulldogs' pressure eased.

But Eade said the Bulldogs would give themselves a chance if they could match the intensity they produced against the Swans.

"I'm a great believer that skill level in a game is in direct correlation to your effort and your intensity," he said.

"If your mind is on the job there's a fair chance you can execute your skills. You don't lose your talent from week to week."

Geelong assistant coach Ken Hinkley said the Cats were more relaxed than this time last year, when the weight of 43 years without premiership success bore down.

But he said that composure should not be confused with complacency, as there was no chance the Cats would take a carefree attitude into the game.

"We've approached every game this year on a week-by-week basis and we're not going to do anything different this week," said Hinkley.

"We're going to approach the game knowing that there's a contest to be done and we have to go out there and do our best and be our ruthless best to make sure we come away with the win."

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