Ling to help Cats settle nerves - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ling to help Cats settle nerves

By Adam Cooper 25/09/2008 05:55:59 PM Comments (0)

Geelong vice-captain Cameron Ling will play a key role in settling any last-minute nerves among the Cats before the AFL grand final against Hawthorn at the MCG.

Where some have frozen on the biggest stage in previous years, there's little chance of the unflappable redhead finding the occasion too great as the Cats seek back-to-back flags.

Ling said football games did not make him nervous - no matter their importance - but acknowledged a handful of Geelong players could encounter butterflies, especially the four Cats playing their first grand final - Harry Taylor, Tom Lonergan, Travis Varcoe and Mark Blake.

"A few of the guys are probably feeling it a little bit, but we've got some senior guys now who have been through the process of a grand final week and are probably helping those guys along," he said.

"We've got a few first-timers and they'll be helped along ... as a group we now know what to expect.

"We try to say we go through the exact same process but there are a few different things along the way and you've just got to relax and go with the flow a bit."

Ling said last year's experience, when Geelong handled the burden of expectation in the lead-up and crushed Port Adelaide in the grand final, would hold the team in good stead this time.

"We know what goes on throughout the week and we can relax a little bit more," he said.

"But Hawthorn are a professional bunch of guys, I don't think they'll have too many dramas with it.

"There'll be a few nervous guys in their team as there will be in our team.

"Hopefully some of our senior guys who don't feel the nerves quite as much can settle those guys down."

Ling, likely to be given a key role tagging one of Hawthorn's best onballers, expected a physical opening, but nothing out of the ordinary.

"It'll be good, (lay) a couple of tackles and ... put your head over the ball and win some contested ball," he said.

The physical style of both the Cats and Hawks has prompted a wave of nostalgia over the epic grand final staged between the sides 19 years ago, and also prompted predictions this game would be just as brutal.

But Ling said that match was history and irrelevant.

"I'm not that good at maths, but `89 was a long, long time ago," he said.

"I don't think there's any real similarities, certainly no one from either group was in that one.

"I know the media is loving the fact that that was a great grand final, but this is a completely different game ... you can't really take a form line out of the `89 grand final for how we prepare for Hawthorn. That's not in our minds at all."

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