Cats bosses already eyeing 2009 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats bosses already eyeing 2009

By Sam Lienert 28/09/2008 05:38:47 PM Comments (0)

Geelong officials have described the AFL grand final loss to Hawthorn as an "aberration" and a "blip" and don't believe major change is needed to return the club to the premiership dais in 2009.

President Frank Costa said he was left "flat and empty" by the shock loss to Hawthorn, after the Cats had won 42 of their previous 44 games, including a record win over Port Adelaide in last year's grand final.

Costa, chief executive Brian Cook and coach Mark Thompson all vowed the club would use the disappointment to launch an even more committed assault on next year's flag.

"The aberration yesterday I can't understand it, because we were entitled to feel quietly confident, we were entitled to be the favourites," Costa told reporters at Skilled Stadium, where about 1,500 supporters gathered to commiserate with the team.

"We got into the forward 50 62 times compared to 43, we failed to capitalise, you've got to give real credit to Hawthorn because they capitalised on their forward entries very, very well.

"They kicked goals from angles, they kicked goals from distances and we didn't, so therefore what really counts, the one stat that matters is the scoreboard and we missed out on that one.

"But we shouldn't feel disheartened by that from the point of view of 2009.

"... When I look back on what happened yesterday and why it happened and what we need to do to rejig ourselves and get ourselves focussed, I know we've got all the ammunition here ready to do that."

Likewise, Cook said the Cats "blew it" in this year's grand final but still had the ingredients to push for the flag next year.

He said all key officials, coaching staff and players were contracted for 2009, including the Cats' two oldest players, skipper Tom Harley (30) and fellow defender Darren Milburn (31).

"There's no doubt you've got to tweak with the model and the coaches will do that and the business people will do that, but you wouldn't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater," Cook said.

He said there was no need for an overhaul of the playing list, with the Cats instead looking at expanding their coaching staff to help fast-track the development of the younger players already in the squad.

"There's got to be a heavy emphasis now ... on the development area of the kids, the bottom 15 players," Cook said.

"More one-on-one, setting up structures, whether you call it an academy or an institute, just (employing) more coaches looking at that level."

Cook said it would be a disappointment if the Cats were not able to win a second premiership with the current group of players.

He also revealed the loss wiped about $1 million off the club's forecast profit.

Despite that setback, they were still set to net about $1.4 million this season - their ninth consecutive profit - and remained on track to achieve their ambition of becoming a "great" club on and off-field.

"The next five years I think will determine whether we become a great club, whether we continue to play in grand finals and win premierships and have a bigger stadium and television ratings, radio ratings, whatever it might be," Cook said.

"We're heading in the right direction and this is a blip - a major blip - in our plan, but we'll come back, there's no issue there, we'll definitely come back next year."

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