Expected ugly conditions won't help Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Expected ugly conditions won't help Cats

31/03/2009 09:54:52 PM Comments (0)

Predicted ugly conditions for Saturday's AFL match against Richmond will most likely mean more focus on Geelong's goalkicking for at least another week.

Cats coach Mark Thompson says the demolition of the small grandstand in the south-west corner of Skilled Stadium has created a wind tunnel that has sometimes made for tough training conditions.

"It's been really unpredictable and hard to even train for us at times," he said.

"They're expecting cloud and wind, so it might be a really ugly game.

"A lot of the wind comes from that direction, that very pocket."

That will not help the Cats' shots on goal, which has become an ongoing talking point.

They kicked 11.23 in last year's grand final - arguably the single biggest reason they lost to Hawthorn.

Then came 18.19 in their NAB Cup grand final win over Collingwood and 15.21 as they beat the Hawks in round one.

Thompson says the grand final was one factor in the Cats' decision to introduce dedicating goalkicking sessions at training for this year.

"There's a little in that, yeah - when you reviewed the game (last year's grand final) and worked out if we had kicked better, would it have helped our chances more, you'd have to say `yes'," Thompson said.

"We haven't had a devoted goalkicking session ever and this year we have, it's probably the first time we've been coached at it.

"We're aiming not to get it right at round one, it's a process where hopefully there will be long-term benefits and it's not done overnight."

He added the players were at the point where they probably needed less instruction from the coaches, not more, and simply needed repeated shots at goal.

"Everyone has their routine and everyone is expected to stick to their routine," he said.

"Now, what we're going to do is let them go out and do it in their own time and not have a coach in their ear."

Last week, Thompson warned of an ambush from Hawthorn after the premiers' injury-interrupted pre-season.

Now, he is wary of Richmond after their dismal round-one performance against Carlton.

"You should always be wary of clubs that are under pressure," he said.

He is confident star defender Matthew Scarlett (ankle) will be fit, but added key forward Tom Hawkins was no certainty for a recall to the senior side.

Thompson also expressed relief that Steve Johnson (attempting to strike) was the only player to face the tribunal after the fierce clash against the Hawks.

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