Cats survive scare from Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats survive scare from Eagles

By Justin Chadwick 07/06/2009 09:32:10 PM Comments (0)

Geelong's players will be encouraged to let their hair down during the mid-season break after coach Mark Thompson admitted his charges struggled to concentrate during the club's uninspiring 22-point AFL win over West Coast at Subiaco Oval.

The Cats destroyed West Coast to the tune of 135 and 99 points in their two meetings last year and there was a touch of deja vu on Sunday as the visitors shot out to a 31-0 lead inside 14 minutes.

But led by the brilliance of Dean Cox (30 possessions, 32 hit-outs, one goal) and a determined defence, the Eagles threatened to notch the upset of the season when they closed the margin back to three points early in the third quarter.

Gary Ablett (43 possessions, two goals) and Paul Chapman (three goals) ensured there would be no such boilover but Geelong were hardly convincing in what was their 11th straight win of the season.

The Cats don't play again until June 21, when they tackle Fremantle in Perth and Thompson felt the team had already switched into holiday mode before the game against West Coast.

"I think it was more about getting through this game so the boys could go on holidays to be honest," a relieved Thompson said after the 15.9 (99) to 11.11 (77) win.

"It's always a battle but we've come through and won.

"We are going to go back to Geelong for two days, recover the boys and send them away (for holidays).

"And then we are going to focus right on Fremantle and try to kick their butts.

"I look forward to the next half of the year.

"We've got a break, and we are going to really utilise that break to freshen up.

"We are going to come back and work on a few things we need to work on coming home in the latter half of the season."

West Coast coach John Worsfold admitted the alarm bells were "pretty loud" following the Cats' barnstorming start, which saw them kick five unanswered goals in the blink of an eye.

"I thought it was that bloke that rings the bell whenever Peter Bell gets a kick," Worsfold quipped.

"In a lot of ways the players' resolve to not get flustered by the bad start and to keep taking it up to Geelong is where we want to maintain our intensity."

Thompson said he expected Max Rooke (head), Harry Taylor (ankle), Joel Corey (foot) and skipper Tom Harley (hamstring) to return for the clash with Fremantle, while ruckman Brad Ottens is a chance to play the week after against Port Adelaide.

West Coast tackle Richmond at Etihad Stadium next Saturday in what will be Ben Cousins' first match against his former club.

"Certainly Cuz is not a focus but going to Etihad Stadium and maintaining our intensity of performance is our total focus," Worsfold said.

"We've got some good challenges in the Richmond side and Ben's certainly one of those that players will get the opportunity to match up on him and test themselves out."

The Eagles could enter the match without Andrew Embley, who injured his ankle against the Cats.

But Daniel Kerr will return after serving his one-week suspension and David Wirrpanda is expected to be fit after his hamstring setback.

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