Harley backs Taylor to restrict Riewoldt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Harley backs Taylor to restrict Riewoldt

30/06/2009 07:48:51 PM Comments (0)

Geelong captain Tom Harley has backed fellow defender Harry Taylor to repeat last year's AFL qualifying final heroics against St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt.

In his first season, Taylor restricted the star key forward to only nine possessions and one goal as the Cats smashed St Kilda by 58 points.

Riewoldt is again in outstanding form this year and will be one of the keys in the much-anticipated clash between these two unbeaten teams on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

Harley said the qualifying final experience would be a big boost to Taylor, who has quickly become one of Geelong's mainstays in defence.

The Cats skipper added their defence would probably share the load of minding top players such as Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke.

"It was massive - he was under the pump a fair bit, with people saying he wasn't up to it," Harley said of Taylor.

"He did a really good job for us and I'm sure he'll do another one again.

"It's good experience for him to play on Nick and Nick probably thinks it's good experience to have come up against Harry.

"We also know we've got to do a team job on all their good players, so ... I might spend a bit of time on Nick and `Scarlo' (Matthew Scarlett) might and Harry will, `Dasher' (Darren Milburn) as well."

That qualifying final was also notable for a verbal confrontation after the final siren between Scarlett and Saints legend Robert Harvey, who retired at the end of the season.

The incident highlights the intense rivalry between the two clubs, who have followed similar development paths over the last six years.

Despite the Scarlett-Harvey spat, Harley insists there is no bad blood between this year's two powerhouses.

"There's nothing out of the ordinary, but just the evolution of the two sides have gone (along) a pretty similar path," Harley said.

"We both went through the rebuilding phase at probably the same time and played finals in 2004-05.

"The rivalry is there ... nothing personal, just the development of the two clubs, I think."

The Cats skipper has also scotched some concerns his side is not in top form heading into Sunday's blockbuster.

While Geelong have won 55 of their last 58 games, they tailed off last Sunday against Port Adelaide.

"Our first and third quarters on Sunday ... were as well as we've played all year," Harley said.

"For whatever reasons we think we've identified, we had fluctuations in the second and fourth.

"As a team, you've got to get on with that and critique it as much as we can ... we're pretty confident we can iron that out."

David Johnson will miss the Saints game through injury, with David Wojcinski the main candidate to replace him.

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