Cats will come at us hard, says Lyon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats will come at us hard, says Lyon

By Melissa Woods 03/07/2009 04:31:59 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon is expecting Geelong to try to stamp their authority on his side, as their major challenger to the AFL crown.

The two unbeaten teams meet in a mouth-watering encounter at a sold-out Etihad Stadium on Sunday, which Lyon predicts will be a brutal affair.

It will be the first time in the 113-year history of the VFL/AFL that two unbeaten teams have met this late in a season.

"I think we have all noticed that anyone on the rise, they like to stamp their authority and be physical," Lyon said of the Cats.

"If you want to be the best in the AFL, you've got to cope with a lot of things and this is a new challenge for our group.

"It's going to really challenge us and test us and we're going to find out a fair bit about ourselves."

Despite Geelong losing last year's grand final to Hawthorn, Lyon said the Cats were clearly the benchmark side of the competition - something his team obviously aspired to be.

Geelong have won 55 of their past 58 games.

"Clearly they've set a standard of excellence and our goal is to be excellent and a great team ourselves," he said.

"We're not there yet but taken some significant steps to bridge that gap."

Recruited for his extensive knowledge of Geelong, former Cats midfielder and now assistant coach Leigh Tudor has been a vital resource for St Kilda this week.

Lyon said he had picked Tudor's brains on how to best play and beat the Cats.

"We've got Leigh Tudor here who's given us good insight into their mindset and obviously they want to stamp their challenges, it's going to be very physical," he said.

"He's given us an insight into how they like to move the ball and structure up and what they don't like so we'll absorb some of that and implement some of it.

"But at the end of the day it is about our style and getting first hands on the footy."

While the victorious side on Sunday kept their unbeaten record intact and could claim bragging rights, Lyon said competition points were the most important outcome.

"We're keen to bank another four points, because the home-and-away journey's about getting enough points to secure top eight, top four and then hopefully top two," he said.

"This is another step along that pathway."

Geelong coach Mark Thompson spoke during the build-up about the hostility between the two sides, saying the they "didn't like each other too much".

Lyon didn't believe there was any extra feeling between the clubs, although he felt he had good reason if there was.

"The bottom line is they've beaten us by 50 points the last three times, that makes me quite hostile," he joked.

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