Thompson again calls on Cats to fire up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thompson again calls on Cats to fire up

11/08/2009 07:12:10 PM Comments (0)

Geelong coach Mark Thompson continues to publicly challenge his misfiring AFL team, saying it would be a "shame" not to win another premiership.

Only six weeks ago, there was talk of whether the Cats or St Kilda could achieve a perfect season.

But the Saints beat Geelong by a goal in their round-14 epic and the Cats have now lost three of their last six matches.

There were particularly-worrying signs in Friday night's upset loss to Carlton that Geelong are in big trouble less than a month before the finals.

At Saturday night's club 150th birthday celebrations, Thompson made an emotional speech where he urged this team to follow up their 2007 premiership with another flag, rather than "fade out".

Thompson said there had also been some blunt comments in the team review after the Carlton game.

"It would be a shame for this group not to be more successful than they are," he said.

"The good thing about this group and the way we operate here at Geelong is we're not afraid to have the hard conversations.

"They appreciate the whole club isn't going that well and they need to improve.

"We haven't forgotten what it's like to be in this situation, our boys have a lot of character and it still might be the perfect season."

Thompson has also dismissed comparisons to Essendon in 2001.

The Bombers had lost only one game on the way to the 2000 premiership, but rivals were obviously targeting them as the league's dominant side.

Injuries and "battle fatigue" proved crucial as Brisbane beat them in the 2001 grand final.

"That's what some people are saying, but I still think we have an enormous amount of talent - more talent than the Essendon side in 2001," Thompson said.

"We're in a better shape than the Essendon side in 2001, because we've managed our players extremely well and we'd be not one bit surprised if in the next couple of weeks, we just play some sensational football."

Thompson said the Cats would regain key defenders Matthew Scarlett and Harry Taylor for Saturday night's match against Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

But Darren Milburn and David Wojcinski will miss with ankle injuries and Max Rooke and Mathew Stokes are yet to prove their fitness.

Thompson said the club has also received assurances that the ANZ Stadium surface will be softer than when Geelong played Sydney there a year ago.

"It was like concrete and we sustained a few injuries from it," he said.

"We've had a good look at the ground and they tell us it's in good condition.

"We're going up there in a really positive frame of mind to play the best footy we can."

Thompson said ruckmen Brad Ottens and Mark Blake were impressing with their VFL form as they try to break back into the seniors.

Ottens is regaining match fitness after a long injury layoff and Blake was dropped because of poor form.

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