Geelong set for Collingwood showdown - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Geelong set for Collingwood showdown

By Laine Clark 16/05/2010 12:26:05 PM Comments (0)

Blockbuster? What blockbuster?

Either Mark Thompson has a great poker face or the Geelong coach is the only one in Victoria not buzzing with excitement ahead of what looms as a potential AFL grand final preview on Friday night.

The stage is set for one of the 2010 season's great showdowns - ladder leaders Collingwood taking on Thompson's AFL defending premiers at the game's spiritual home, the MCG.

And following a hot and cold season start, Thompson claimed his team were "starting to crank it up" after thrashing the Brisbane Lions by 81 points on Saturday night to move within striking distance of Collingwood (7-1 record) at 6-2.

Yet Thompson went out of his way not to talk up their highly anticipated clash with the early season benchmarks.

"We'll be involved with the build-up, we understand who we are playing and how great it is to have Geelong and Collingwood on a Friday night at the `G - two very good teams in good form," Thompson said.

"But to us it's not the blockbuster.

"It's about getting down to the week's work and doing whatever we can to outsmart them and out-play them, and in that regard, the blockbuster doesn't mean that much to us."

Indeed Collingwood was an awkward topic for Thompson when inevitably queried about them following their domination of the wounded Lions at the Gabba.

Asked what had impressed him about Collingwood, Thompson said: "I'm not sure, they're playing well as a team?

"I don't know, I don't want to talk too much about Collingwood."

But try as Thompson might, there will be no hosing down the hype ahead of Friday night's blockbuster - especially after Geelong hit their stride against the hapless Lions.

Thompson inadvertently stoked anticipation when he raved about the Cats' Gabba demolition.

After looking out of sorts in the first five weeks in which they suffered two losses, Thompson rated their last three games as "terrific".

"We've got to this stage where we've got through the hard part of the season, which is the start," he said.

"We were a little bit underdone and now we're starting to crank it up a little bit and play some solid football."

Thompson dipped his hat to Paul Chapman (34 disposals), Corey Enright (29), Harry Taylor (16), Tom Lonergan (18) and Tom Hawkins (four goals) following the Gabba victory.

But the win was inspired by "freak" Steve Johnson's bag of six goals - and Thompson was not taking any credit.

"Steve Johnson coaches himself," Thompson said.

"He doesn't need much coaching from me. He's a freak - he played terrific (on Saturday night)."

Adding to Geelong's already impressive firepower, late blooming forward James Podsiadly has been confirmed as a certain starter against Collingwood after being rested from the Gabba clash due to "general soreness".

James Kelly was a late withdrawal due to a bruised calf, but should also regain his place in the side.

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