Cats coach's faith not dulled by defeat - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats coach's faith not dulled by defeat

By Sam Lienert 10/08/2010 05:41:06 PM Comments (0)

Geelong coach Mark Thompson has questioned the memories of those doubting the Cats' AFL premiership credentials after Saturday night's loss to Collingwood.

The Magpies look headed for the minor premiership and are flag favourites after their 22-point victory, with Thompson admitting Collingwood showed up the Cats in their own areas of strength.

But he warned against reading much into the result, noting Geelong also had a down patch late in last year's home and away season before rebounding to claim the premiership.

"I remember this time last year, we probably shouldn't look back too much, but it was round 21 when teams were queueing up to play Geelong," Thompson said.

"It's round 20 this week, so it's not that dissimilar."

The Cats lost to the Western Bulldogs in round 21 last season, but downed them just 16 days later in a qualifying final.

The coach said the Cats again aimed to peak for finals, with winning currently sitting alongside aims such as building the fitness of players recently returned from injury.

"We've known as a club probably for four or five weeks that we're going to end up in the top four, nothing changes, it doesn't really matter if you end up one, two, three or four really, you're going to have to play a good side week one of the finals," Thompson said.

"The most important thing for us is to do the best work we possibly can to hit the first final in sensational form."

He said a mid-season purple patch, when they won seven straight games by an average of 63 points, including a 36-point victory over Collingwood, showed what they could do when on song.

"Unfortunately you don't play your best footy and then people forget what they wrote, or what they were thinking, six weeks previous," he said.

Thompson said some selection questions surrounded the ruck and key forward spots ahead of the finals.

Ruckman Brad Ottens and forward Cameron Mooney are certainties, if fit, but tall forwards Tom Hawkins and James Podsiadly and back-up ruckman Mark Blake are seemingly vying for two spots.

"Blakey's really got to do some stuff to get himself back in the team and Hawk's got to do some things to keep himself in the team, so does Podsy, it's a work in progress."

Thompson said it was very unlikely all five could play together.

He hinted Blake, left out for the past two rounds after playing the first 17, was likely to return.

"He's just had to get back to doing a few things differently to what he was and if he does that he'll be back in the side, no question," Thompson said.

That puts pressure on Hawkins, who the coach said "struggled" against the Magpies, and Podsiadly, who Thompson said appeared to be distracted by the internal competition.

"(Podsiadly) should just get back to enjoying every game of football he ever gets the chance to play and I think if he does that he'll be fine."

The Cats will lose key defender Harry Taylor to an AC joint injury for Saturday night's clash with the Western Bulldogs, with running defender David Wojcinski (Achilles) set to replace him.

Rugged forward Max Rooke could make his long-awaited return through the VFL this weekend, provided he performs strongly at training on Wednesday, after a recent trip to the United States for treatment of a chronic knee injury.

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