Less pressure on Geelong, says Thompson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Less pressure on Geelong, says Thompson

By Guy Hand 13/09/2010 09:03:19 PM Comments (0)

Geelong coach Mark Thompson says his side is under less pressure than Collingwood, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs going into the pointy end of the AFL finals.

The Cats face Collingwood on Friday night in the most anticipated of 2010's finals so far - and most pundits' expected grand final before Geelong were surprisingly ambushed by St Kilda in week one.

But Thompson ramped up the pressure on the other three remaining teams going into preliminary final week, saying Geelong's experience in having recent premierships under the belt would serve them well.

"Of all the teams in the finals, I think we're in probably the best spot," Thompson said on Monday.

"We'd won a first premiership, we'd won a second so the pressure was off there as far as winning.

"And we'd also lost (a grand final and a preliminary final) so we've experienced everything in finals.

"The other teams that are left in it, none of them have won a premiership for a long, long time.

"And that is pressure."

Thompson likened the expectation the other three clubs were under to that facing the Cats in 2007 prior to their first flag win in 44 years.

"Before the 2007 series, there was a huge pressure to win it," Thompson said.

"We were probably the most dominant team in 2007, and there was a bigger gap then (to their rivals) - much bigger than in 2010.

"But I still felt enormous pressure ... everybody that worked here felt that pressure.

"They (Collingwood) are confident - they've got every right to be confident. They've had a good year.

"But we finished two points lower than them with a better percentage so we should be quite confident too.

"We've had a lot of finals experience, know exactly what's coming, and been quite successful in those finals games."

Thompson faces some pressure of his own ahead of Friday night's clash at the MCG - letting down one of his core players as he wrestles with a huge selection dilemma.

Running defender Andrew Mackie, a regular all season who was dropped for the Cats' huge semi-final win over Fremantle last weekend, now finds himself trying to get back into a winning side.

But his replacement Tom Lonergan has been guaranteed a place by Thompson after a good performance against the Dockers.

That means dual premiership player Mackie may have to rely on the misfortune of others to win back a place in the Cats' best 22 to take on the Pies as they attempt to make their fourth consecutive grand final.

Thompson said he was pleased to have players fighting for spots, though he did warn natural attrition may yet ensure he didn't have to make the tough call at the selection table.

"That's a great thing - I'd much rather it be that way," Thompson said of having selection pressure.

"It's not a bad situation to be in. It's a good situation.

"It's still very early in the week. We have got a few sore boys, and it's Monday - you never know what might happen."

Thompson is confident forward James Podsiadly, who had a minor knee problem arise in last weekend's match, was on track to play against the Pies.

Midfielder Paul Chapman, who picked up a minor cork in his leg, is also expected to play.

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