Cats too slow to evolve: Thompson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats too slow to evolve: Thompson

By Sam Lienert 18/09/2010 12:36:29 PM Comments (0)

Geelong coach Mark Thompson says the Cats have paid the price for failing to adapt fast enough to the changing nature of AFL football.

But he has refused to acknowledge the club's era of success is over.

Thompson said the Geelong coaching staff had tried to instil in the players in the off-season that the frenetic, handball-based style that had carried them to two of the past three premierships would not cut it when it counted this year.

But the message did not sink in deeply enough and bad habits came back to haunt them in Saturday night's 18.12 (120) to 11.13 (79) preliminary final flogging from Collingwood.

As happened against the Magpies in round 19, the Cats' high-possession style floundered in the face of Collingwood's ferocious defensive press, Geelong having 79 more disposals but never getting into the contest.

Tellingly, they have lost two matches against each of the Magpies and St Kilda - who play a similar style - in the space of 12 weeks.

"We've got to go back and maybe change the way we play a bit. We probably knew that at the start of the year but we just haven't had the total buy-in from the playing group," Thompson said.

"The start of the year, over summer, we tried to drill into the players that we wanted to maybe kick the ball a bit more, it never worked, we maybe never coached it well enough.

"... Clearly against some of the teams that are going to play off in this year's grand final it's not successful, so we have to change."

Thompson said even as it became obvious the Cats' playing style was being cut apart by the Magpies on Friday night, the coaching staff were unable to get their message through.

"We try to handball our way through it, we've got habits, I think we have to be better than that," he said.

"We rarely go slow with the ball and (Friday night) we played on 100 per cent from marks and we were screaming for our boys just to slow it down, so we could regain our composure.

"The message just wasn't going anywhere, it didn't happen and we got smashed."

Despite the age of Geelong's list, the comprehensive nature of a considerably younger Collingwood's victory, and the possible exit of superstar Gary Ablett, Thompson was confident the Cats could rise again next year, aided by a youth injection.

"There'll be three, four, or five changes next year in our best team, there's no question that will happen next year," he said.

"Taylor Hunt, (Daniel) Menzel, Mitch Brown, we want to play (Nathan) Vardy, we've got young (Steven) Motlop there, they're going to play next year for sure."

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