Cats lick wounds after first AFL loss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats lick wounds after first AFL loss

Greg Buckle 03/07/2011 12:50:45 PM Comments (0)

Geelong's first loss for the AFL season came with the added bitter pill of seeing former Cats mentor Mark Thompson get the credit for it.

Essendon coach James Hird showered Thompson with praise on Saturday night after the Bombers triumphed in a huge shock 18.7 (115) to Geelong's 16.15 (111).

Thompson left the Cats in acrimonious circumstances at the end of 2010 after an 11-year reign that included two premierships and the former Essendon skipper is now an assistant to Hird.

Saturday night's game was the first meeting between the two sides since Thompson left Geelong claiming "burnout" with 12 months remaining on his contract.

Hird praised the huge influence of Thompson and Brendan McCartney, a former assistant to Thompson at Geelong who has joined the coaching staff at Windy Hill.

The Cats are the top side in the competition partly through the legacy of that pair, and Essendon are now reaping the benefits of their tutelage, Hird added.

"I'm not taking anything away from Chris Scott - he's been a fantastic coach," Hird said of Scott's 13-1 record.

"But if you look at the way those guys play, it's just amazing the way the Geelong players play.

"'Bomber' and 'Macca' should get a lot more credit than probably what they're getting for how they've developed this team over the last five years, and how good Geelong is.

"There was a little bit of Geelong in us tonight, in the way that they've been coached and you've got to say it's a good thing because they're a great side and we're hoping to be a good side."

Scott commented that it was a "good sign for them" if the Bombers feel they are starting to play like the Cats.

"It's a question he (Hird) should answer. I'm not privy to what went on behind closed doors there," Scott said.

Scott admitted Essendon's intensity around the ball early in the match was crucial.

"After that we struggled to get back in the game," Scott said.

"But I think all Geelong supporters would love the way our players just fight the game out, even when the game's seemingly lost."

Scott says the challenge of playing West Coast in Perth has come at the right time for the Cats, who have already sent onballers Travis Varcoe and Joel Corey, both rested against Essendon, to Perth.

The Cats are hoping second-gamer Mitch Brown's latest shoulder injury is only short-term.

The loss of the young tall forward could open the door for Tom Hawkins or Cam Mooney to return, particularly with James Podsiadly held goal-less against Essendon.

Geelong have asked North Melbourne great Wayne Carey to mentor Hawkins.

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