Cats' AFL style faces test against Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats' AFL style faces test against Eagles

By Sam Lienert 20/09/2011 05:22:45 PM Comments (0)

Geelong will find out in Saturday's AFL preliminary final against West Coast whether a game plan which failed them a year ago has changed enough.

Coach Chris Scott said it was clear to the Cats from their emphatic loss to Collingwood in their preliminary final last season that their playing style could not combat modern defensive structures.

Scott, who took the reins a month later, has guided an evolution of that style, with their progress reinforced by two wins over the Magpies this season.

Countering those successes was a round-16 loss to the Eagles, which Scott called a failed test given the similarities between West Coast's defensive press and that of Collingwood.

But Scott said the Eagles loss only confirmed what the Cats knew, that their changes of method were a work in progress ahead of more important clashes, such as the one to come on Saturday.

"We were aware that modern defensive systems meant we needed to change a little bit about the way we played, even going back as far as November," Scott told reporters on Tuesday.

"Last time we played Collingwood in a final, we knew that some things had to change.

"West Coast and Collingwood, and St Kilda, Hawthorn and Carlton for that matter, are excellent exponents of that method.

"We've been consistently working on a way to improve against it, so that (round 16 loss to West Coast) was another really good test that I thought we failed in the first half.

"But it wasn't a watershed moment."

Scott said the first half of that match, during which the Cats trailed by as many as 40 points, was his side's worst of the year.

But he believed Geelong's continued improvement since had them much better prepared for the preliminary final rematch.

"We're extremely confident we're playing differently, so we haven't referred back to that one too much.

"We are aware of West Coast's strengths and they were well and truly on show in that first half.

"But right through the season we've been evolving the way we play.

"We still don't think we're quite there yet, but we're confident that our best footy is of a high enough standard to really compete at the pointy end of the season ... I reckon round 16's ancient history."

Scott expected two-time best and fairest Joel Corey to return against the Eagles from a groin injury that has sidelined him since round 21, although Wednesday's training session will be crucial.

"We're really confident, but we won't know for sure until tomorrow," he said.

Scott said the Cats were glad they had the weekend off, but played down the significance of West Coast coming off a bruising three-point semi-final win over Carlton.

"You could argue that the match practice was good for them," he said.

"One thing that is certain is the first 10-15 minutes of this weekend's game is going to be really fierce and we've got to make sure we're ready for it."

Also on Tuesday, the AFL announced the Geelong-West Coast preliminary final would join Friday night's Collingwood-Hawthorn clash as a live telecast.

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