Coach hails Cats as they top AFL ladder - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coach hails Cats as they top AFL ladder

By Sam Lienert and Daniel Brettig 10/06/2007 07:25:08 PM Comments (0)

Geelong soared to the top of the AFL ladder with a victory coach Mark Thompson described as "finals-like" and evidence that his side could win the hard way.

Thompson said the grinding 9.15 (69) to 9.8 (62) win over Adelaide at AAMI Stadium - Geelong's sixth in a row - brought out some characteristics of his side that had not been as obvious in their bigger wins.

The Cats' score was their lowest of the season, but being able to beat a hardened finalist that was intent on playing a defensive, hard-tackling style delighted the Geelong coach.

"I'm rather pleased at not only the victory but also the way we toughed it out and hung in there," Thompson said.

"It was really encouraging that we stood up for the whole time in the game.

"I think it's unhealthy where if you have big victories with big starts it doesn't really test your game style and your persistence.

"So to come back and play a game like this, where it was 16 points margin in it all day, the pressure was on from start to finish, that's what we really needed."

The win continued Geelong's transformation into a premiership contender from a side that looked shaky when they won only two games in the first five rounds.

But a 157-belting of Richmond in round six started their current unbeaten run.

Their scalps since have included three of last season's top four sides - West Coast, Fremantle and now Adelaide - to cast aside their reputation as "flat-track bullies".

Significantly, Sunday's win was also their second at AAMI Stadium in the past three rounds, a notable statistic given they have been a poor travelling side in recent seasons.

"History tells you if you can win interstate against good sides that you are a good side, so that's what they should get out of it," Thompson said.

He said the fiercely fought, see-sawing match, against a Crows side that was hampered by several injuries during the game, had a finals intensity about it.

"A lot of times you only see it from your perspective, but for our boys it was finals-like because they were prepared to do anything they could to help Geelong win the ball and win the game," he said.

"I'm very proud of the guys today."

In Sunday's other games, St Kilda fell to 14th spot with their fourth straight loss, a dismal 11.14 (80) to 8.10 (58) defeat at the hands of the Kangaroos at Telstra Dome.

It was the `Roos' seventh win in the past eight rounds and lifted them to sixth position on the ladder.

Despite concerns about the decline of Victorian clubs in the AFL, they now occupy five of the top six ladder positions, with second-placed West Coast the only non-Victorian club in that group.

Sydney and Adelaide round out the top eight.

Fremantle moved to 11th when they kept bottom-placed Richmond winless, coming back from a 26-point deficit to defeat the Tigers 18.15 (123) to 15.12 (102) at Subiaco.

Other winners so far this round include Essendon, who downed the Eagles in a thriller on Friday night to move into fifth spot.

The Swans beat Sydney at the MCG, while the Western Bulldogs downed Brisbane at the Gabba and Carlton cruised past Port Adelaide at Telstra Dome.

The round concludes on Monday, with fourth-placed Collingwood taking on 15th-placed Melbourne in the Queen's Birthday clash at the MCG.

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