Scott’s Cats chasing ‘benchmark’ Richmond
By Shayne Hope
Geelong coach Chris Scott says there is no major secret to beating Richmond but the key lies in the execution of plans against the AFL’s “benchmark” side.
As they have with most of their opponents, the dominant Tigers have had the wood on the Cats in recent years, winning six of their past seven encounters.
That run includes last year’s grand final, with the two teams set to meet on Friday night for the first time since that historic Gabba showdown.
Richmond will welcome back superstar Dustin Martin from concussion but have added captain Trent Cotchin (hamstring) to an injury list that includes premiership stars Dylan Grimes, Kane Lambert and Dion Prestia.
Geelong’s ability to negate the Tigers’ pressure and surge game style will be crucial at the MCG after the premiers flexed their best attributes in a second-half mauling of the previously unbeaten Western Bulldogs in round seven.
“The theory around trying to play Richmond is well understood; it’s the execution that’s much, much harder,” Scott said on Wednesday.
“They’re clearly still the benchmark, even with some important players out, and they’ve been able to show that their system stands up.
“That’s probably been their mantra for a little while.
“They would like Martin in a certain position or Prestia or Cotchin, but other guys can come in and fulfill those roles, if not quite as well then well enough to really trouble the opposition.”
Despite their recent losses to Richmond, intersected by a 67-point win at the MCG in mid-2019, Scott doesn’t believe Geelong have been far off the pace.
“Most times we’ve played them we’ve had a really good look,” he said.
“There are some parts that we look at and, when we get the game on our terms, the next part is how do we make sure we finish the job.
“That’s so easy to say and the theories are easy.
“The planning is actually relatively easy against Richmond and it tends to be against the best sides because their exposed form for a long period of time is so clear.”
Geelong face a difficult task finding the right match-up for Martin, with tagger Mark O’Connor (hamstring) out of action and Jake Kolodjashnij (knee) not quite fit to return.
Veteran Shaun Higgins has overcome thumb and hamstring injuries and looms as a possible inclusion for small forward Gryan Miers (fractured leg).
The Cats will wear black armbands in Friday night’s match in honour of club legend Frank Costa, who died last Sunday.