GEELONG coach Chris Scott acknowledges the Cats’ inconsistency was a factor in his side’s two-point loss to Carlton last week, but says the quality of the opposition – and the rest of the competition – should not be discounted.
Speaking to media outside GMHBA Stadium this morning, Scott said the Cats were “really off” against the Blues – who they trailed by 42 points in the third term before nearly stealing the game in the final quarter – “but that’s not to discredit Carlton”.
“Whenever you play poorly, there’s always a component of the opposition forcing you to play that way.
“We were really disappointed in some of our execution, and I think it’s a little superficial to always go to intent. It implies that If we try, we win, and if we don’t, we lose, and it’s obviously more complicated and sophisticated than that.
“Carlton are a pretty good team, and they played that way.”
He said the unexpected loss was “not a new thing for us” and referenced the 2019 season, where the Cats won 10 of their first 11 games but then alternated between wins and losses for the rest of the year, including during the finals.
“We had a good start to the season, got some momentum, and since the midway point of last year we’ve been very good in parts and very poor in parts, which by definition means you’re an inconsistent team and a mediocre one.
“That’s the reality for us and that’s what we’re working really hard to confront – I’m confident we’ve confronted it; now how we respond to it is the unanswered question.
“This is going to have to be worked on for a long period of time.”
Scott said the Round 3 loss to the Blues reflected the difficulty of the AFL competition.
“I’d much prefer it wasn’t an even competition, and we could just have great confidence around what we’re going to get each week.
“It (the loss) is mainly us, but it’s also a function of the teams that you play are very, very competent, well-coached and well-organised. I feel I say it a lot, and I’m not sure how much it’s believed, but if you are a bit off, you’ve got to expect that you’ll probably lose.”
On Sunday, the Cats travel to the MCG to play Melbourne, whose Round 3 game against Essendon was postponed after Bombers player Conor McKenna tested positive for COVID-19. Scott said there would be more impacts from the coronavirus to come.
“It’s hard to know whether it helps or hurts them (the Demons). We’re all going to be wondering this season; there’s going to be those questions about ‘What does this mean?”… they got some match practice on the MCG, so I don’t think they’re at a huge disadvantage.
“I suspect last year will be a bit of an outlier for them, we just expect they’ll be a really good team and a real challenge for us, so we’ll be steeled.”
He said many of Geelong’s rising stars were impressive in last week’s scratch match, including James Parsons, Lachie Fogarty, Charlie Constable, Jordan Clark, and Jake Kolodjashnij.
“We’re not short on guys in that second tier pushing their way up, so that’s a good sign.”
Nakia Cocktoo also played limited minutes after returning from injury. Scott said the 23-year-old was “right at the start of a long journey to AFL selection, but he got through it, which is the important thing”.
New Cats recruit Jack Steven made his debut on Saturday after recovering from a stab injury. In response to a question, Scott said he was unaware of and uninterested in commentary that the Cats rushed Steven into a game against presumably easy opposition, and called it “wrong in the extreme”.
“Honestly, hand on heart, I haven’t heard it (the commentary), and I don’t care.
“I’m 100 per cent confident our people internally know a lot more than anyone from the outside might be commenting from the outside, with all due respect – it’s impossible for you (the media) to know what we know. It didn’t work out for us (selecting Steven) on the weekend, but it wasn’t due to a lack of respect for the opposition or thoroughness in our decision-making process.
“I’m not sure we can keep changing our minds week on week about who’s a good team and who’s not, and who deserves to win – it’s an even competition. I think it’s great for the fans.”