Crunch 2015 loss on the minds of Geelong

Geelong won’t be lacking in motivation on Saturday, when they face the AFL side that ended their finals hopes in 2015.

Collingwood cruised to a 48-point win over the Cats in round 22 last year, ensuring Chris Scott’s side would not feature in finals for the first time in nine years.

The fortune of the two teams since could hardly have been more contrasting.

Magpies coach Nathan Buckley was under immense pressure prior to a 78-point thumping of Brisbane at the Gabba, which left his side in 12th place on the ladder with a 3-5 record.

Second-placed Geelong are premiership favourites, riding high after beating Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.

But memories of last year’s MCG meeting are still fresh in the mind of players, according to young gun Cameron Guthrie.

“We actually talked about that this morning. Just the fact that finals were on the line for us at that stage,” Guthrie said on Wednesday.

“They came out and beat us by nine goals.

“So we’re hoping to get one back on them and have a win.”

Guthrie added that his side were wary of the wounded Magpies, who could regain defender Ben Reid from a shoulder injury.

“They seem to rise to the challenge in big games against good opposition,” he said.

“They had a good win last week.”

Guthrie starred against the Crows in round eight, tallying a game-high 36 disposals to continue a bright start to the season.

The 23-year-old suggested there was no secret behind his recent form, attributing it to hard work, better fitness and six years in the system.

Guthrie believed the arrival of off-season recruits Patrick Dangerfield and Zac Smith was also helping all of Geelong’s midfielders enormously.

“Danger probably takes the best defensive player and he draws so much attention,” he said.

“But don’t underestimate the value of Zac Smith palming the ball down to us, and Rhys (Stanley) is really helping with that as well.

“(Scott said when Dangerfield arrived that) he’s going to come in and help us become better players, I think that’s the way it’s gone down.”

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