Geelong’s shellacking at the hands of Hawthorn last week isn’t a sign that the team’s demise is near, according to Fremantle coach Ross Lyon.
The Cats’ premiership hopes were given an early shake after they copped a 62-point loss to Hawthorn on Monday.
Geelong haven’t missed the finals since 2006, winning three flags since that time.
But with a host of their stars now retired, and several veterans nearing the end, pundits have predicted a slide down the table for the Cats this year.
Fremantle face Geelong at Simonds Stadium on Sunday, and Lyon is expecting the Cats of old to front up.
“I know they didn’t have a result they would have liked last week, and they copped a fair bit of flak,” Lyon said.
“But I think (that performance) was uncharacteristic. Hawthorn can do that to you.
“We had a game last year – round three against Hawthorn – that we lost by 100 points (actually 58 points), and then we went on to make top four and win lots of games.
“Geelong will respond in kind. They’ve got strong leadership right through the club, and in particular their coach and captain. So we expect a fierce response.”
Fremantle displayed impressive fight in last week’s win over Port Adelaide.
But Lyon knows there’s plenty of improvement to come – especially in regards to their skills and decision making.
Geelong dropped a selection shock this week when they axed Steven Motlop after discovering the star midfielder had consumed alcohol three days before the match against Hawthorn.
Lyon said he understood Geelong’s decision.
“They’re keeping their standards, so that sees him go out,” Lyon said.
“It just highlights we’re humans, we’re fallible.
“He’s a really good person.”