Geelong coach Chris Scott isn’t one to talk up his team but he concedes there is a growing optimism about the Cats after they stormed into top spot on the AFL ladder on Saturday night.
Geelong’s highly-anticipated clash with the fourth-placed Western Bulldogs didn’t live up to the hype as they crushed their opponents in a 57-point drubbing at Etihad Stadium.
The Cats have well and truly emerged from the flat patch that saw them drop games to Collingwood and Carlton a few weeks back – earning grudging praise from their coach.
“We’ll work really hard to make sure we’re playing our best footy towards the end of the season and as things stand at the moment I’d give us a chance,” Scott said of Geelong’s premiership prospects.
“I don’t think we got ahead of ourselves a month ago but we did lose two games and played poorly, so we’ve just got to make sure that we fight to make sure that we improve every week.
“We’re giving ourselves a chance but if we had have lost tonight we could have slipped to sixth so that speaks to how even the competition is.
“I understand that the commentary will be around where we’re at and what’s possible. We’re optimistic about what’s possible, we’re not trying to undersell ourselves, but there’s a long way to go.”
Geelong’s one-two punch of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood stunned the listless Dogs in the first half, Luke Beveridge’s men managing just one goal to trail by 48 points at halftime.
Dangerfield didn’t quite reach the heights of last week’s career-best 48-possession effort, but he was still his side’s best player with 37 disposals and two goals.
Selwood, Jimmy Bartel and Steven Motlop were all important through the middle, while Daniel Menzel and Tom Hawkins booted four goals each in attack.
Corey Enright, Lachie Henderson and Harry Taylor formed the backbone of a defensive unit the Dogs rarely found a way through.
The Cats’ poor conversion in front of goal has been a headache for Scott for much of the season but his players kicked just four behinds in the big win; a trend he demanded continue.
“To be honest I do expect it (to continue) because you don’t do the work and it not improve and stay in the side,” he said.
“It’s so demoralising when players miss easy shots.”
Josh Caddy hobbled from the field late in the game with what is expected to be a minor medial ligament strain in a knee.