Optimist Scott says Cats in a good place

GEELONG coach Chris Scott was taking the “glass half full approach” after his team gave up the final six goals of the game but still cruised to a 20.9 (129) to 16.8 (104) win over Port Adelaide at Simonds Stadium today.

Ruckman Nathan Vardy was beaten in the ruck but coach Chris Scott has confidence in him.

Scott admitted the Cats may have “put the cue in the rack” as the Power reduced a 63-point lead at the four-minute mark of the last quarter to a final margin of 25 points in front of a crowd of 24,874.

“I thought it was an outstanding performance for big parts of the game,” Scott said. ” Today we were able to put them to the sword when the game was really on. If you’re glass half empty you would say towards the end of the game the cue was in the rack a little bit and we were probably thinking about things other than the moment and allowed Port to score a little bit too easily. That part of it is disappointing but we will keep it in perspective.”

The surgical precision of Geelong’s kicking sliced Port Adelaide open in the first half.

The Cats operated at 76 per cent efficiency by foot, a telling figure given their wont to cut back through the corridor at every opportunity.

The chiselling inboard balls continually opened up the Power through the centre of Simonds Stadium, giving Geelong’s forwards time and space to lead in any direction.

The Cats may have only had four more inside-50s than Port in the first half, but it was the quality of the  ball coming in, and from where it was entering, that made all the difference on the score sheet.

By the main break, Geelong had blown the game apart, leading by an unassailable 51 points.

It had been arguably its most complete performance of the season.

The standout early was Steven Motlop, who continued his stunning run of form with 12 first quarter possessions, which included a few eye-catching goal assists.

Geelong held Port to just four goals in the first half, while slamming on 12 itself.

But Ken Hinkley’s emerging team showed the resilience that was missing from the proud Port Adelaide club last year. It matched the Cats in a goal feast in the third term, kicking six to the Cats’ seven, before opening up a tiring Geelong late. Former Essendon forward Angus Monfries was the chief destroyer in Port’s late charge, kicking three of his seven goals in the last term to be his team’s best player.

At the other end, Geelong had a healthy spread of 12 individual goal kickers, with captain Joel Selwood the major contributor with a career-high four goals.

“Hopefully it shows that we have variety in the way we can score,” Scott said. “I thought our key forwards looked dangerous today, when you look at the stats sheet they didn’t contribute as much as they have in other games but they still shaped the way the game was played and the way the opposition defended.”

Tom Hawkins, who has been struggling with a back injury, was again kept quiet, kicking just one goal from six possessions, but James Podsiadly was impressive on his return from suspension with two goals from 12 possessions and a couple of great contested marks.

Scott said Hawkins remained a handful for the best opposition defenders. “We’re comfortable with what Tom is giving us but no one in our team has a gold ticket Tom would like to be playing a bit better but I didn’t think he was disgraceful by any stretch.” the coach said.

Geelong was also monstered in the ruck as Matthew Lobbe had an incredible 59 hit outs against the young Cats duo of Nathan Vardy and Josh Walker. “Vards is a work in progress,” Scott said. “Lobbe was good in the ruck, he is a big boy, and parts of the stoppage stuff didn’t work all that well for us but certainly the efficiency out of the stoppages and the scoring was well in our favour. We’d like to be getting our hands on the ball but I think it’s a mistake to look at isolated parts you have got to look at it in its totality  For a 10 possession game I thought Vardy’s work around the contest was really strong, he looked fantastic breaking away from the contest at times. He didn’t hit the scoreboard forward like he can but we’re pretty optimistic of what that duo can do and we’ve still got some options with West and Blicavs as well.”

Geelong swung the changes throughout the game, with 171 rotations, after being forced to sub off Mitch Duncan early with concussion. Duncan was walking around during the game, but Scott could not update his condition.

The win leaves Geelong on track for a top two berth with three rounds remaining.

And despite the late fadeout today, Scott is happy with where his team is at. “I’d much rather be 50 or 60 points up and let them have a few cheap ones at the end of the game,” Scott said of Port’s late rally.  “Maybe we open ourselves up to those questions because we play so well early in the game and get out to a big lead and people expect us to push on but I think if you consider everything in perspective we’re in a pretty good position and we’re taking the glass half full approach.”
GEELONG 6.4, 12.7, 19.9, 20.9 (129)
PORT ADELAIDE 1.3, 4.4, 10.5, 16.8 (104)
Goals: Geelong: J Selwood 4 H Taylor 3 A Christensen 2 J Podsiadly 2 S Motlop 2 C Guthrie J Bartel J Caddy J Kelly J Walker T Hawkins T Varcoe. Port Adelaide: A Monfries 7 J Schulz 2 A Moore Brad Ebert C Wingard H Hartlett M Lobbe S Colquhoun T Boak.
Injuries: Geelong: J Walker (wrist) M Duncan (concussion). Port Adelaide: Nil.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Brett Rosebury, Shane McInerney, Heath Ryan.
Official Crowd: 24,784 at Skilled Stadium.
Best: Geelong: J Selwood S Johnson S Motlop J Corey C Enright H Taylor J Caddy. Port Adelaide: M Lobbe A Monfries Brad Ebert T Boak A Carlile.
Source: Geelong Advertiser