Cats head coach Chris Scott was baffled by his side’s display. Pic: Getty Images
Cats head coach Chris Scott was baffled by his side’s display. Pic: Getty Images

Scott at a loss over ‘inexplicable’ Cats

GEELONG coach Chris Scott was at a loss to explain how poorly his team performed on Saturday but stressed the Cats will thoroughly investigate what went wrong in the shock 34-point loss to a rejuvenated Essendon at the MCG.

Frustrated that some of the club's pre-game plans went out the window early, and that many of his senior players including dual Brownlow Medallist Gary Ablett could not get going until the game was already lost, Scott said the coaching group and the leaders will dissect the negatives out of the game.

But he backed his playing group to swiftly respond, as they have in the past, starting with Saturday night's clash with Carlton at GMHBA Stadium.

"Our performance in some ways was inexplicable; we didn't execute any of the things we planned going in," a disappointed Scott said.

"They (Essendon) pressured us really well and tackled really well, and on the flip side, we just couldn't apply the requisite pressure we needed to beat a team that was up and about.

"There are a number of things we need to look at. It is not something we will sweep under the carpet.

Gary Ablett was down ... but had plenty of mates. Pic: Getty Images
Gary Ablett was down ... but had plenty of mates. Pic: Getty Images

"It needs a response and that's all that matters ... we can sit down and sulk and make excuses and point the finger at different things, or we can acknowledge where it went wrong and find ways to fix them."

When asked about Ablett - who had only 17 disposals and played deep in attack at times - Scott said he didn't want to individualise. But he admitted some of the club's senior players needed to work through their performances.

"I didn't think he (Ablett) played very well, but we could work through the list (of others who also hadn't played well)," he said.

"Having said that, I wasn't looking at us thinking we just gave up. (But) I think they (some of the senior players) have got to stand up and acknowledge they didn't play well. You won't get any argument from them, and you won't get any argument from me, or the coaching group.

"We just collectively had a very bad day."

But Scott said he wasn't taking anything away from Essendon, who stunned the Cats with their fierce pressure from the outset, after enduring the media blowtorch throughout the week.

He said criticism of the backline yesterday, who had to deal with 37 inside 50s in the first half, and 57 for the match, was harsh, saying they had worked hard against a weight of forward entries.

He said the club expected to have a handful of players available to take on the Blues, including Esava Ratugolea, who was missed on Saturday.

It was a good day for Bombers coach John Worsfold. Pic: Getty Images
It was a good day for Bombers coach John Worsfold. Pic: Getty Images

Meanwhile, Essendon coach John Worsfold says his players should be "satisfied" with the win but it was just a "small step" forward in a long journey.

After a tough week in which he came under fire and lost right-hand man Mark Neeld who parted ways with the Bombers, Worsfold was stand-offish after the game and denied the triumph was somewhat of a relief.

However, the coach said he was "rapt" with the performance and said players should be proud for turning their games around after a 2-6 start to the season.

"Consistently over four quarter we've seen more of what we want to do," Worsfold said.

"I know they've got that performance in them and I know that we're still learning a lot about each other and our roles. They had a really good week on the track around where we believed we could perform better together in our understanding so full credit to them.

"It hasn't been a real issue finding the ball but we haven't really attacked out forward 50 a lot and I think we started to see that better.

"Players have got to get back to work. They deserve to feel satisfied with that but we know that's one small step for where we want to get to."

Essendon players celebrate their win. Pic: Michael Klein
Essendon players celebrate their win. Pic: Michael Klein

The Bombers blooded debutants Jordan Ridely (25 disposals) and Dylan Clarke (9 disposals) who both performed well while key forward Shaun McKernan kicked a career-high four goals in just his second game of the season.

"Shaun had his best pre-season that I've seen him have and I think if you ask him it was the best pre-season he's ever had," Worsfold said.

"He set a real benchmark in terms of his work ethic though the pre-season and that form has carried through. He's had to wait for his opportunities but we knew he was going to be able to perform well when they came because of the physical position and fitness he's got himself to."

Worsfold said injured trio Michael Hurley (hamstring), Andrew McGrath (calf) and David Myers (hip) all trained "pretty well" this morning and would push for selection against GWS next Saturday.