Chris Scott expects the struggling Cats to be playing their best footy come finals.
Chris Scott expects the struggling Cats to be playing their best footy come finals.

Scott: Cats will be ‘playing good footy when it counts’

DEFIANT Geelong coach Chris Scott has refused to concede his side is in a huge hole, despite damning stats that reveal the club's shocking struggles since the bye.

Since the bye, the Cats have alternated wins and losses, going 3-4 and being labelled "safe" and "slow".

The top-of-the-table Cats led the AFL in both points for and points conceded before the bye, but they now sit 13th and 7th post-bye, respectively.

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Scott, though, is still bullish about the Cats' chances.

"We'd like to be playing better, not trying to sugarcoat that part of it, but we'd prefer to be playing our best footy a little bit later on," Scott said.

"(We're in) a little bit of a hole, there's no doubt about that, but when you look across the season, I don't think there's one team that hasn't had their moments.

"We're not in a huge hole because we're really confident that we're working through some things that we'll see come through in the next couple of weeks and we'll be playing good footy when it counts."

It was another ugly weekend for the Cats. Picture: AAP
It was another ugly weekend for the Cats. Picture: AAP

With three games left in the season before finals, the Cats need to get a wriggle on after they were embarrassed by Fremantle on the weekend.

Champion Data numbers indicate that, post-bye, the Cats have dropped from first to ninth for contested possession and ground ball differential, which is alarming for the club's once all-conquering midfield.

The Cats also recorded a play-on percentage of just 8.1 per cent in their 34-point loss to Fremantle on Saturday, their lowest for the season.

Only West Coast (8 per cent, Round 15) and Brisbane Lions (6 per cent, Round 17) have had lower play-on percentages this year.

Overall this season for play-on percentages, the Cats remarkably sit bottom of the league despite sitting atop the AFL ladder.

STRUGGLING CATS

StatisticPre-byePost-bye
Points For99.3 (1st)74.3 (13th)
Points Against65.7 (1st)74.9 (7th)
Points Diff from Turnovers+25.1 (1st)+2.4 (9th)
Points Diff from Stoppages+7.3 (4th)-1.0 (9th)
Contested Possessions Diff+15.7 (1st)-0.9 (9th)
Groundball Diff+12.9 (1st)+2.0 (8th)

***Stats provided by Champion Data

Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel says the go-slow Cats must change their style or face the consequences.

"That is so hard to do, only play on eight per cent of the time," Bartel said.

"That means that you are mind-numbingly slow, the way you are going back off the mark, and it's hurting them.

"They have got a really good attack. They're just standing there.

"They're not getting enough ball movement; they're not getting enough supply."

A bullish Chris Scott says his Cats will be ready. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
A bullish Chris Scott says his Cats will be ready. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

Bartel urged the Cats to "be braver" as they look to hold off West Coast and Brisbane Lions to retain top spot and secure a home qualifying final.

"They are in, clearly, a rut," he said.

"A bit of a form slump.

"But they have won games as well while they have been in the form slump.

"It's their ball movement. That's been the big thing that has been their major concern.

"What's happened is they are actually stifling their own ball movement as much as the opposition is doing it to them."

Geelong remained top of the ladder despite going down to the Dockers, ahead of West Coast and Brisbane on percentage.

They next face North Melbourne at home on Saturday night.

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