Chris Scott was bitterly disappointed by his side’s loss when they had control of last portions of the game. He says their record in Perth doesn’t tell the full story and is confident they can match it with any side.
Geelong coach Chris Scott says the Cats proved they can match the competition’s best on Saturday night and will head to Queensland feeling they are in better form than their 1-2 record in the Perth hub suggests.
The Cats had West Coast under control in the first half of a thriller at Optus Stadium, building a 22-point lead with relentless pressure before the Eagles rattled home on the back of star ruckman Nic Naitanui to win by nine points.
Scott said there were no excuses for the loss, but he was optimistic about the form his team was building as they welcome back key players, including captain Joel Selwood, and prepare to tackle North Melbourne at the Gabba in four days.
“It’s always bitterly disappointing when you lose a game like that, but I think in the fullness of time we’ll come away more positive than negative around our performance,” Scott said.
“We had control of the game for large periods. They’ve got some weapons that are clear for everyone to see. When they had the game on their terms, they were very hard to stop.
“But I think tonight gave us a little bit of confidence that we’re not out of touch with the best teams in the comp, and I think West Coast here is in that conversation.”
Geelong leave Perth with a win against Fremantle and losses against Collingwood and West Coast, sliding out of the top four during a period that has seen injuries to key players hamper their progress.
Still, Scott said the Perth leg of the 2020 season had been “better than the scoreboard suggests”.
“I think it’s been a more successful three weeks than that. It feels like we’re building something,” he said.
“It’s still hard to get a read on the competition. It’s very much a case of not who you play, it’s when you play them.
“Until you work through who’s played who, I still think the ladder might be a little deceptive.”
Naitanui was unstoppable at stoppages on Saturday night, controlling Geelong pair Esava Ratugolea and Mark Blicavs and finishing with 34 hit-outs and six score involvements.
Scott said it was “hard not to be mesmerized with some of the stuff he can do”.
The Cats will now take a day to assess their stocks ahead of the Kangaroos clash, with Selwood available to return from a hamstring injury and midfielder Jack Steven in the mix.
“I think we’ve got half a dozen to eight players who can come in and do a job for us,” he said.
“Some of those are really good players coming back, from injury, but we’ll take the next day or two to work through that and see where everyone is at.
“We’ve got a bit of confidence in the depth of our squad.
“He (Steven) is pretty close. If it’s not this week I’d say we’d play him next week.”