AFTER bearing the brunt of criticism for their opening week failure, Geelong coach Chris Scott has urged his players to be aggressive and embrace risk to avoid a straight-sets AFL finals exit.
The minor premiers will go into Friday night’s semi-final against West Coast at the MCG as underdogs, and with question marks lingering over their ability to stand up in September after last week’s qualifying final loss to Collingwood.
At least two selection changes are likely with Mitch Duncan (medial ligament) ruled out and Gary Rohan (knee) also in doubt.
Rohan was on light duties at Tuesday’s training and will need to prove his fitness after pulling up sore during the Magpies game.
Star midfielder Tim Kelly was a notable absentee but Scott said he just had a “sniffle” and was recovering at home.
Rhys Stanley trained well and will almost certainly return to combat Eagles ruck duo Nic Naitanui and Tom Hickey.
Scott was roasted over Stanley’s late withdrawal last week, with commentator David King notably blaming the Cats coach for the defeat.
“I understand everyone’s disappointed when we lose. If you want to make it a contest, I’ll win,” Scott told reporters.
“I think the overarching role for me to play in this situation is to absorb a bit of the criticism.
“If you’re doing your job well, your role is not to spend too much time trying to work out whether the critic is right or wrong. It’s to take the feedback from the people that tend to be the most important in your organisation, not just you as the individual.”
The Cats have won just three of their past 13 finals and will face an Eagles side full of confidence after thrashing Essendon in their elimination final.
Scott said it was crucial the Cats asserted themselves from the start and improved their collective defensive accountability.
“Accept the challenge, accept the risk that putting yourself on the line brings,” he said.
“Accept that the devastation of not getting the job done when the opportunity’s there is worth it to give yourself a chance to prevail.
“It’d be a lot safer to be outside the arena throwing stones, never really a chance to experience victory or defeat.
“It’s still the same equation for us as it was last week: win three games. But a significant challenge – what a challenge – going up against the reigning premiers on Friday night at the MCG.
“Not many people in their lives get the opportunity to do that.”
Scott said rising star Jordan Clark would not play against the Eagles but named midfielder Cam Guthrie among half-a-dozen potential inclusions.
© AAP 2019