AFL 2021 LIVE updates: Dees rise from the ashes to claim minor premiership after trailing Cats by 44 points

Geelong coach Chris Scott spoke to the media after the game…

Q: What is the feeling in the room, Scotty?

Well, I think it’s hard to completely dismiss the fact that we had control of the game and didn’t win in the end, and there were some crucial errors that really cost us. But we were always in the mindset that whatever happened tonight, we need to focus on the next game really quickly. I think it was always very likely that if we won we would be playing a final in Adelaide and if we lost we would be playing a final in Adelaide. The only thing really that was going to change was that we might be playing an opposition who was playing on their home deck. So the reframing of the situation is really important because it would be easy to dwell on what happened late in the game and forget about how dominant we were early in the game. But even irrespective of that, that’s not the most important thing at the moment for us. The most important thing is moving forward, focusing on how we can play our best footy next week which the guys are really steeled amd galvanised to do.

Q: Just mindful you have a double chance and your focus on next week, what is your opinion in regards to the 50m penalty?

I haven’t seen one for a while. That was a very strange situation. What we try to coach in those situations is, the player should fight as hard as he can to touch the ball before it goes out on the full, so I think he is entitled to contest the ball. I think the decision before that, for the insufficient intent free kick was probably a bit strange as well. You win some, you lose some.

Q: Chris, you talk about moving forward and thinking ahead, rather than going back. Are you taking more positives out of tonight even with the loss, then perhaps out of the previous couple of games?

In a way I thought that for a large part of the game we showed how well we can play. The last 30 minutes of the game, we just couldn’t get our hands on the ball. And it’s hard to work out exactly why that’s happening. But one theory is, you know, you are 40-odd points up, the last home-and-away game of the year and you know you are playing in Adelaide the following week, it is very difficult to stay in the moment and not project forward. I would like to think that when the stakes are higher and we are in that position we would be able to stay in the moment better than we are. We certainly made some mistakes and Melbourne played well, really gave them a chance with some, just the last 30 minutes it was unlike us. But even then, they were on top of us with 10 minutes to go and we were able to stabilise the game. And should have won with two or three minutes to go, but it was a bit of a comedy of errors from a lot of people.

Q: Chris, you guys have always seemed to thrive on continuity later in the season. And just looking at it in the last four times you have played the first final, which has come after the pre-finals bye, you haven’t won but you have gone on and won and advanced after that. Do you take some sort of solace from the fact that you do get to have the opportunity to bounce back straight away? Notwithstanding the fact you would have liked to maybe have some guys back from injury and that would have helped. But you get to rebound straight away and it suits your team?

I think so. I’m assuming the likelihood is get a six-day break into a Friday night final in Adelaide. We’ve got a good history in those sort of situations. But again, I think the history around those sort of things is overplayed. We would prefer a bye. But you look at the positives and say, well, short breaks, we tend to play well. We are confident we can play good footy next week which is hard for anyone to beat. So I don’t want to tip too much into what you’re saying, because that almost implies that the opposite is true, and I think the patterns that people see in the things that happened years and years ago, are not as real as they think they are.

Q: So, what about going back maybe a little bit, not so far, when you played Port Adelaide earlier in the year, you do have that record of having beaten them on their home ground in pretty trying circumstances, from memory, that was one of the occasions you had to just stick around Adelaide Oval. I think that was the match. Do you take any confidence out of that, or of the team’s circumstances, or have the games change too much so it doesn’t have too much of an impact?

It was relatively recent, in the second half of the year. It is hard to quantify, as you say, how much the trying circumstances pre-game impacted the performance. We are really confident we can play well. The last time we played them over there helps that a little bit. But more than that, we think our game has improved, notwithstanding the last 40 minutes of this game.

Q: Do you have any indication on what the plan will be in terms of the final? Do you expect to spend more time on the road, given the situation in Victoria at the minute? Do you have any idea or has the club given a heads up on what that could look like?

No, we haven’t got any direction at the moment, which is understandable, I think it is so uncertain right at the moment, I don’t think anyone is deliberately holding information back from us. What we do know is we are playing over in Adelaide next week. And we are ready if we need to be on the road for an extended period of time, I think we’ve got a really good history – in fact I know we’ve got a really good history over the last 18 months of handling the sort of situations really well. So it will be uncertain, it will be difficult at times, there will be some curveballs, I’m sure. But we are embracing the challenge.

Q: How did you see the battle around the centre clearances? It looked like both teams were able to score a number of goals from centre clearances. Will that be part of your review going into next week?

Yeah, it will, it always is. I thought our ruckmen were really good for most of the game and really helped us. I thought Rhys Stanley beat Max Gawn convincingly. Max Gawn came into it late, a few centre bounces. That is the way their mids play, little bit. It is hard to stop the penetration of Oliver and Petracca, when they are getting good service from Max Gawn, but we were leaky later in the game and the fact they only kicked two goals in two minutes to start the last quarter obviously gave them some momentum. Especially with a new rule, there is not much you can do. Question the new rule. I think the last four or five minutes, we had eight touches to their 40-plus. So if you are giving up field position from the centre bounce, it can be harder to do the things you need to do when you haven’t got the momentum. Unless you can get your hands on the ball. So that was an issue for us. But I think you’ve got to balance it out with what happened earlier in the game. And I thought we were very, very good in that area.

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