Geelong coach Chris Scott can see the attraction – and the downside – of using star defender Harry Taylor as a swingman.
Geelong coach Chris Scott was looking very much on the bright side after watching the Cats concede 10 straight goals to rejuvenated Hawthorn on Saturday night.
After leading by 31 points at halftime, the Cats were over-run in the second half of the 14.10 (94) to 11.5 (71) loss.
But with the same two protagonists likely to be back at the MCG in a fortnight to square off in a qualifying final, Scott deliberately chose the glass half-full approach.
“Obviously it didn’t go our way in the second half but we played really good footy in the first half and … it sounds funny to say it, but it was a step forward in our preparation,” he said.
“We always went into the game wanting to play well, we certainly didn’t put the cue in the rack, or not consciously anyway at halftime after a good performance.
“We’ll learn some things from tonight.
“In that respect it’s probably mission accomplished a little bit.”
The Cats expect to have Steve Johnson back for the first week of the finals, although the champion midfielder is set to miss a third straight match next weekend against Brisbane to ensure he has fully recovered from a foot complaint.
Geelong are likely to need a replacement for inexperienced key forward Shane Kersten, who was subbed off early in the 23-point loss to Hawthorn with a hamstring injury.
One option would be to send star defender Harry Taylor forward in the role of swingman.
Scott can see the attraction of using Taylor – who kicked only his second goal of 2014 in the last quarter against the Hawks – as a leading forward.
But he’s also very aware of the risks.
“It’s one that we always talk about and rarely do,” said Scott.
“The thing we keep going back to is that he’s an All-Australian centre half-back so why would you play him forward?
“And yet the answer is he could give us something in the forward line, he gives us another really strong target who’s different to the other players we’ve got.
“He probably complements (full-forward Tom) Hawkins to an extent but we haven’t got two of him.
“I can guarantee you one thing – we’ll talk about it during the finals probably leading up to every game and we’ll talk about it during the game and I reckon we won’t do it that much.”