Geelong coach Chris Scott says too much has been made of the Cats’ habit of fading after halftime this year.
Chris Scott fully expects the other AFL premiership contenders to fancy their chances of running down Geelong during the latter stages of matches in the finals series.
The Cats coach knows why they might think that, acknowledging the statistics suggest Geelong have been vulnerable late in games this year.
He just doesn’t believe it means much.
“I reckon the psychological thing is a bit over-rated personally,” Scott said on Tuesday.
“I think what you do is a lot more important than what you think.
“But if we are going to focus on the psychological part, when the game is tight and in the balance late in games we’ve got a quiet confidence as well.”
The issue came into clearer focus on the weekend when the Cats coughed up a 31-point halftime lead against Hawthorn to go down by 23 points at the MCG.
It continued a trend where Geelong had won more first and second quarters (31) than any other team in 2014, a figure that dropped to just 18 in the third and fourth terms, much lower than the other main flag contenders Hawthorn, Sydney and Fremantle.
“The fact that is has been a bit of a trend through the season means you have to look at it and we certainly have to confront it, we’re not saying that it’s absolutely not an issue,” said Scott.
“But the positive side is that we’ve been very good when the heat has been on in games early.
“Throughout the season we’ve been good enough even though we’ve lapsed in some games.”
Regardless of the result of last weekend’s game between Hawthorn and Geelong, the arch rivals were almost certain to finish second and third and meet again in the first week of the finals.
“To be frank if we had found a way to scrape over the line by 12 points I think everyone would be talking about us,” Scott said.
“But the first half is a distant memory and the second half seems to be all that counts to most people.”
Saturday’s round 23 home clash with Brisbane also does not have major implications for the Cats in terms of their ladder position, making it almost certain that star midfielder Steve Johnson will be given another week to recover from a sore foot.
But the Cats do need to find a replacement for young key forward Shane Kersten (hamstring), with Josh Walker and Mitch Brown at the head of the queue.
Luckless ruckman Dawson Simpson has also been ruled out for the season and will undergo a third bout of back surgery.