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From the Coaches Box - up for it

Stuart Dew  August 23, 2013 1:48 PM

The Sydney Swans were the last team to defeat Geelong on their home deck back in 2011

The Sydney Swans were the last team to defeat Geelong on their home deck back in 2011

We secured our place in the competition’s top-four last weekend with our win over St Kilda at the SCG. While it was good to win, we were a little bit slow to start and the Saints were up for a good challenge, but I think in the end we wore them down with our work rate. We fixed our forward entries, which weren’t great in the first half, and that helped us put a bit more score on the board.

We were happy with the endeavour in the opening half but probably the finish and the polish wasn’t there as much. I thought our pressure was okay early, but it was more about our ball use, which I think we tidied up very well in the second half. Having said that, we did have opportunities in the first half to make the Saints pay, but just didn’t put the score on board for our effort. We played most of the first half in our forward half, but we just didn’t capitalise and that’s something we’ll be working on.

We had a number of good performances on the day but Josh Kennedy was a clear stand out. He had a terrific game and it was pleasing for Joey to have a good week of training and then take that form into the game. I think over the three and a bit years that he’s been at the club he’s rarely had two quiet games in a row, so he responded, it’s fair to say, with a dominant display against the Saints.

This week we travel down to Simonds Stadium to take on Geelong. It’s probably one of the toughest trips, and people often don’t think about it as a road trip because we play many games in Melbourne, but it certainly is one of the hardest away trips given the Cats’ record at Simonds Stadium.

We’ll fly down at lunch time on Friday and then head down the highway on the bus, and then we’ll have a bit of a kick and a catch at the oval, which is pretty normal. The trip itself is not a lot different in terms of getting there, but obviously it’s a significant home ground advantage for the Cats, who have dominated at that venue for so long.

Geelong are a terrific side and they have so many dangerous players who if we don’t account for can really hurt us. Obviously Joel Selwood has been in red-hot form, and then there is Steve Johnson, Steven Motlop and guys like Mathew Stokes, Allen Christensen, James Kelly, Joel Corey, Jimmy Bartel and the list goes one. Everywhere you look they’ve got good players, so we have to be on top of our game.

To come out on top this weekend, I think it will rely on a mixture of knowing what Geelong are going to do but also trying to get the game on our terms and understanding the two different styles of play. We need to get the balance right between offence and defence, and while we don’t want to go into our shell, we’ve got to be aware of the way the Cats like to play.

We’re up for it and we look forward to testing ourselves against probably one of the top two form teams in the competition. It’s going to be a big weekend for us and hopefully we can do enough to come out on top.