Mark Heenan 11 August 2004

AS GEELONG approaches it’s first final series since 2000, coach Mark Thompson says a top four spot will not be the main focus ahead of it’s Round 20 clash against Fremantle at Skilled Stadium on Saturday.

“I don’t think much has changed, we’re equal on points with Brisbane now, the other sides have still got a game on us, but they’ve all got percentage on us, so if we don’t keep on winning, we don’t get a look (at) that position,” Thompson said at Geelong training today. “(We) won’t be disappointed (if we don’t get in the top 4), I’d be very happy to play finals, I think we have secured fifth spot.”

Following last weekend’s 31-point victory over Richmond, Thompson regrets the comments he made in the post-match press conference, about what he thought was not a satisfactory performance by the Cats. “I think I was out of line really to be honest, we won by five goals, the coach should be happy with that, it was just the whole day I was grumpy. Even in the box, when the senior coach is grumpy, that sort of influenced all of the other coaches and they were all grumpy with their boys too, so it’s got to get better than that.” Thompson said.

Geelong will also be out to maintain it’s unblemished record at Skilled Stadium this season. That in mind, Thompson knows with Carlton’s departure from it’s suburban surroundings at Optus Oval, will give Geelong an outright advantage playing at Skilled Stadium in the future.

“It will be difficult to play from an opposition perspective, there is no doubt it’s difficult, it’s not in Melbourne, it’s got it’s own unique country feel, and it’s a different shape ground and we’re a better team. We need to play here in Geelong, because where we are located”, Thompson said.

Meanwhile, Fremantle will be desperate to snap it’s seven-game losing streak at Skilled Stadium, after coming off a devastating loss to Collingwood at Subiaco last Friday night. Despite losing seven of those encounters by an average margin of 33 points against the Cats, the Dockers have actually won their last four road trips.

Geelong is set to recall veteran defender Brenton Sanderson after recovering from a knee injury, while a question mark remains over Wojcinski’s availability, who injured his groin against Richmond. “Sanderson ­ will play he is ready to go, Wojcinski is sort of a line-ball, he is a chance to still play, and Tim Callan is back from injury”, Thompson said