WORKING HARD: Geelong's Paul Chapman looks to unload the ball in Cairns on Saturday. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Monday, March 3
GEELONG coach Mark Thompson wasn't reading too much into Saturday night's Wizard Cup win over Brisbane, despite breaking a hoodoo that dates back to round 14, 1995.
``I'm still not getting carried away,'' Thompson said after the win.
``I'm happy with what we did tonight and happy with what we did last week (beating the Bulldogs), but Brisbane had some players out.
``We just want to continue to knock teams over and we do everything we can to do that.''
It's been almost seven and a half years since the Cats had beaten Brisbane and on Saturday night they did it in the face of a 37-point half-time deficit.
As good as the win was, Thompson was more excited about the prospect of his young players getting more finals experience under their belt.
``I think it's huge,'' Thompson said.
``We played last year in the VFL Grand Final. Basically this group won a premiership last year in the reserves and they're in the semis of the next competition they played.
``It's a great achievement and we look forward to all finals games, whether that be the Wizard Cup, the AFL season, any finals.''
Having secured the win Thompson was understanding and sympathetic about Geelong's second-quarter absence from the match, although he pointed the blame at the midfield.
``We were a bit reactive but look, we were playing Brisbane which has won the last two premierships and we're fairly young so you can understand to some degree why they lost a bit of confidence, but I was happy that in that third quarter we got them back playing good footy.
``I don't think you can blame the backline for the goals in the second quarter. I think you can certainly blame the midfield.''
The same players that copped the blame for the fade-out masterminded Geelong's comeback.
Joel Corey, Corey Enright, Paul Chapman and Steven King all lifted along with David Johnson who was given the job of trying to stop a rampant Jason Akermanis in only his second senior appearance since breaking his ankle in round one against Essendon last year.
Johnson took on the Brownlow medallist and reduced his impact to virtually zero, giving up just two possessions in the third quarter.
``I was really pleased with his game,'' said Thomplson.
``He's been on the fringe and played one game of league footy and busted his leg.
``Akermanis, when he is up and going and the side is winning the ball, he's hard to stop.
``He's done a really good job.''
Thompson said the players pulled up from the trying conditions well and that there were no injury concerns or fatigue concerns after two games in oppressive conditions.
``We weighed them all and there's a couple of guys that have only lost a couple of kilos and that's about normal for any game,'' he said.