Tuesday, July 9
Geelong Advertiser _ SCOTT MORTON

CONFIDENT Geelong president Frank Costa is tipping a Cats finals berth on the back of a crunch win against Collingwood this Saturday.

``If we win then I'm bloody certain we'll make the finals,'' a buoyant Costa said yesterday.

``We've won eight and with the competition so close, 11 wins might get you in and 12 will certainly get you in and I reckon we'll do that.''

The players are starting to believe it, too.

Forward Aaron Lord said after Saturday's 32-point win over West Coast that the finals were now a realistic aim for the young side.

``The fact is we're playing some good footy and beating some good sides,'' he said.

``Now the finals is a realistic chance and something we can really look forward to.''

But coach Mark Thompson refuses to entertain thoughts of finals yet, despite the Cats sitting at seventh on the ladder and just two points off a place in the top our.

Saturday afternoon's MCG clash against Collingwood is now looming as a season-shaping blockbuster for Geelong.

Both sides are on a roll and a crowd of more than 50,000 is expected.

The black and white army is on the march and Geelong expects its supporters will show the same fiery passion.

``I'd be surprised if we didn't get a very big crowd, given an even break with the weather,'' Costa said.

Collingwood has won four of its past five games and Geelong will be aiming to make it six on the trot, a feat the club hasn't achieved since 1992.

``They (Collingwood) are on a high and had a great win on the weekend and we've won five on the trot so it will be match of the day,'' Costa predicted.

``Really and truly on the day I reckon Geelong can beat Collingwood.''

But Collingwood is only the first hurdle in a tough run home for Geelong that includes Essendon, Adelaide, Brisbane, the Kangaroos and Fremantle in the west.

Costa said despite the draw Geelong had the wherewithal to win most of those matches and book a place in the September action.

``The outstanding side this year is definitely Port Adelaide, the next best in my opinion would have to be Brisbane, those two are very strong, but the rest of the teams I think Geelong can beat,'' he said.

``I think we can beat Essendon when we meet them next time, too.''

TAB Sportsbet had Geelong as the wooden spoon favorite and at $8 to make the eight after its round two loss to Adelaide. It's price for the eight now now is $1.90.

Rank outsider for the flag at 151-1 after the Adelaide loss, the club's flag price now is $51.

The biggest bet on Geleong to make the eight this year came after its big win over Fremantle in round five when a punter placed $2000 on the Cats at $2.60.

Another punter wasn't dimmed by the Cats loss to Port Adelaide in round eight, putting $1000 on them to win the flag at $71.