Cats claw their way to respect

Monday, July 15
Geelong Advertiser _ ANDREW MEATH

'TIS the time to re-assess.

Fifteen other clubs have re-rated the Cats after their super impressive win over Collingwood on Saturday. Bomber Thompson must surely be doing the same.

All of a sudden the Cats are not only finals contenders but a team capable of causing some real damage at the business end.

Thompson successfully kept a lid on the Cats' resurgence as they quietly racked up five wins on trot leading into the Magpies clash.

After Saturday's events, he can't hide it any more. His young list is ahead of schedule and worthy of finals action.

Mick Malthouse blew the lid well and truly off when he said the one-time wooden spoon favourites were the best side his team had faced all year.

Them's big wraps when you consider we've gone full circle and played every team once.

It wasn't a gratuitous comment from Malthouse, either. If we'd heard it 24 hours earlier you could put it down to an attempt to flatter the opposition into complacency.

The Collingwood of 2002 prides itself on playing tight and pressuring the opposition into mistakes. Geelong did exactly that on Saturday.

Fifty-three tackles to 31 goes a long way to telling the story of the day.

The bar was raised after five moderate wins and the young Cats responded on footy's biggest stage.

There were 65,000 people at the G and the Cats, with 10 players yet to play 50 games, handled the pressure and everything the Pies threw at them.

If they did not have widespread respect in the comp before Saturday, they certainly do now.

Bomber has been around long enough to know that success won't come until you have that respect.

Too much finals talk in July is folly, but Bomber can safely declare: ``We're under way''.