Coach blames kick-chasing

Monday, March 31

GEELONG coach Mark Thompson blamed his side's 39-point defeat at the hands of the Western Bulldogs on misplaced endeavour.

He said the Cats had their chances during the game, particularly in the second quarter, but just weren't good enough to capitalise on them.

He said the young players concentrated too much on their own game at the expense of the team.

``There were patches in the game when we came back and had our opportunities but we weren't good enough to take them,'' he said.

``Young people, first game of the year, they want to go out and start well and get their hands on the footy . . . well it's okay to do that but not at the expense of your opponent getting twice as much as you.''

One of the missing ingredients, he said, was simply concentration.

``It's what you do when you haven't got the ball basically and I think our guys were a bit too intent on how they were going to get the ball rather than curbing their opponents' effectiveness in the game,'' he said.

That mindset saw the Bulldogs tear out Geelong's heart, from the backline through the midfield and into the forward line, which failed to function.

``Our blokes spent a lot of the time chasing today,'' he said. ``It was from the top down to the bottom, it was the whole group. They looked a lot slower than the opposition today and that's not the case, I'm sure,'' he said.

In stark contrast to Geelong's lack of cohesion, Western Bulldogs coach Peter Rohde praised the evenness of his side in victory and their commitment, even after skipper Chris Grant was felled by a knee injury late in the third quarter.

Rohde insisted that his young players share the workload this year and they answered in immediate fashion.

``We're very keen to develop a team that has an evenness to it and I suppose when you lose your captain out of that, it puts it to the test straight away,'' he said. Grant will undergo tests tomorrow but coach Peter Rohde had ``grave concerns'' for his skipper.

``We're not expecting really good news there, but we'll get all that checked out tomorrow and see where we go from there, so that certainly puts a dampener on the victory.''