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The Cats will need their claws out for Friday night’s blockbuster clash against the Western Bulldogs, after some poor tackling this year.
Tackling will be vital against the reigning premiers, who are renowned for their fast midfield and pressure around the ball.
Cats coach Chris Scott said effective tackling would be just as important as laying tackles in the first place.
“When you analyse the way Champion [Data] do it, if you nail someone in a tackle and they’re good enough to get it away, it doesn’t count as a tackle,” he told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 Monday night.
The Bulldogs were the top tackling side after round eight, averaging 75 per game, ahead of the 16th-ranked Cats on 63.8.
In the first half against Essendon on Saturday night, the Cats laid just 14 tackles and the Bombers midfield run cut them to pieces.
“A lot of occasions when we were in a good position to tackle and we just weren’t good enough and that’s so superficial it’s not funny,” Scott said. “It’s obvious for everyone to see.”
The Cats had just 13 tackles in the first half against North Melbourne in round two, when they narrowly escaped defeat after a second-half resurrection.
But Scott backed his men to return to form against the Bulldogs at Simonds Stadium in front of a packed house.
“My bias is towards supporting the players that have done it before,“ Scott said.
“It is (a huge game against the Western Bulldogs), but we sort of say that most weeks.”
“If you take a couple of steps back, and this isn’t to gloss over the performances of the last three weeks, but the first five weeks were pretty good.
“And if we’d said, ’For the first eight games we’re not going to play at home once and we’ll go into our first game 5-3 and fifth on the ladder,’ I don’t think we’d be distraught.
“(But) we need to talk about what we are now, which is not very strong defensively and a little bit confused the other way.“
The Bulldogs will need to snap a 10-game losing streak against the Cats, since 2009, to win. They haven’t won at the Cattery since 2003.
But while the Dogs are tackling better, the Cats have smashed them in goal accuracy 56.4 (second) to 40.8 (last).
Patrick Dangerfield starred when the sides last played, with 33 disposals, three goals, 10 Inside 50s and six clearances for the three Brownlow votes.
Rhys Stanley, who kicked a career-best five goals last season, could again expose the Bulldogs backline.
The Dogs could welcome back Dale Morris (leg), Travis Cloke (ribs) and Jordan Roughead (hamstring), with star skipper Robert Murphy set to return.

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