By JOHN VAN KLAVEREN
COLLINGWOOD’S defensive pressure against Geelong in recent games will be a focus of the Cats’ game plan for the Saturday night MCG heavyweight clash.
The pair’s games often turn into a contest between a flock of Magpies swooping on the ball carrier as Geelong attempts to maintain its Cat attack.
“Their pressure around the ball is generally pretty good while we tend to use the ball and attack most of the time,” coach Chris Scott conceded.
“Collingwood have adjusted to the way we play pretty well but I don’t think they’ve walked all over us (in recent games).
“Most of those games have been pretty close.”
Scott assessment was right on the mark: Geelong has won more games over Collingwood by less than six points than any other team – a total of 17.
“There’s a bit of a trend in the competition to playing keepings off and possessing the ball. We might do that at times but that’s not a cornerstone of our game plan,” Scott said.
In the Cat’s favour is the mixed start Collingwood has endured to the season, with a deflating round one loss to Fremantle followed by a resounding win over a disappointing Sydney.
Tha Pies’ defence will have a new soldier this week after Nathan Brown succumbed to a shoulder injury suffered against the Swans.
The ruck battle also looks to be in Geelong’s favour with Hamish McIntosh and Dawson Simpson demonstrating their ability to work together.
Scott gave no indication the ruck combination would be separated this week, despite conceding the pair would not play every game together.
McIntosh said he was confident the Cats had the form to topple the Pies despite coach Nathan Buckely’s insistence on tight defence.
“You can see Nathan has them well drilled and it’s all about contested footy and that’s the number one principle now in AFL footy – you’ve got to win that to win games,” McIntosh explained.
“We need to bring that into our game and it’s something we’ve done really well in the first two weeks and it’s something we’re going to have to do Saturday night in a big game against a big club to hopefully break that streak.”