GEELONG has gone into damage control the week after all but surrendering its season.
A 23-point loss to St Kilda on Sunday has now condemned the Cats to unexpected onlookers in this year’s finals series.
Sitting with a 9-10 win/loss record, the ninth-placed Cats trail Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs by two wins and percentage with only three rounds remaining.
The club’s directors this week met to discuss the football department’s 2006 season.
A Geelong spokesperson has said it had “fallen below expectations and objectives of everyone associated with the club”.
The board will initiate a review of the reasons behind the Cats’ poor performances and proposed changes for 2007 by the end of the month.
Chief executive Brian Cook will run the investigation.
Coach Mark Thompson lamented the season at training this week.
“It’s been disappointing that we’ve had a poor year,” he said.
“In the last two years we’ve played in the finals and we’ve won the NAB Cup but this year for a number of reasons we haven’t played well, so we just move on.
“If we finish off the year strong, we start to plan for next year. We plan to have a good 2007 and there is no reason why we can’t.”
Thompson rejected criticism from former Carlton premiership player and coach Robert Walls on Fox Footy’s On The Couch that the Cats’ players had not hurt enough from the losses.
“I think you hurt enough. I think it’s a pretty broad comment if you said they (didn’t) – I think they hurt,” Thompson said.
“It hurts (me) because we just like competing in finals.
“I said to Tom Harley, ‘this is strange isn’t it?’ because the last couple of years our season has gone right to the end. This is another set of circumstances you have to deal with.
“Yeah, we expected to make the finals and it hurts that we’re not.”
But Thompson remained optimistic.
Victories against Sydney tomorrow and Melb-ourne a week later, both at Skilled Stadium, would give Geelong a glimmer of hope.
Thompson said denting rivals’ momentum heading into the finals was not a priority.
“We’ll be trying just to play our best footy that we can play and try to win a few games,” Thompson said.
“If we win three games we may end up eighth and maybe we might sneak in.”