By Natalee Kerr
Challenging Gary Ablett’s one-game ban earlier this week was something Geelong Football Club “didn’t take lightly”, according to coach Chris Scott.
Ablett, who had never been suspended in his 328-game career, successfully appealed his ban for intentionally striking Dylan Shiel during last week’s 32-point win against Essendon.
“I don’t think anyone should think that it’s a flippant decision to just challenge it, a lot of work has to go into it,” Scott told this week’s media conference.
“It’s an expensive exercise in terms of finance and it’s an expensive exercise in terms of time.”
Ablett is the fifth player this season to have a suspension downgraded or reduced to a fine.
Scott said he has “faith” in the “efficient” AFL Tribunal, which features sole match review official Michael Christian.
“The system has moved from where it was in previous years,” he said.
“If clubs or players feel like there has been an injustice, they have a much easier road to go and challenge that.”
The Cats are at 6-1 atop the ladder after round seven, one game clear of the rest of the top-four.
Scott said while the win-loss record has a “big impact” on the group, he was “really confident” that the momentum surrounding the club was not short-term.
“We like to think that we’re up and about before the win-loss record affected our mood.
“We’re building something longer-term and more sustainable, with more capacity to ride out the inevitable bumps that come.”
Scott was enjoying the “continuity and cohesion” the club has established this season, he said.
“If you said to us pre-game that you could win without Selwood and Dangerfield I would be surprised,” he added.
“We’ve got some confidence that if a lot of things go right for us that’s possible, (but) that hasn’t always been the case.”
However the coach insisted conversations surrounding an appeal for the Cats home-finals to be played in Geelong were “too early” for him to be considering.
“It’s a really interesting and relevant debate for the wider football public, but it bears no relevance to our football department at the moment,” he said.
“We are so far away from getting ahead of ourselves. If we take the foot off the gas we can be a pretty average side pretty quickly.”
The Cats take on North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium this Sunday, who are coming off the back of a convincing 58-point win against Carlton last week.