Cats need lift from Selwood, Kelly to survive
Geelong spent part of Saturday defending its decision to wear blue shorts against Collingwood after a Friday night clash where so much went wrong.
As one WAG with a Collingwood affiliation said over the weekend, if they don't fire up next week they'll be wearing board shorts in the blink of an eye.
Who are the 10 Cats who need to lift and help their resident superhero Patrick Dangerfield against West Coast?
1. Jimmy Bartel made a strong case in defence of Gary Ablett yesterday, adamant the ball rarely came into Geelong's forward line without being marked by Jeremy Howe or Darcy Moore.
But champions are marked hard, and Ablett had his fewest score involvements for the year and didn't win a single ground ball inside 50m, one of his key strengths this season.
2. Gary Rohan had a chance to set the finals agenda, kicking an early goal then shanking a relatively easy set shot. He was unsighted afterwards and again sore with a persistent knee injury, winning only three possessions and recording only a single tackle.
In 51 minutes on Darcy Moore he didn't have a touch and the Pies defender had 10 possessions.
3. It's not always your night but it can be your moment. All Australian Tom Hawkins is goalless in the past three weeks but had a chance to mark on the goal line to bring the margin back to a goal with a tick under three minutes remaining. He dropped the mark, missed a gettable left-foot snap moments later, finished with 0.4 and will have all eyes on him against West Coast.
4. Joel Selwood did everything he could to ignite the Cats late but finished with only 73 ranking points and 18 possessions playing 40 per cent wing and 60 per cent as a centre-bounce midfielder. He doesn't have an 80-ranking-point game in his past five games but can change the course of Friday's semi-final with a typical Joel Selwood final.
5. Jake Kolodjashnij had only seven possessions, the second-fewest of any Cat.
He started on a hamstrung Jordan De Goey but was fumbly and dropped the mark that led to a third-quarter stoppage that saw Scott Pendlebury kick the defining goal.
It was the Pies' last goal but it was enough.
6. Tim Kelly had to do so much grunt work inside the contest that he kicked at 36 per cent efficiency. He was still excellent (28 possessions) but the Cats need enough contributors that they can use his silky skills on the outside instead of making him the clearance bull.
7. Luke Dahlhaus rolled his ankle early and finished the game with 0.2 and seven kicks at 42 per cent kicking efficiency. He wasn't Geelong's worst but with the Cats pressure at 181, well down on the season average of 187, they need him to rediscover the frantic defensive efforts of early in the season.
8. Harry Taylor was solid on Brody Mihocek (held goalless) despite a shaky early moment where he let Jaidyn Stephenson hit up Jamie Elliott by over-committing to a contest.
But can he get back to his intercept game with Blicavs as his wingman after only his fourth game this year without an intercept mark and just three intercept possessions?
9. No one is hanging any part of this loss on Quinton Narkle, in his first final and only his 10th game. But after two massive games against North Melbourne and Carlton he was quiet with 45 ranking points and just 13 touches. Can the inside bulls put enough pressure on West Coast to allow him into the contest after 665 metres gained, 27 touches, eight clearances, 12 score involvements and a goal against Carlton in Round 23.
10. Esava Ratugolea is Geelong's great white hope, but didn't kick a goal up forward and in 38 per cent ruck time had only two hit-outs to advantage against the rampant Brodie Grundy. Against the Eagles intercept markers he must bring the ball to ground and allow Hawkins one-on-one looks, or Geelong is on the way to a straight-sets finals departure.