Bartel takes aim at boring Cats
EXPECT a faster, more attacking Geelong in the run to September as the AFL pacesetter tries to arrest their mid-season stumble.
At least that's the view of club great Jimmy Bartel, who says Geelong won't panic despite slumping to their third loss in five matches.
On Sunday the Cats looked a shell of the team that took all before them in the opening half of 2019, as the Alastair Clarkson-coached Hawks put the brakes on the ladder leader.
Bartel says captain Joel Selwood nailed his assessment of his own team - labelling them "boring" - but says the "wheels aren't off" for Chris Scott's side.
"It's good when you hear captains or leaders of clubs (that) don't just talk in riddles and things like that," Bartel said.
"He goes 'we're boring'. When you think about it, that is a great way to describe what their problem is.
"It's because they've got so much talent to play this slow, chip-around style and just try to build the ball up - it actually doesn't suit them."
Bartel said the Cats' game plan of playing slow from the back half - which had proven so successful earlier this year - had actually "exposed them defensively".
"When Geelong play really well, they play a fast quick style of footy and then their whole defence just comes marching up the ground," he said.
"If I'm the opposition and I win it back off Geelong and I'm in my back 50, because they've played so fast and their backline gets into (a good) spot, you go 'phew, I've won the ball back' but you turn around and you go 'oh no we're pinned in our own backline'.
"But when they play slow and they don't get it out of their own backline, you just go 'they're going to eventually give us the ball back'.
"So Joel Selwood absolutely nailed it. He said 'we're being too slow and too safe'.
"I reckon that's their problem and I can imagine they'll be addressing that a lot this week."
Scott wasn't hitting the panic button after the 24-point loss but acknowledged his team had some work to do.
"Is it a slump? I can't really think of anyone on the top of my head who hasn't gone through their ebbs and flows throughout the season and we're clearly one of them, even though we sit on top of the ladder," Scott said.
"But I think the ladder is deceiving. You'd be much better served looking at the previous couple of weeks and basing your forecasts on that form as opposed to the previous 15 or 16 weeks.
"I don't think we'll go away and think now, all of a sudden, we're hopeless and we have to throw out the way we play ... but at the same time, we're not going to say 'ah, it's one of those weeks, don't worry about it' ... that would be a big mistake, too."