Sport

Ex-Lions teammate not surprised by Cats coach's success

Cats coach Chis Scott (left) speaks to runner Nigel Lappin.
Cats coach Chis Scott (left) speaks to runner Nigel Lappin. Michael Dodge

NIGEL Lappin always knew the Scott twins were going to go on and forge a successful career after their playing days ... it was just a matter in what field.

As they showed during the Brisbane Lions' golden era - each a part of two of the club's three premierships - Brad and Chris Scott had an unrivalled determination.

"I just wasn't sure if they would stay in footy or move into business," Lappin said. "Both are really well educated."

Of course, the brothers couldn't resist heading down the coaching path, Brad taking charge at North Melbourne in 2010 and Chris at Geelong a year later.

Be it out on the field with their actions or in the dressing room with their words, the Scotts led from the front as Lions.

"They were always listened to by the group ... they always had the right message to sell," Lappin said.

Lappin spent a decade playing alongside Chris Scott and has spent another seven years under him as an assistant coach.

He's been in awe of the way he has gotten the best out of his players - and is still vying for a premiership after claiming a first in his debut season at the helm.

"He's very articulate with the way he delivers his message," Lappin said. "He's got a good way of making players understand exactly what he wants."

Lappin arrived at Kardinia Park in late 2008 following his retirement after 279 games at Brisbane.

The champion wingman initially worked under Mark Thompson and was a part of the 2009 flag, before being joined by his old Lions teammate Scott after Thompson pulled the pin.

"We used to talk, as mates do," he said. "But I was really surprised when (then-football boss) Steve Hocking told me that Scotty was going for the job.

"He would have done a lot of planning ... but he didn't tell me about any of it.

"He got the job on his own merits. I just said to Hock he would be fantastic because of the type of person that he is. He understands the game really well. He's got a good ability to lead."

 

Patrick Dangerfield (right) of the Cats speaks with assistant coach Nigel Lappin.
Patrick Dangerfield (right) of the Cats speaks with assistant coach Nigel Lappin. Adam Trafford/AFL Media

Tonight's clash against the Crows at the Adelaide Oval will be the Cats' eighth preliminary final in 11 years - a testament to Scott's planning.

"Scotty is very smart," Lappin said. "He always has one eye on the future, what the club will look like in five years' time.

"You want to make sure you can attract a player like Patrick Dangerfield. You want to make sure he sees a future."

In his later years as a player, Lappin watched the Lions fall away after their historic "threepeat" premiership run (2001-03).

As an assistant he's seen Geelong avoid a similar fate after the Cats' own three flags (2007, '09, '11).

"At Brisbane, we were managed pretty heavily as older guys," Lappin said.

"We didn't get a lot of access to our kids coming through ... and even when we did, as senior players, we didn't spend as much time with them as these guys do (at Geelong) with theirs. They invest a lot back into the younger players.

"That's not to say we didn't, just the workloads were a fair bit different."

Lappin looks after the team attack, "a bit of" development and is the ruck coach and training co-ordinator at Geelong.

"I wear a lot of different hats," the 41-year-old said, adding that he has no inclination to try his hand at senior coaching yet.

"I'm not saying five years down the track I won't think about it," he said.

For now the focus is on helping Scott get the Cats into another grand final.

"We feel like our best is good enough," he said. "But we've got a very formidable opponent on their deck to knock off."

Topics:  chris scott geelong cats nigel lappin

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