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Top-four finish might be too much, admits Scott

Tom Hawkins “had his moments”

GEELONG coach Chris Scott hasn’t given up hope of the Cats challenging for the premiership despite admitting they’ll have to do it without the safety net of the double finals chance.

Thursday night’s 15-point loss to a resurgent Adelaide at Adelaide Oval leaves the Cats (9-6) seventh on the ladder and eight points adrift of fourth-placed Port Adelaide.

The Cats could even slip as low as 10th by the end of the round if Hawthorn, North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney win their respective games this weekend.

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“Top four’s probably a little bit of a stretch, mathematically. I’ve got to stop saying it because I’ve said it enough, but the team that is playing really, really well towards the end of the year could win it from anywhere,” Scott said.

“It’s just a fact if you play really well and win every week you play, then a hot five or six weeks could be enough.

“So, I wouldn’t rule that out by any stretch.”

To do that, the Cats will have to cut out the skill errors that caused their demise against the Crows.

Geelong won a lot of the key statistics, having an overwhelming share of clearances 54-27, contested possessions 169-153 and tackles 71-66.

But the Crows found more of the ball overall (410 disposals to 380) and used it better to claim victory 16.16 (112) to 14.13 (97).

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“AFL players just shouldn’t miss guys when they’re out by 30 metres, by 20,” Scott said.

“Centre bounce dominance, it was very convincing.

“All the things that reflected our appetite for the contest were very good and our motivation was tested when you blow really good chances.

“Even early in the game, we had a sitter to go four goals to one up, and we went into quarter-time, a goal down.”

Cats superstar Patrick Dangerfield turned in a trademark performance with 33 disposals (19 contested), 10 tackles, eight clearances and three goals.

Gary Ablett had one of his best games of the season with 32 touches and 10 clearances, skipper Joel Selwood and youngster Tim Kelly worked hard and key forward Tom Hawkins booted four goals.

“Like all of our players, Tom’s had his moments,” Scott said.

“We’ve had some challenges with the continuity of the personnel in our forward half, so it would help him to be playing with the same guys every week, particularly our target forwards.

“I didn’t think tonight was significantly better than the way he’s been playing, he’s been maintaining that level pretty well.”

TOMAHAWK! ?

Is Hawkins in career-best form? #AFLCrowsCats pic.twitter.com/jMvikh8YMg

— AFL (@AFL) July 12, 2018

The Cats should get swingman Harry Taylor back from a foot injury for next Saturday night’s game against Melbourne.

“That’s the feedback I’ve got, and he may benefit from a nine-day break,” Scott said.

“He hasn’t been ruled out for next week.”

Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS