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Cats aim to tackle "disgraceful" form slump

Football

Geelong coach Chris Scott says it's too simplistic for any AFL club - including his own - to claim that a recent poor run of form is just a blip.

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In what is shaping as an uncommonly even AFL competition, most of the early pacesetters have come crashing down in recent weeks.

The fifth-placed Cats and seventh-ranked Richmond have both dropped their past three matches, while ladder leaders Adelaide have suffered heavy losses to North Melbourne and Melbourne after starting the season on a withering 6-0 run.

Geelong play at their revamped Simonds Stadium against the Western Bulldogs tonight as two of the six teams with 5-3 win-loss records.

Scott was particularly scathing of the “disgraceful” tackling performance by the Cats in their last-start loss to Essendon and is expecting an immediate response.

“I think every club is unsure when they go through a little period of less than their best performances and we’re not alone in that,” Scott told reporters.

“A few weeks ago a lot of well-reasoned people were talking about how good Adelaide were and how hard they were going to be to beat and they’ve had a couple of bad weeks as well.

“I think it’s sticking your head in the sand to say `it’s only a temporary lapse of form and we can click our fingers and fix it in a week’.

“Every club across the competition has their weaknesses at the moment and things are pretty finely balanced, irrespective of how good your previous couple of weeks have been.

“We’re acutely aware of where we have some issues right at the moment (but) we do our best not to expand on those too much publicly.”

Geelong will be strengthened by the return from injury of hard-running midfielder Scott Selwood and key defender Lachie Henderson for the match at Simonds Stadium, which now boats an increased capacity of 36,000.

The Bulldogs have brought back a host of stars including skipper Bob Murphy, key forward Travis Cloke, defender Dale Morris and midfielder Mitch Wallis, who plays his first senior match since breaking a leg in round 18 last year.

Highly-rated onballer Tom Liberatore is the biggest name among the omissions.

-AAP

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