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Bullied Cats hoping to avoid a Bloods-bath

Football

As evidenced by five losses in their past six meetings, Geelong have done plenty wrong in their most recent AFL encounters with Sydney.

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Not least of those issues have been sluggish starts.

Back in round 20 at Simonds Stadium, the Swans jumped out of the blocks with a seven goals-to-two first quarter and went on to win by 46 points.

It was a near carbon copy of last year’s preliminary final at the MCG, when Sydney effectively had the match in the bag by quarter-time when they led by 39 points and went on to win by 37.

The Swans go into tomorrow night’s semi-final at the MCG as the form team in the competition, having won 15 of their past 17 matches.

The Cats are coming off a 51-point hiding at the hands of Richmond – their first loss to the Tigers in 11 years.

Another tardy start will likely prove fatal for a team which has won only two of nine finals since lifting the premiership cup back in 2011.

So what can the Cats do to try and prevent it happening again?

“You can play into the opposition’s hands by thinking you’re only going to defend,” said Geelong coach Chris Scott.

“Often that means you’re defending deep in your back half when the opposition are fresh and really blitzing and that can put a lot pressure on.

“There’s a really good argument to say that the best way to defend, if you’re going to go with that mode, is to defend right up in your forward half.”

The main reason behind the shock omission of clever forward Daniel Menzel for the qualifying final against Richmond was his lack of defensive pressure.

But with Geelong managing only a paltry five goals against the Tigers, Menzel is certain to be recalled against the Swans.

It is hoped he will be a major contributor both in attack and when the Cats are attempting to lock the ball inside their forward 50.

-AAP

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