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Scott rapt with result

Peter Ryan - AFL Media  May 20, 2017 12:26 AM

Chris Scott post-match Watch Geelong's press conference after round nine's match against the Western Bulldogs
AFL 2017 Round 09 - Geelong v Western Bulldogs

Chris Scott speaks to his men during the win over the Dogs

IMPROVED structure and method around the contest was as responsible for Geelong's record-breaking tackle count as their intent, according to Cats' coach Chris Scott.

The Cats tackled like madmen from start to finish to lay 134 tackles and set a new club record in the process.

Three Cats, Mitch Duncan, Scott Selwood (with 17 tackles apiece) and Patrick Dangerfield (12 tackles), set personal bests for tackles as the team responded to fierce criticism that flowed during the week after laying just 12 tackles in the first half against Essendon. 

Scott said it was misleading to think effort was the sole reason the performance changed between weeks, although the sight of big key forward Tom Hawkins running down Western Bulldogs' captain Bob Murphy in the final quarter showed the effort was at a higher level than it had been in recent times.

"There were some important structural shifts as well as much better structure and method around the contest, which to be honest was just as pleasing as the intent," Scott said.

The Cats had arrived knowing they had to tackle and pressure well to win the game and put those intentions into action, laying 28 tackles in the first quarter before unleashing the third most tackles in a quarter in history in the second term with 43. 

"If we had sat as far off the contest as we did the previous week, in particular, they would have cut a swathe through us," Scott said. 

"If you don't tackle and pressure well against them you're in trouble."

However, Geelong looked to have used up all its petrol tickets when the Bulldogs kicked six unanswered goals in the third quarter to take a nine-point lead into the final term.

The Bulldogs won uncontested possessions 62-46 in that quarter and were finding space as Caleb Daniel added an extra number at the stoppages and flicked the ball into far-flung corners of the ground. 

However, Scott made changes at three-quarter time that put the game back on Geelong's terms, guarding the fat side of the ground much better and making it harder for the Bulldogs to switch the play and create outside run.

"We just got too skinny. There were other things that were going on, but in simple terms they were able to get the ball through the middle and we got stuck on the skinny side of the ground," Scott said.

It wasn't just tackling that made the difference however.

Harry Taylor was rewarded with five goals while Dangerfield was electrifying, kicking four goals and having 36 touches.

Some of his five centre clearances were extraordinary as he burst forward with only Joel Selwood matching him in that area, the duo's ability to find space on one half of the square to launch the ball forward proving crucial. 

"It was a pretty special game [from Dangerfield]," Scott said.

And importantly, Scott said, the team's leaders had kept perspective leading into the game when all around appeared to be losing theirs.  

"Professionals should treat every game and every contest in isolation," Scott said.