Tom Stewart says there is plenty to be positive about following Geelong’s Round 9 loss to Richmond at the MCG on Friday night.
The Cats won the disposal (357-342), inside 50 (57-56) and clearance (48-31) counts but the Tigers were too clinical running out 24-point victors.
“Obviously the loss isn’t something we came here to get but we gave ourselves plenty of opportunities. They probably capitalised a lot more and gave themselves a few better looks, but there is so much to take from tonight,” Stewart told geelongcats.com.au post game.
Geelong fielded six players 20 years of age and under and Stewart believes they’ll benefit from the experience of playing on the big stage.
“Friday night footy, probably fifty or sixty thousand people, it’s hard to emulate that sort of feeling at training, so they’ll be better for it and they’ll learn so much.
“I think they’ll see a lot of positives in their own performances. I thought there were some really good individual and collective things out there.
“We’re not by any means in love with ourselves at the moment. We found some form and won five on the trot but now we’ve dropped one so we are right back in the pack so plenty of learnings from all of us as a whole and we will be alright.”
Debutant Jhye Clark was among those six players under 20 on Friday night and Stewart had the honour of presenting Jhye with his jumper pre-game.
Clark entered the game in the second half, finishing with six disposals, five tackles and a centre clearance in just 25% time on ground.
“I think he came on and had real impact, which was fantastic to see from a young player, but he’s only going to get better.”
For the first time in 77 games the Cats were the younger side on Friday night and Stewart says the continued improvement of the younger players is only going to make Geelong a better side, something that senior coach Chris Scott addressed with the team.
“We are not by any means waiting for them to be complete players, we want them to come in and help us.
“Scotty articulated it quite well at half time. There is no apprenticeship, we want these guys to come in and take our spots, it is going to make us better players and it is going to elevate our football club.”
The Cats will now turn their attention to playing the Dockers in Perth on Saturday 20 May at 4.35pm.