GEELONG star Patrick Dangerfield says it is “laughable” to suggest Cats players will be affected by discussion around the venue of their home AFL qualifying final.
Coach Chris Scott has expressed his frustration with the Cats being scheduled to face Collingwood at the MCG instead of GMHBA Stadium.
However, Dangerfield said that debate would not affect the way Geelong’s players handled the game against the Magpies.
“We’ll control what we can as players and we’ll go out and play wherever that is. To suggest that it alters our focus is laughable,” Dangerfield said on Wednesday.
Dangerfield’s comments came after Scott said it was “absurd” to suggest his complaints would negatively affect his players.
“Depends how highly you rate them — if you think that they’re psychological minnows, then maybe it could be a problem,” Scott said on SEN radio on Tuesday.
“I don’t think they are, I’m sure they’re not. I think that’s absurd in the extreme.”
Teammate Gary Ablett said the Cats were fully focused on the game at hand, not its venue.
“Look, it’d be nice to have a home final, that’s for sure,” Ablett said.
“But at the same time, we’re ready to go wherever that game is.
“Obviously it’s going to be the MCG on Friday night and we’re all super excited about that.
“And that’s something that the club will deal with and as players we’re just going to focus on what we can control and get ready for the Pies.”
When asked whether the fixturing of Geelong home finals was something the AFL should “look into”, Ablett agreed but was reluctant to expand further.
“I think so (the AFL should look into it). I think Scotty’s been pretty vocal about that and I’ll leave it at that,” he said.
Ablett said the players’ confidence levels wouldn’t be affected by the ongoing discussion.
“We know what we need to focus on and that’s training,” he said.
“Scotty’s been fantastic around the club and I don’t think it will affect us. We’ll be ready to go wherever we play.”
The Cats have also come under scrutiny for their form after bye rounds in recent seasons, which included a heavy loss to Port Adelaide off the back of this year’s mid-season break.
“We’re not concerned about it at all,” Dangerfield said.
“We played against a really good side in good form at the time in Port Adelaide.”
In recent years, the Cats lost their 2017 qualifying final to Richmond, while they were knocked out by Melbourne in a 2018 elimination final.
“You can look holistically and say ‘oh there’s a pattern’. But every year is different. This team is different,” Dangerfield said.
“And every game that you play after a bye or a rest or the start of a season is separate.
“So yeah, we’re not concerned about it.”
© AAP 2019