RELIABLE Geelong defender Jake Kolodjashnij says halting the Western Bulldogs’ free-flowing style of play will be crucial to the Cats maintaining its two-game buffer on top of the AFL ladder.
The two clubs meet for the second time in less than two months, and Kolodjashnij says Geelong was able to take some lessons out of its 44-point win over the Dogs at GMHBA Stadium in Round 9.
“The Doggies really like speed on the game, they’re quite talented, and they’re a really skilful team,” Kolodjashnij said.
“Plus playing at Marvel, they’re going to be a really dangerous threat, so we’ve got to be up for the challenge.
“I think it’s going to be a real key for us to slow them up the best we can.”
While the margin appeared comfortable at 44 points in their last meeting, the Bulldogs get as close as nine points in the final quarter before the Cats pulled away with the last six goals of the match.
Kolodjashnij admits there were times the Doggies were able to open up Geelong’s defence, and he says counteracting that has been discussed during the week.
“Just being really connected in defence, and our forwards really trying to slow them up and cut out their 45 (degree) kicks,” he said.
“And they really like to lower their eyes going inside 50, so we’ve got be right up on those leads.”
Kolodjashnij is preparing himself for a match-up with Marcus Bontempelli when he heads forward out of the midfield and has spent the week watching plenty of match footage of the star Bulldog.
“The Doggies are really good at hitting up at the footy, and I think Bontempelli’s really good with his forward craft like that,” he said.
“So, (finding) plenty of body early, and watching plenty of vision of how they like to enter the ball (inside 50).
“That’s front of mind when I’m playing on blokes like that.”
Also front of mind for Kolodjashnii is kicking his first goal at AFL level.
The 23-year-old will play his 85th game against the Bulldogs and admits its time to break his duck.
“I wasn’t too fussed about the 60-game mark, but now it’s getting closer and closer to the 100-game mark now, I wouldn’t mind getting on the board now,” Kolodjashnij said.
“Hopefully on Saturday.”
To listen to Jake Kolodjashnij’s media conference in-full, click below