Annoyed. Irritated. Pissed off.
There was a common theme among the Geelong hierarchy at Wednesday night’s annual general meeting at the club’s inglorious end to 2018.
CEO Brian Cook and football boss Simon Lloyd both made their feelings known to the 150 members in attendance before both, along with assistant coach Matthew Scarlett, reiterated their thoughts to the media.
“They’re irritated, and they’re pretty pissed off with how they performed at the end of last year,” Cook said.
“They’re ready for change, and they’re ready to make a change, and they’re ready to do it right now.”
One of those changes has been an increase in the intensity of training pre-Christmas.
That has seen longer sessions, and Lloyd says striking a balance with players workloads and downtime has been debated between the football department and the strength and conditioning department.
“It is one of the constant battles between the conditioners, the coaches, the physios,” Lloyd said.
“But we just felt there are aspects of our game that we need to get right.
“We can’t be finishing training sessions where we’re not satisfied with what we’re trying to do and the objectives we’re trying to achieve.
“Between (head of strength and conditioning) Scott Murphy and (physio) Mark Young, they’ve worked in well with us.
“We’re still very careful; we’re not going gung-ho at this. There are longer breaks during sessions, but they’re intense.”
Cook drew parallels between this year and 2006 when addressing the crowd.
In that season, the Cats were expected to challenge after consecutive finals appearances, and Scarlett can see some similarities between this pre-season and the one heading into 2007.
“The senior players seemed a little bit more upset and shitty after the final,” he said.
“In the off-season, I saw more players back at the club earlier than previous years, which is always a good sign our guys are highly motivated.
“And they need to be because as we sit right now, we’re a mediocre team. We’re no longer a top team; we’re mediocre.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to catch the top teams. There’s no magic formula; it’s hard work, and we’ve got to toughen up a little bit.
“The guys are really motivated to get better, as are the coaches and the whole footy club.”
Scarlett believes more time on the training track is the only way Geelong can again challenge the AFL’s upper echelon.
That was highlighted by an extended session on Wednesday to round out the Cats’ pre-Christmas training block.
“There’s no easy way around it,” he said. “The players don’t want it easy; we (coaching staff) certainly don’t.
“Today’s (Wednesday’s) session was a big contest day. So a big focus on our contested footy and being able to play a brand that will stand up in finals because that never changes.
“In 100 years that hasn’t changed, so we need to improve our ability to play tougher footy for longer.”