The Scott boys: Rival coaches Brad and Chris Scott. Photo: Pat Scala
GEELONG coach Chris Scott has labelled his twin brother Brad's admission that North Melbourne is ''not ashamed'' to copy parts of the Cats' successful game plan as a ''recipe for disaster''.
The Kangaroos beat the Cats by 17 points last weekend, adopting elements of the Geelong brand: running and carrying the ball with fast, sharp movement and handball chains up the ground.
While Brad Scott said the Kangaroos ''are not ashamed to admit we have tried to emulate a lot of what Geelong has done over the last few years'', Chris threw some words of caution.
''Are we talking about the past? Because I'm sure they don't want to be last for hard-ball gets and second-last for uncontested possessions,'' he said of Geelong's performance this season, which has yielded one win.
''Maybe they [North Melbourne] are playing a brand that Geelong has played in the past. I think that's a recipe for disaster. I'd be surprised if he is modelling their game on the way footy was played a year or two ago, because the game has come along so quickly.''
Chris said Geelong needed to focus more on itself rather than opposing sides to regain its flag-winning form.
''The opposition doesn't play into our thinking too much. We just think we can play better footy against anyone,'' he said.
''[But] we are not playing the way we want to play. We are too easy to score against at the moment, and not by design. We are very low in terms of getting hands on the ball, both in hard situations and also out in space.''
Despite younger players coming through the ranks after the departures of former captain Cameron Ling and premiership ruckman Brad Ottens, as well as missing several other senior players through injuries, Chris said inexperience wasn't hurting the Cats.
''We have a little bit more inexperience than we have had at other times, but those guys [that have come into the team] are going OK. We have a critical mass of players who aren't playing as well as they can.''
Triple premiership player Paul Chapman had just 12 disposals against the Kangaroos - his fewest touches in a game since round 21, 2009.
''He's not up to his usual lofty standards, but that is a pretty hard level to maintain,'' Scott said. ''We are expecting him to get back to his best really quickly.''
Scott said another 10 or 12 players were performing below their usual standards. ''But it's early in the season. While we know we have to get on top of it quickly … we are not panicking yet.''
Partly why the alarm bells aren't ringing at Kardinia Park is because Scott's team is still fiercely competitive and has lost its two games by just four and 17 points.
''There are positives to be drawn,'' the coach said. ''We still have the basis of an extremely competitive group. The competitive instincts are still there, they're just not as consistent or happening as early in games as we would like.
''But … it's not as if that ability has left the building. It can be turned around really quickly with a few minor tweaks.''
Scott will be hoping his words turn to actions - like when the Cats defeated Hawthorn in round two after an undisciplined performance cost them the season-opener against Fremantle - in time for Sunday's clash with Richmond at Simonds Stadium.
The Tigers look set to be at full strength when they journey down the highway, unlike Geelong, which is still missing key defender Matthew Scarlett, who is serving the last game of a three-match ban, while Andrew Mackie is in doubt after splitting his lip in a hefty collision against the Kangaroos last Sunday.
''He certainly hasn't been ruled out,'' Scott said. ''He has got a little bit of a split lip but that goes for about half a dozen of our guys who have got little cuts and bruises. The question is, can we be convinced that he is over the knock to his head?
''We don't even try to test him until later in the week.''
Veteran defender David Wojcinski is set to make his long-awaited return from a foot injury in the VFL tomorrow night, where he is expected to play half the match against Werribee.
Scott is confident Wojcinski will return to the senior line-up soon. ''He has trained really strongly and we are hoping to get a good performance from him.
''It'd be nice to have him back in the next fortnight or so.''