Chris Scott suffers a blow. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Geelong's top-two chances suffered a blow with the upset loss to North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium with coach Chris Scott admitting his side "blew it" on Friday night.
The third-placed Sydney Swans have the opportunity to leapfrog the Cats into second spot with a win against the lowly Western Bulldogs on Sunday, but Scott was more concerned with his side's inability to establish its own style of play against the Roos after the 10-pint defeat.
"We're disappointed in the performance," Scott said.
"The game wasn't played the way that we planned it to be played, particularly early. We worked our way back into the game in the second half and started to look pretty good.
"It was disappointing for everyone. We were able to get enough chances I thought, but we blew some golden opportunities and then when the game was really on we just couldn't break it open enough.
"In terms of what we planned as opposed to what we delivered there was a fair gap.
"This was an important game for us and we're disappointed that we blew it."
The Kangaroos' run and carry, particularly in the second quarter, troubled Geelong with the Cats also finishing with 99 fewer possessions than North.
Scott, however, was unconcerned with the lopsided disposal count, which he said had more to do with the differing styles of play of the two teams.
"I don't think you can look at the stats and say one side was dominant over the other," he said.
"You've got to look at the stats relative to the style of game that the teams are trying to play.
"They do play that style of game really well – I think everyone in the world knew that going into this game, but we just didn't close it down well enough.
"Generally the way that we play is more about what we want to do and we couldn't do that well enough, which meant that the things the opposition were doing were really exacerbated."
Scott singled out livewire Steven Motlop, who finished with 21 touches and three goals, for special praise, but admitted the ruck-tall forward rotation of Trent West, Nathan Vardy and Mark Blicavs had failed to fire alongside Tom Hawkins in the absence of the suspended James Podsiadly.
"We have some faith in the guys that we had on the park tonight, but they're all very inexperienced," he said.
"Trent West has been around for a while, but I think he's just played 50 games and Mark Blicavs – I think everyone's across his story - and Nathan Vardy hasn't played much footy and has just come back from a serious injury.
"We're going to have to put some thought into exactly how we manage that situation, but against a really high quality ruckman we were pretty soundly beaten there."