West Coast’s ability to win free kicks – exhibited here by Ashton Hams – has Geelong coach Chris Scott worried ahead of Friday night.Geelong coach Chris Scott fears West Coast’s vastly-superior ability to win free kicks this season could hurt the Cats in Friday night’s AFL clash in Perth unless his players tighten their discipline.
The Cats are the competition’s worst offenders in the free kick count, while the Eagles have enjoyed the best returns in that department, particularly at home at Patersons Stadium.
Scott said some free kicks were unavoidable if players attacked contests fiercely, but the Cats had given away too many cheap ones.
“We have spent a lot of time on the fact that we are No.1 in the comp for frees against,” Scott told reporters on Tuesday.
“Lazy free kicks, falling into someone’s back or just going a little bit high in a tackle is the stuff that we need to fix up.
“It will be a huge factor in the contested ball numbers.
“You’ve got the best in the comp against the worst in the comp.
“If that continues, that’s going to really put us behind the eight ball.”
Geelong also have to combat what is expected to be a lopsided hit-out count the Eagles’ way.
First-year Cat Orren Stephenson will again carry most of the ruck load, with Trent West (knee) still out.
But while Eagles star duo Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui are expected to dominate in the air, Scott hopes his midfielders can still control the game at ground level, as Fremantle did against West Coast last round.
“You can assume that Naitanui and Cox will get their hands to the ball more often than our ruckmen,” Scott said.
“In some respects, that makes it a little bit more predictable.
“But we don’t want to be completely reactive to them … even though we might not get first hands to the ball in the ruck contest, we’ve got to work hard to make sure we get first possession.”
Geelong defender Josh Hunt (quad) is likely to miss the match, although the Cats have not ruled him out.
Veteran speedster David Wojcinski could return from a hamstring injury.
“He’s a player that we’d like to get back into our AFL team, particularly at Subiaco – the big ground would really suit him,” Scott said. Follow WAtoday on Twitter
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