Geelong’s Jake Kolodjashnij is confident the AFL’s top-ranked defence can contain Melbourne.A tried and tested finals side with superstar power and the No.1 defence in the AFL versus the talented finals new boys, who have the top-ranked attack fuelled by youthful exuberance.
Geelong’s elimination final clash with Melbourne at the MCG on Friday night is a classic contest waiting to happen.
The fifth-placed Demons have taken plenty of the limelight as they surged into their first finals campaign since 2006, while the Cats enter their third finals series in a row and seventh in eight years under Chris Scott.
Geelong were the last team to qualify, locking down eighth spot with successive 100-point plus beltings of Fremantle and Gold Coast, but it’s their stingy defence that makes them a legitimate premiership contender.
“The boys are really proud that we locked in the No.1 defence in the competition,” defender-turned-wingman Jake Kolodjashnij told AAP.
“Scarlo (assistant coach Matthew Scarlett) showed us a stat early on … if you’re in the top five in team defence at the end of the season then you’re in contention for the flag.
“So that was our goal and to finish No.1 is a great result.”
The weight of numbers will likely be against the Cats’ defenders, with the Demons generating the most inside 50s of any team through the regular season.
Scott’s men lost the inside 50 count by a wide margin when the sides met in round one and round 18, but still conjured tight wins in both games.
Melbourne are the most inexperienced finals team in the top eight, but Simon Goodwin has built a powerful game that also saw them top the league in hitouts, contested possessions, tackles and marks inside 50.
“I’m sure Melbourne are going to be up and about for their first finals series in a while,” Kolodjashij said.
“A lot of those guys haven’t played finals before so it could be an area where we can potentially get on the front foot early.
“We just want to try to slow them up a it and defend strongly as a team.
“I think we’ve given ourselves the best opportunity to play some good finals footy, I feel like we’re in a really good spot.”