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Unbeaten Cats still a level below AFL frontrunners, says Chris Scott

Post-match: Cats Watch Geelong coach Chris Scott's post-match press conference
Steve Johnson (left) and Tom Hawkins of the Cats celebrate during the 2014 AFL round 03 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Geelong Cats at the MCG, Melbourne on April 05, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Steve Johnson (l) and Tom Hawkins combined to perfection at times at the MCG on Saturday night
GEELONG coach Chris Scott has played down his team's form, despite the Cats opening the season with three straight wins.

Scott's men continued the impressive start to their 2014 campaign when they edged out Collingwood by 11 points on Saturday night.

The victory propelled them to third place on the ladder "without playing that well", according to the coach.

"We're really aware, especially after watching (Hawthorn beat Fremantle) last night, that we need to improve a lot," Scott said in his post-game press conference.

"I don't think this game was anywhere near that one. Even the team that lost last night was probably better than us, I thought.

"Yeah, we're three and zip, but it doesn't really feel like it at the moment.

"So the positive is that the win-loss looks good. But we've still got a lot of work to do on our game."

Scott was relieved rather than elated that his team was able to battle its way to victory in a contest that featured plenty of pressure and plenty of mistakes from both sides.

"I didn’t think we were playing that well for the majority of the game," Scott said.

"So when you're just trying to scrap and find a way through the first three quarters, the message really at three-quarter time was to just keep it a bit more simple.

"I know there were some complex things happening off the ball. Both sides were trying to get the game on their terms to an extent.

"But, really, it was the simple stuff. We had a bit of space, kicked the ball forward and won contests from there."

The heroes for the Cats were key forward Tom Hawkins, who kicked three goals in the last quarter, and key defender Tom Lonergan, who held Travis Cloke goalless.

Lonergan's physical tactics against Cloke enraged the Collingwood supporters, but they were deemed legal thanks to the umpires' more lenient interpretations of contact in marking contests.

"I'm only prepared to talk about Tom, not Travis or the umpires," Scott said. "I thought he was outstanding. I won't elaborate any more than that."

A number of the Cats' young players stood up in the heat of battle, with Cameron Guthrie playing a particularly valuable tagging role on Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury.

"The thing we love about Guthrie is he's very good in that negating role but he wins contests as well," Scott said.

"Some of those contested marks towards the end – there's almost no safer player in our team in that situation, which is a big rap."

Geelong hosts fellow unbeaten team West Coast at Simonds Stadium next Saturday night.

With big men Dean Cox, Nic Naitanui and Callum Sinclair working well together for the Eagles, the Cats are likely to play their own trio of ruckmen – Hamish McIntosh, Dawson Simpson and Mark Blicavs – for the fourth game running.

"It makes sense, I think," Scott said. "The most logical thing is to take in the big guys, given we've done it in every game so far this year, but (it's) not a fait accompli."

Gun defender Corey Enright, who was a late withdrawal from the team that beat Collingwood after failing to recover from an ankle injury, is only a 50-50 chance to line up against West Coast.

"We're confident it's not a long-term thing," Scott said. "We're anticipating he'll be right to play, but (the medicos) can't guarantee it."

Twitter: @AFL_AdamMcNicol