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Straight-sets exit from finals will drive disappointed Cats, vows Chris Scott 

Highlights: Geelong v North Melbourne The Cats and Roos clash in semi final 2
Tom Hawkins of the Cats celebrates a goal during the AFL 2014 Second Semi Final match between the Geelong Cats and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at the MCG, Melbourne on September 12, 2014. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Tom Hawkins almost dragged the Cats over the line in the final minutes
I'm incredibly disappointed right at the moment, but really driven and motivated, even at this disappointing time, to improve and get better
Geelong coach Chris Scott
GEELONG became the first top-four side since 2007 to exit the finals in straight sets but coach Chris Scott remained proud of his players' effort against North Melbourne on Friday night. 

Having suffered a six-goal loss to Hawthorn in week one of the finals, the Cats bowed out of the premiership race with a narrow defeat at the hands of the Kangaroos.

Yet Scott's men refused to go down without a fight, coming back from 32 points down in the last quarter to lose by one straight kick.

"It's bitterly disappointing," Scott said. "We genuinely believed that if we could deliver our best, we could beat anyone.

"Unfortunately, the last fortnight wasn't good enough. We accept that. We're not going to hide away from it, we're not going to give excuses and make complaints.

"We were poor at times tonight. The opposition were excellent, but we found a way to get ourselves back into the contest and give ourselves a chance. And, as a club, we are incredibly proud of our players.

"We're proud of our players and the fight that they showed and, as a club, we have an opportunity to keep moving in the right direction.

"I'm incredibly disappointed right at the moment, but really driven and motivated, even at this disappointing time, to improve and get better."

Scott conceded that the Cats' effort in the opening quarter, in which they allowed the Roos to boot seven of the first nine goals, was "disastrous".

But he added: "We fell six points short in a final, so I don't think it was a disastrous performance (overall), even though it feels it.

"I'm not going to go into detailed post-mortems of our season tonight, because I am a bit emotional. I'm extremely disappointed.

"But I will say that we just found a way through the year. When the heat was on, and it would've been too difficult for lesser characters, our guys found a way.

"It was a little bit that way tonight. We put ourselves in a position where we might be able to steal it, but unfortunately we just weren't quite good enough.

"The most important thing, at least from my perspective at times like these, is that I think we're pretty good winners and it's important to us that we're gracious losers as well.

"The opposition were really good last week and tonight. It doesn't make us feel any better, but it's important we go about it the right way.

"When this disappointment subsides a little bit, I think we'll find a few positives."

Scott had plenty of praise for big forward Tom Hawkins, who kicked five goals, including three in six minutes deep into the last quarter.

"He was outstanding," Scott said. "Late in the game was the part that impressed me the most. 

"When the game had to be won and someone needed to stand up, our 26-year-old captain (Joel Selwood) and our 26-year-old key forward were the ones that really took it upon themselves."

But Scott was very disappointed that his team laid only 59 tackles a week after it managed the same number in its loss to Hawthorn.

"It's not good enough," he said. "It's an area we have identified and we will fix it or we'll die trying."

Mathew Stokes was one of many experienced Geelong players to perform well below expectations against North.

Stokes, who was probably the Cats' most consistent player in the first half of the season, managed just 12 disposals.

And Scott conceded that the usually prolific midfielder had struggled to overcome the serious ankle injury he suffered against Gold Coast in round 14.

"It's a frustrating thing when your body won't let you do the things you know you can when you're fully fit," Scott said.

"Stokesy had a great first half of the year and not so good in the second half, and you'd have your head in the sand to say that wasn't a contributing factor."