JUST moments after Geelong's loss to Port Adelaide last Thursday, Chris Scott suggested it was "a bit lazy" to link another finals loss with his club's record in such games.  

It was a defeat that took the Cats' finals standing to 4-12 since the 2011 flag – Scott's first season at the helm.  

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The Cats went to Adelaide as underdogs against a team playing on their own patch and had lost only three games for the season. 

While they should've been further in front at half-time, the Cats were swamped in the third term before falling by 16 points. 

As Scott said himself on Friday, Geelong needed to better "execute" in key moments. 

But the loss continued a pattern in finals that just won't go away. 

And while the overall record is an easy link to make, these are the underlying factors that continue to see the Cats fall short in finals.  

PLAYERS UNDERPERFORMING 

Scott often points to the difference in personnel as a key factor in why it's hard to throw the finals losses since 2012 under one umbrella.

If you wind back to the 2014 semi-final loss to North Melbourne, then it's plain to see. Just six players remain from the side that was sent packing in straight sets. 

But from the last match of the Cats' next finals series, the preliminary final in 2016 (they missed in 2015), 12 players will play against Collingwood on Saturday night at the Gabba. 

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And the club has played eight finals since. 

It has largely been a similar playing group and others added to that 2016 side include Gary Ablett, Gary Rohan and Luke Dahlhaus. All three have key finals experience. And Zach Tuohy crossed after 120 games at Carlton.  

Players (2012-2020)

H&A

Finals

Differential

Games

Avg rating

Games

Avg rating

Gary Rohan

33

8.5

2

1.5

-7.0

Gary Ablett

47

13.5

5

7.5

-6.0

Sam Menegola

73

12.9

10

7.8

-5.1

Gryan Miers

39

8.5

4

5.3

-3.2

Luke Dahlhaus

33

8.4

4

5.5

-2.9

Tom Hawkins

181

12.2

14

9.7

-2.5

Quinton Narkle

14

8.4

3

6.3

-2.1

Patrick Dangerfield

102

17.9

10

15.8

-2.1

Tom Stewart

75

7.6

8

6.1

-1.5

Mitch Duncan

177

11.9

14

10.7

-1.2

Harry Taylor

171

11.2

16

10.0

-1.2

Lachie Henderson

58

9.3

7

8.2

-1.1

Rhys Stanley

125

9.9

7

9.0

-0.9

Brandan Parfitt

61

8.7

8

7.8

-0.9

Tom Atkins

31

8.0

4

7.5

-0.5

Jake Kolodjashnij

97

6.0

10

5.6

-0.4

Mark Blicavs

161

10.0

15

9.8

-0.2

Cam Guthrie

165

9.2

12

9.8

+0.6

Mark O'Connor

43

6.7

5

7.7

+1.0

Jed Bews

91

6.7

9

8.0

+1.3

Joel Selwood

177

15.0

16

16.4

+1.4

Jack Henry

58

6.7

5

8.7

+2.0

Zach Tuohy

74

8.5

8

10.9

+2.4

Esava Ratugolea

37

6.0

3

9.0

+3.0

Of the nine players who have played 10 or more finals in the blue and white since 2012, just two perform better in finals than the home and away season. 

While many players' differentials are marginal, Sam Menegola holds the biggest gap. The West Australian has enjoyed a stellar 2020 campaign and was extremely close to All-Australian selection. 

But like others – including Rohan, Ablett and Gryan Miers – Menegola will be hoping for a more profound impact against the Pies. 

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FAILING TO STAND UP IN KEY MOMENTS

Heaping pressure on Chris Scott has often been the default position for disgruntled Cats fans because he has been one of few constants since the finals record started spiralling in 2012. 

But his game plans over the years have consistently put the Cats in winning positions in finals. 

In the last seven losing finals, it's the individual quarters that have stung Geelong.

As was the case against Port Adelaide – and as has been the case in the past four finals losses – the Cats have been outscored more in one quarter than the other three combined.  

 

Opponent

Quarter

Qtr margin

Final margin

2020, QF

Port Adelaide

3

-19

-16

2019, PF

Richmond

3

-25

-19

2019, QF

Collingwood

1

-18

-10

2018, EF

Melbourne

1

-31

-29

2017, PF

Adelaide

1

-31

-61

2017, QF

Richmond

4

-38

-51

2016, PF

Sydney

1

-39

-42

There has been a range of different reasons why the individual finals quarters have turned pear-shaped but against the Power, the Cats were beaten around the contest and went -5 in contested possessions and -8 in tackles for the third term. 

And they've been consistently caught napping in opening terms. Since 2012, the Cats have the worst differential (-140) of any team in the first quarter of finals. 

They'll need to be on from the start against the Pies. Nathan Buckley's side has lost just five opening quarters this year compared to Geelong's eight.  

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PLAYING TOO SAFE?

A portion of this analysis could be attributed to the fact that Geelong has played 13 of its 16 finals since 2011 at the MCG where the wings are wider than GMHBA Stadium. 

But statistics show that the Cats play safer when it comes to finals. 

Since 2013, the Cats kick 'long down the line' eight per cent more often in finals compared to the regular season.  

Long Down Line Kicks %

H&A Season

Finals

2013

23.6%

38.5%

2014

25.1%

32.7%

2016

33.9%

53.8%

2017

36.5%

38.0%

2018

31.4%

40.5%

2019

37.8%

40.4%

2020

31.8%

32.4%

2013-2020

31.8%

39.6%

While marginal against the Power last Thursday, the biggest differences came in 2013 and 2016. The Cats won just one game from five finals in that time. 

Going 'long down the line' can often assist Geelong in setting up defensively behind the ball.

When the pressure is amplified, it's often the safest play to get out of trouble in the back half by kicking 'long down the line' and prevents flowing scoring chains.  

LACK OF EXECUTION 

The Cats have kicked more goals than behinds in just two of 12 losing finals in the window. 

Why does that stand out so much? Because for the time in question, all eight season totals have registered more goals than behinds. 

Against the Power, the Cats had their worst accuracy performance from set shots – of any game – since 2004. 

It comes in direct contrast to the 2020 home and away season where the Cats were ranked No.2 in the competition for set shot percentage. 

This year's Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins kicked 0.5 from six efforts against the Power. 

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He had three tough shots from the pocket, two he would've expected to kick (both in the second quarter) and one from next to the point post when the game was over. 

The Cats, however, can take heart from Hawkins' record at the Gabba this year. 

In three games at the venue this year he's kicked 12.3. 

And it's the venue for the Cats' next three games – should they make it that far.