GEELONG will contest its sixth preliminary final in 10 years under Chris Scott on Saturday night – and has the chance to flip the narrative.

Similar to LeBron James' much-debated NBA Finals record, the Cats are mocked for falling short rather than lauded for their ability to be a perennial contender.

Critics even cast aside Scott's 2011 premiership in his first season in charge, saying a strong list was gift-wrapped to him from previous coach Mark Thompson.

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Since then, Geelong's won only five of the 17 finals its played, including going down in all four preliminary finals in that time.

So here the Cats are again, one triumph from another Grand Final – this time with a rampaging Brisbane at the Gabba standing in their way.

As fans of the blue and white hoops nervously await what's to come, has looked back at how the five previous preliminary finals under Scott were won or lost.


Geelong 17.15 (117) d West Coast 10.9 (69) at the MCG

The Cats' stars of yesteryear jump off the page: Jimmy Bartel, Paul Chapman, Matthew Scarlett, Steve Johnson, Joel Corey, Corey Enright and more. Mitch Duncan, Tom Hawkins, Joel Selwood, Harry Taylor and current Lion Allen Christensen played that day, too. They kicked the first four goals before the Eagles rallied to close within 10 points in the second term. However, Geelong kicked away again and the second half was a cakewalk. James Kelly (29 disposals) and Andrew Mackie (27) were the Cats' leading ball-winners, while strong-marking James Podsiadly slotted 3.3. There was still reason for concern, with Johnson exiting in the third quarter with a knee injury. Not until much later was it discovered he dislocated his left kneecap and sustained ligament damage. Johnson somehow made it to the Grand Final start line – and excelled – thanks to pain-killing injections and icing throughout the week that he hid from his teammates.

The Cats celebrate victory over the Eagles in the 2011 preliminary final. Picture: AFL Photos
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Hawthorn 14.18 (102) d Geelong 15.7 (97) at the MCG

The heartache begins. This was the game where the 'Kennett Curse' ended, and a week later the Hawks started their flag three-peat. The Cats won 11 straight matches over Hawthorn after losing the 2008 Grand Final, starting after an infamous quote from Hawks president Jeff Kennett: "What they don't have, I think, is the quality of some of our players. They don't have the psychological drive we have. We've beaten Geelong when it matters." It seemed the Cats were going to register a 12th victory in a row when they led by 20 points at three-quarter time. The Hawks had other ideas, storming over the top of Scott's men, albeit some woeful misses made it harder for them. Shaun Burgoyne and Jack Gunston were the heroes, releasing each other for the last two goals of the game. Burgoyne put Hawthorn in front for good inside the last six minutes. Geelong had one last chance to tie the game in the final minute, but Travis Varcoe's shot from general play, about 35m out, missed to the right.

There was heartbreak for the Cats in 2013 as Shaun Burgoyne put the Hawks over the line. Picture: AFL Photos

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Sydney 15.7 (97) d Geelong 8.12 (60) at the MCG

The Swans effectively had the game won inside 26 minutes. Kurt Tippett and Luke Parker booted a pair of goals apiece as Sydney slammed on the opening seven majors. The Cats never gained a foothold in the contest. A young Tom Papley finished with a match-high three goals, while Isaac Heeney amassed 28 disposals and six clearances and Dan Hannebery, Lance Franklin and then-Swan Tom Mitchell were also prominent. Slow finals starts became part of Geelong's tale of woe. The first term in this one was the second of four times in 12 finals the Cats were goalless at quarter-time. Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood did everything they could to keep Geelong competitive. They both gathered 39 possessions, as well as laying 11 tackles between them. Even then, the numbers probably exaggerated their influence. Incredibly, the Cats had 32 more inside 50s – the most deceiving statistic of the night.

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Adelaide 21.10 (136) d Geelong 10.15 (75) at Adelaide Oval

What was that about slow starts? The Crows rattled off nine of the first 10 goals on this occasion, and led by 48 points barely six minutes into the second term. Game over for the Cats, again. They wilted under Adelaide's fierce pressure and offensive firepower, and the final margin would've been worse if not for Selwood (34 touches), Dangerfield (24, two goals) – against his old side – and Steven Motlop (26). Back-to-back Dangerfield and Selwood goals actually cut the difference to only 27 points before half-time, but it was a false dawn. The Crows had an army of contributors, but none was better than Brad Crouch (29, 10 tackles, eight clearances), Charlie Cameron (five goals) and Rory Laird (32). Making the result tougher for Geelong was the match marked a disappointing end for retiring premiership players Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan.

Tom Lonergan and Andrew Mackie bowed out after the loss to Adelaide. Picture: AFL Photos

Richmond 12.13 (85) d Geelong 9.12 (66) at the MCG

The Tigers were riding a 10-match winning streak and desperate to make amends for what happened against Collingwood at the same stage 12 months earlier. However, not even the suspended Tom Hawkins' absence could stop the Cats from mounting an upset bid. After the club's horror beginnings in recent finals, Geelong was instead up by 21 points at half-time. Richmond was staggering and all the Cats had to deliver was the knockout blow, but it all unravelled in a hurry. Damien Hardwick's Tigers piled on the first five goals of the third quarter – two to high-profile recruit Tom Lynch – to snatch the lead for good. The margin remained close, and Tim Kelly even sliced it to five points in the final term, but Lynch's fifth major provided the impetus for the yellow and black to power away. Kelly was superb with 31 disposals and three goals in what proved his final game for Geelong.

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