GEELONG coach Chris Scott has revealed it was Gary Rohan's hit on Lachie Neale that sparked a war of words with the Brisbane Brownlow medallist on Friday night.
Cats skipper Joel Selwood and midfielder Cam Guthrie were required to pull their coach away from a group of Lions players – including Neale – during a fiery exchange at quarter-time of Geelong's nail-biting one-point win.
Rohan will be looked at for a swinging arm that floored Neale and prompted the Lion to issue the Cats forward a three-finger gesture to suggest he may be facing a three-week ban.
However, Scott insisted Rohan simply struck Neale in the chest, after the Lions midfielder got Rohan in the same spot moments earlier.
"I was walking onto the ground and Lachie Neale just said to me something, I couldn't understand exactly what he said, but something about Gary Rohan," Scott said post-game.
"And I said I'm happy to have that conversation with you if you like, I've seen the vision and I'm comfortable with it. I suspect he didn't hear all of that. That's all that was said.
"They (Lions players) weren't paying me compliments but I didn't say anything after that.
"I thought Neale struck Gary on the chest and then Gary struck him on the chest. I'm certainly not saying he (Neale) did the wrong thing, that's footy. I had a pretty good look at what Gary did and I'm comfortable with it."
Neale was held to three disposals in a frustrating first half by new-found Cats tagger Mark O'Connor.
Scott conceded his side was off their best against the Lions after surrendering a 25-point lead before Isaac Smith kicked the match-winner late.
CATS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats
But the coach said he was relieved to even the season ledger at 1-1 after a hapless performance in the season-opener against Adelaide six days earlier.
Scott said recruit Jeremy Cameron (hamstring) would likely "be another couple of games" away, while Mitch Duncan (calf) will push his case for an Easter Monday recall by playing a half in a VFL practice match on Saturday.
Despite again kicking inaccurately in front of goal, as they did on numerous occasions in 2020, the Lions had the chance to win the match late with a missed snap from medical substitute Keidean Coleman before Zac Bailey was denied a holding-the-ball call on Mark Blicavs on the goal line.
Lions coach Chris Fagan refused to buy into the controversial final passage of play.
"I never comment on umpiring decisions. I haven't in the four years I've coached so I'm not going to start now. I don't think it's constructive," Fagan said.
"I think we missed chances throughout the game. I thought we played pretty well in the first half but kicked inaccurately.
"If you look back through the game, you'll see opportunities that we had to score, and we didn't take them. We ended up with four more shots than Geelong, so it wasn't just at the end, it was at different phases throughout the game."
Fagan said he was yet to learn of his side's next steps following the COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland that required the Lions players, coaches and officials to receive an exemption from the Victorian government for the game to go ahead.
"I wasn't sure (pre-game), I thought there was a chance it could be called off. I'm glad it wasn't, it was one of the better games of Aussie Rules you'll ever see," Fagan said.
"We're flying back (to Brisbane) tomorrow but that could change as we know, life changes pretty quickly these days. I have no idea about that, we'll be ready to just do what we have to do."