GEELONG coach Chris Scott has stopped short of declaring his team has another tilt at a premiership in it but says he would be surprised if the Cats didn't regroup and give their players every chance in 2022.
The Cats suffered their heaviest September defeat in 52 years on Friday night, losing by 83 points and exiting the season with one finals win to show for their top-four finish.
After fielding 11 players aged 30 or over at Optus Stadium, Scott said the Cats had been battered towards the end of a long campaign and would dig deeper than just their age profile when looking for off-season answers.
"We've fallen short, and it's a bitter pill to swallow, but our club has over a long time found a way to recover from difficult situations," a disappointed Scott said.
"I think we're in that situation again where we've got a choice to make. We can roll over or we can take the time we need to regroup.
"That is one thing I'm really proud of at the Geelong footy club, and it's been going on since before I got here, and that is we do everything we can to look our players in the eye at the start of every year and say we're going to give you the best chance.
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"I'd be surprised if our response is going to be that we're not going to give them every chance next year and the year after and the year after."
Scott said he was proud of the way his group had endured, but they had simply run out of steam this season and met a "red-hot" Melbourne in a one-sided preliminary final.
"We were pretty battered towards the end of the season. Not just the last couple of weeks but probably the six weeks leading into the finals series," he said.
"There's a few things I won't speak about tonight that will become clearer over the next few weeks.
"The last five or six weeks it feels like we've been plugging gaps a little bit. When you get to this stage of the year, you really need to be hot and have everything up and going.
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"We just weren't good enough to get ourselves in a position where we could play our best footy and we came up against a team who was the opposite."
Scott, who has led the Cats to 10 finals campaigns in 11 seasons and one premiership, comes out of contract at the end of 2022 and has been mooted as a target for Carlton.
Asked what his response would be to an inquiry from an interested rival club, he said: "I wouldn't answer my phone, it would be off for a while."