GEELONG coach Chris Scott is hopeful a heavy mid-season training block will prime his team to be at its best "when it counts", declaring the risk of falling away in the short-term is worth taking.
The Cats survived a scare from last-placed West Coast on Saturday, keeping their composure late at Optus Stadium to emerge from the bye with a sometimes scrappy 18-point win.
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Scott gave context to the performance post-match when he said the team had ramped up its mid-season program significantly as part of a bigger plan to peak during September.
"It's what we do during the middle period of the year. We double down, even more than we might have done in previous years," Scott said.
"We might cost ourselves a little short-term, but we set up our program to be at our best when it counts.
"If we finish ninth because we try to prime ourselves to be at our best later in the year, then we'll live with that.
"We haven't been able to execute that over the last few years anyway. That's a reason to do it better."
Scott said Saturday's clash was what the Cats had expected, and the team would fly home "OK with the performance" after West Coast fielded the best team it has had available all season.
The premiership coach said superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield would return from a calf injury for next Saturday's clash against Richmond at the MCG, having managed him with the pointy end of the season in mind.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson confirmed star defender Jeremy McGovern had suffered a rib injury that saw him taken to hospital for scans on Saturday.
"It looks like it’s a pretty big knock to the ribs. You go to hospital, they’re probably broken," the coach said.
"He’s had plenty of knocks over his time and he’s pretty brave. He plays hurt all the time, so for him not to get up like that, he’s pretty sore.
"Hopefully he’s OK and he’s right to go next week. A lot of guys play with broken or fractured ribs.
"He’s done it plenty of times before, but it looked like a pretty bad one. We’ll see how he pulls up."
Simpson said his team had been "up for the fight" on Saturday and the performance had been a step forward, despite losing a club record ninth consecutive match.
He said the contest work and pressure the Eagles brought to the match was a non-negotiable and there had been signs of the new identity the team wants to build.
"To turn up in that way and to play in a way that’s competitive, that’s the first step," Simpson said.
"That’s a small win for us, but we’re still a fair bit off in terms of putting a four-quarter performance together.
"The game has moved on since 2018, so we’re trying to find a new identity with contested ball, which we still lost significantly today.
"So as much as we’ll take some positives and the review will be better than it's been the last 10 weeks, there's still be a fair bit of improvement there."