GEELONG coach Chris Scott has demanded a response from his playing group after an "inexplicable" and "poor" performance against an inspired Essendon on Saturday.
The Bombers' 34-point victory – a scoreline that Scott admitted flattered the Cats – means Geelong is still yet to win more than two games in a row this season.
Essendon was fresh from a shock defeat to Carlton and without star bookends Michael Hurley and Joe Daniher, but jumped the Cats with the first five goals of the match and was never challenged.
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"There's no question in our mind that we had prepared for them to play well and we certainly didn't execute against their good play," Scott told reporters.
"So there are a number of things we need to look at and it's not something we will sweep under the carpet – it's completely different to the way we've played in previous weeks.
"But it's a mistake in our coaching group's view to say, 'Well, that was just one out of the box and she'll be right'.
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"(This performance) needs a response and that's all that matters. I can and even the players can sit down and sulk and make excuses and point the finger at different things or we can acknowledge where we went wrong and find ways to fix them quickly."
Geelong has now lost the clearance battle seven times in nine matches this season and has the worst clearance differential (-5.6) in the competition.
This despite the so-called 'holy trinity' midfield of Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood and Gary Ablett, on top of All Australian-calibre onballer Mitch Duncan.
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Scott said his side was "obliterated" and "slaughtered" around the ball on separate occasions but refused to label the Cats' troubles in that area as a "pattern".
"I think in every team, almost without exception across the competition at the moment, you can point to small parts in games (where they have struggled)," the coach said.
"We acknowledge those (deficiencies) – I'm not being argumentative – but at times our midfield group's been pretty dominant, too.
"It's always a balance of identifying the things that are hurting us a bit – and some of that is the balance of players in there – and trying to exploit some of the advantages we may have over the opposition.
"But those advantages today were few and far between."
Scott declined to use Geelong's lengthy injury list as an excuse, but hoped to regain Brandan Parfitt (foot), Scott Selwood (back), Esava Ratugolea (managed) and Lachie Fogarty (groin) next week.
Nakia Cockatoo (knee), Cam Guthrie (ankle), Daniel Menzel (groin) and Lachie Henderson (knee) face longer recovery periods.