Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why Geelong Won't Win

Cameron Mooney was interviewed at the team recovery session following their convincing 12 goal win over Collingwood.  His interview gave some insight into the mindset of the Geelong camp, and in my opinion, showed why Geelong won't win the AFL premiership this season.

When asked, inevitably, about his feelings in the lead up to the grand final, whether the heartbreaking loss to Hawthorn had been spoken about... he denied it.  He pointed to an unspoken motivation in the dressing room, a slow burning desire to get revenge.  I think the loss to Hawthorn is the elephant in the room at Geelong, and is not just leading to the desire he talks about, but the fear that on one day, they can throw it all away.  There is that nagging feeling that the skills might desert him, that he won't 'execute' properly.  He doesn't have to look too far for the demons.  Of course, the replays of his extraordinary misses in the grand final are often dredged up, particularly the miss from 10 yards out at half time.  Even last week against Collingwood, the snap from a similar distance was shanked horribly wide.  Mooney said he would score 10 out of 10 in training.  Does he stop and think why he can't do it in a game?  I'd say part of the reason is that fear, the pressure, which causes the tightening of the kick.  I think the better strategy was for Geelong to speak about the the loss on the first day back, confronted the fears and doubts, and put it to rest as a group. 

The second cause for concern is that Mooney has been quoted as saying that Geelong have no chance of winning the flag if Brad Ottens does not play.  The problems with this statement are immense.  It implies that Geelong, a team with the game's most valuable player for three seasons running (Gary Ablett), one of the best defenders of all time (Matthew Scarlett), an amazing midfield and forward line that will see at least one star having to sit out.. such is their depth... this team, is reliant on one man, an injury prone ruckman just returning after a long spell out of the game.  It shows a lack of belief in the ability of the squad as a whole to achieve, and places a lot of pressure on one man.  What if he is shut down by the impressive St Kilda ruck?  What if he breaks down with injury?

The third worrying statement is that Mooney asks for a 'bit of luck' when questioned if Geelong can win.  It's the opposite sort of belief to what most successful sporting people profess.  Luck is something outside your control, and is something that is not stable (sometimes it is with you, sometimes against you).  Generally, successful sports people will blame bad luck for their failures, and attribute their successes to their skills and ability, which reinforces their self-belief and gives a greater chance for them to perform at their best.  By asking for luck to intervene, it's as if deep down, he is unsure if his and his team's ability is enough to carry them across the line.  

If Geelong won't win, the question is... will St Kilda win?

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