Cats coach positive

Bradley Green spoke to Geelong coach Damian Shanahan ahead of their big Round 19 clash with the Dragons........







Geelong may not feature in the Premier Cricket finals for the first time under Damian Shanahanís leadership, but the coach believes the Cats can take a lot of positives out of the summer.

Mathematically, itís still possible for the 11th placed Cats to snatch a finals berth in the last round of the season.

Their first task is to claim first innings points against bottom side Northcote from the two-day match at Bill Lawry Oval and then hope other results go their way.

Geelong (45 points) needs North Melbourne to upset Carlton (49 points, ninth), Camberwell Magpies to beat Fitzroy Doncaster (50 points, eighth) and hope that Richmond (51 points, seventh) secures the points against Dandenong (47 points, 10th).

After an unlikely outright win last round against premiership contender St Kilda, thereís no reason why the Cats canít grab 10 points against the Dragons and help boost their prospects of a sixth straight finals appearance.carson_2_r13

But Shanahan was remaining philosophical about lady luck favouring his side.

"We can only control what we can control and thatís obviously making sure we win the game against Northcote," Shanahan said.

"The boys played brilliant cricket last game and thereís a nice vibe among the group at the moment."

If they donít secure a top eight spot come next Saturday night it will be the first time since 2006-07 that the Cats havenít featured in the finals.

But Shanahan said after watching the development of the Catsí youngsters this season, he believes thereís an exciting future for the club.

Hayden Butterworth continues to emerge as an all-round talent and he sits in seventh spot in the competitionís top 10 run scorers for the summer with 612 at an average of 34.

Young paceman Jake Reed has emerged as an exciting talent at, potentially, the next level after overcoming a serious pre-season injury that delayed his start to the summer by a month.

Reed has taken 21 wickets at 17.76 Ė highlighted by a hat-trick against the Saints Ė and bowled with genuine pace that has troubled some top batsmen.

Heís also had two matches with Victoriaís Futures League side, suggesting heís well and truly in the future thinking of the Bushrangersí hierarchy.

Meyrick Buchanan has churned out 403 runs at 23.71 while recruit James Crosthwaite has had a solid first summer at Kardinia Park, scoring 396 runs at just under 29 and been tidy behind the stumps.

The Cats have also given extensive 1st XI exposure to a host of up-and-coming talent such as Luke Ibbs, Michael Condy, Andrew Hodgson, Jack Sheppard and Dom McGlinchey.

"Talking to those boys one-on-one they now realize what it takes to step up to the next level, particularly against the best sides in the competition," Shanahan said.

"Weíve put a lot of gametime into them and I believe that we have a really talented group of young men. Thatís a real positive for our program going forward which should hold us in good stead."

There should be cause for immediate celebrations in the Geelong camp at some stage over the next two Saturdays with experienced paceman Marc Carson one wicket away from his 300th 1st XI scalp.reed_bowls_r16_v_fp

Carsonís 37 wickets at 16.43 this summer has him sitting in the top five on the competitionís list of leading wicket takers and Shanahan said when he claims his 300th career victim, it will be a fitting reward.

Having claimed his 400th club wicket three matches ago, Carson will become the second Catsí paceman to reach 300 1st XI wickets, behind Trent Walerys (369).

"Thereís no reason why Carso (Carson) canít go on and get 400 wickets," Shanahan declared.

"I canít speak highly enough of what heís done for this club."

Bradley Green








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