AAP AFL

Tigers better last year says Cats coach

By AAP Newswire

Richmond have hit the AFL finals with the momentum of a runaway freight train but Geelong coach Chris Scott believes the Tigers were in better shape last year.

And while he was comparing seasons, Scott thinks the Cats are a much stronger unit than the 2018 version.

Scott fired a shot across the Tigers' bow ahead of their much-anticipated preliminary final clash at the MCG when he spoke to reporters at GMHBA Stadium on Tuesday.

Geelong romped to a 67-point win over a depleted Richmond in their last meeting in round 12, but suffered close losses twice in 2018.

The Tigers, who are on a 10-game winning streak, will have players of the calibre of Jack Riewoldt, Toby Nankervis and David Astbury in their line-up on Friday night that weren't there in round 12.

But Damien Hardwick's men hold no fears for Scott's Cats.

"I don't think it means that much but certainly our players aren't looking back and thinking 'we can't beat them'," Scott said.

"I think we do have a method that troubles them.

"I'm not a big fan of looking too far back, but I don't think we were anywhere near as good a team as we are now last year and I think they were a better team last year than they are now.

"For what it's worth, I think our players would think 'well, if we get the game on our terms there is a way to beat them'."

The Cats will need to find a way to kick a winning score without Tom Hawkins, whose one-game ban for striking West Coast's Will Schofield was upheld at the tribunal on Monday night.

Scott is confident Gary Rohan will be available to help fill the void.

The speedy forward missed the semi-final win over the Eagles with a knee injury suffered in the qualifying final loss to Collingwood.

But he pressed his claim for a return at training at GMHBA Stadium on Tuesday.

"It looks to us like Gary Rohan will be available," Scott said.

"I don't think he's a lock to play but we've got optimism ... it's progressing pretty well."

Patrick Dangerfield didn't appear for the warm-up of the training session but Scott stressed the superstar midfielder was not in any doubt to play as he completed an individual program.

Even if Rohan wins his fitness battle he's not a like-for-like replacement for the powerful Hawkins, who has kicked 56 goals this season.

But then no one is.

"We haven't got a Tom Hawkins replacement so we'll be different, but different is not necessarily worse," the coach said.

"... We virtually came to a position (on a revised forward line) on Saturday, so we've known for a while.

"The players know, it's not a great mystery, we'll be clear.

"I think that's more important at this time of year rather than maybe even coming up with a better plan but allowing the uncertainty to fester throughout the week."