After watching Hawthorn’s imposing win over Fremantle, Geelong coach Chris Scott has no doubt who has made the better start to this AFL season.
Geelong’s fighting 11-point win over Collingwood on Saturday night meant they joined the Hawks as unbeaten teams after three rounds.
But Scott said Hawthorn’s domination of the grand final rematch 24 hours earlier showed that for now, they are the league’s benchmark.
“We’re really aware, especially after watching the footy last night, we need to improve a lot,” Scott said.
“I don’t think this game was anywhere near that one.
“Even the team that lost last night was probably better than us in parts.
“We’re 3-0, but to be frank it doesn’t really feel like it at the moment.”
Geelong will play their fierce rivals on Easter Monday, April 21, and Scott said his team must improve quickly if they are to match Hawthorn.
“We hope we can be in top-four contention and the start to the year has certainly helped that,” he said.
“But the one piece I can glean from last night’s game is that there is one team that is clearly ahead of the next-best, who they played last night.”
Scott said one of the most pleasing aspects of the Collingwood win was the performance of their younger players.
Cameron Guthrie was solid in his run-with role on Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury and Mitch Duncan similarly had a great game in the midfield.
The Cats defence also impressed – while Jamie Elliott kicked five goals for the ‘Pies, Tom Lonergan kept Travis Cloke scoreless.
“It’s a great luxury to have, as a football club, those experienced guys back there who when they look like they’re going to be beaten, they just find a way to halve the contest,” Scott said.
“Besides Lonergan, I don’t think we should be singling too many of the others out.”
Veteran backman Corey Enright was a late withdrawal from the Collingwood win with an ankle injury and the Cats hope he will return for next Saturday night’s home game against West Coast.
“We’re confident it’s not a long-term thing,” Scott said.
“We’re anticipating he’ll be right to play, but I can’t guarantee it.”