There is little doubt that for the best part of the last decade, Geelong has displayed just the right amount of confidence and self-belief to win three premierships and in doing so have become the dominant team of the modern era.
However, there is a fine line between self-confidence and blind arrogance and twice in the last month certain players at the Geelong Football Club have been guilty of this arrogance, costing them two winnable games of football as a result.
The first notable instance occurred during the Brisbane Lions’ comeback win over the Cats at the Gabba in round 13. Whereby Geelong saw a 52-point lead evaporate, as it held a one-point advantage inside the last minute. Instead of playing it safe by retaining possession and running down the clock to ensure the win, the Cats through Joel Selwood and Dawson Simpson foolishly continued to attack towards their goal and as a result of a turnover inside their forward 50, left themselves open to a counter attack from the Lions. This ultimately resulted in an after the siren shot at goal giving the Lions an unlikely victory courtesy of a fairytale 55-metre kick from Ash McGrath.
Again on the weekend the Cats surrendered a substantial 30-point lead against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium to trail late in the game, but had two gift-wrapped opportunities inside the last minute to reclaim the lead and therefore take home the valuable four points.
Firstly, with the Cats trailing by four points and with just on one-minute to play, Jimmy Bartel earned a free kick in the forward pocket just 20 metres out on a reasonably tight angle. Foolishly, instead of going back and using a simple drop-punt approach at goal, he attempted the Steve Johnson kick around the corner.
Ultimately his shot missed to the left, but again just a few seconds later Harry Taylor had a second opportunity to pinch the game for the Cats, as he marked this time just 15 metres out from goal, also on a tricky angle that suited a left-footer. However, like Bartel, Taylor failed to take the safe option of a drop-punt at goal, as he also elected to the snap the ball around the corner and as a result his shot missed to the near side.
Seconds later, the Crows celebrated a come-from-behind two-point win that kept their finals hopes alive, and the Cats saw themselves slip down to third place on the ladder.
As a result of these two narrow, unnecessary losses inside the last month, Geelong has now surrendered its spot in the top two and is now indeed in danger of forfeiting the double chance by missing the top four.
Basically, by choosing to play arrogant football and not conceding that a safety first attitude may well be the best policy, the Cats have dropped two matches that in all honesty they should never have lost.
It may not be pretty, but sometimes the conservative approach is the best policy, and should the Cats miss a spot inside the top four come the end of Round 23, they really will have only themselves to blame.