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‘It suits us’: Cats ready for Gabba preliminary final against Lions

Scott was polite but weary of talk surrounding his team’s finals record in recent years, whether it had been used as motivation in the lead-up to the game, and whether the persistent criticism had stung his players.

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“It’s hard for me to answer, but I doubt it,” he said. “That wasn’t the sense that I got. I think you’d be surprised how little some people – including me – actually hear about that stuff.

“You’re obviously aware of criticism when it comes, but that’s the business we’re in. I said during the week that if we feel a bit of pressure we should consider it a privilege. It’s hard to get to this stage of the year.

“I think it’s a bad mindset to be in, that you’ve got extra motivation because of what people who don’t live in your world are saying. I think our motivation was much more pure than that.”

Scott said he was proud of his players and assistant coaches, and confessed to being surprised by the blowout, “given the pattern that our games with Collingwood have followed in recent years – they’ve been very low scoring games, a real grind”.

“It didn’t turn out that way, and it’s hard to assess why. Hopefully a fair bit of it was our guys were just really good in the contest, and executed really well.

Joel Selwood celebrates a goal.

Joel Selwood celebrates a goal.Credit:Getty Images

“As much as anything, last week, we just didn’t execute on the opportunities that we worked hard to get, and it was much better tonight … I thought we played OK last week without getting near our best, and today we were pretty close to our best.”

With Gary Ablett jnr approaching the end of his career, Scott was asked if there was an appropriate way to celebrate the champion’s legacy in the context of the finals.

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“Maybe, but I think we’ve got a few in that boat as well, including our off-field people,” he replied. “It’s hard to get these opportunities, and it comes with some pain, there’s a cost to it all, but you’ve got to take that risk and put yourself on the line.

“So whether it’s potentially the last game or you’re a younger player or coach who thinks you’ve got plenty of time, my great coach said what his great coach said to him, it’s always later than you think.”

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