By Jason Phelan 11:00 AM
Mon 18 Oct, 2010
NEW GEELONG coach Chris Scott is confident the Cats can be a premiership contender in 2011 despite the club embarking on a new era with his appointment.
Scott was unveiled to the public as Geelong's senior coach for the next three years on Monday, replacing dual premiership winner Mark Thompson, who earlier this month quit as coach with a year to run on his contract citing exhaustion.
Scott, 34, a two-time premiership player in his 215 matches with the Brisbane Lions, saw no reason to hose down expectations of the Cats next season.
"This club is in a position to contend next year," he said from Skilled Stadium.
"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge before we get ourselves in that position, but all Geelong people should expect success [next] year and into the future.
"Clearly the club has been the benchmark club of the last short period of time and has set very high standards and we clearly expect those standards to continue.
"My job is to try and improve on that because if we don't improve we will fall behind."
Scott will not oversee an extensive overhaul at the Cattery as he attempts to keep the 2007 and 2009 flag winners in premiership mode.
"A key part of my coaching style at Geelong will be to collaborate with the really good operators in the organisation," he said.
"There's no doubt [that] to improve, some things will need to be altered a little bit. But as an outsider looking at Geelong over the last few years, clearly the football team does a lot of things right, so it's not my intention to come in and overhaul things that have been so successful in the past.
"But to keep up with the modern game you need to continually evolve and I don't see Geelong being any different to that."
Skipper Cameron Ling, who played against Scott as a youngster, welcomed the appointment.
"I'm just expecting that I'm going to have a really honest coach who is going to challenge us all right through from Matthew Scarlett and Darren Milburn all the way down to Allen Christensen and Josh Cowan," Ling said.
"That's what the whole playing list needs; to be really challenged and open to a few new ideas.
"It's good to hear a few new ideas and a new voice driving the group along."
Scott's appointment comes after the important player exchange period, but the new coach said he was entirely comfortable with how the Cats negotiated a trade week which saw Jeremy Laidler and Nathan Djerrkura moved on and a Gary Ablett compensation pick traded to Gold Coast for pick 15 at the coming NAB AFL Draft.
The Cats will have two first-round draft picks at the next draft meeting and Scott pledged to show fans more youngsters from recent drafts who have been starved of opportunity during the club's period of success.
"The challenge, clearly, is to contend every year if possible, but also bring through the next group of talent," he said.
"In my view there is a lot of talent that hasn't had the opportunity at senior level that we'll see come through and be the next good players at Geelong.
"There's no doubt that young players thrive on opportunity. You can have the best development programs, the best coaching methods, the best conditioning staff, but unless those young, talented players get opportunities at senior level then their development is going to be hindered."
Scott's twin brother Brad has just coached his first season at the helm of North Melbourne. Scott said he had spoken to his brother since his appointment and he had had offered some guarded advice.
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