Cats left chasing game - Knights

05 March 2018 00:49:03 EST

A big loss in pre-season hurt Geelong, assistant coach Matthew Knights admitted after their 56-point defeat to Gold Coast.

The Cats' opening JLT Community Series game in Townsville showed they're not the same side without key players in midfield.

Geelong managed just three goals against the Suns and will look to rebound strongly when they take on Essendon next week in their final pre-season match.

They're likely to welcome Patrick Dangerfield, skipper Joel Selwood and versatile big man Harry Taylor back against the Bombers.

Knights said: "It's never opportune to lose by that margin irrelevant of whether it's a pre-season game or a real match in the season proper; we were chasing the game for most of it."

The stand-in coach said the Cats were punished for missing short kicks, which set up a number of Gold Coast counter-attacks.

Mature-aged recruit Tim Kelly was rested in the final term after picking up a cork.

Knights said of Kelly, who racked up 13 disposals: "We just thought we'd get some ice straight into him and get him right for next week as quick as possible. I thought he was very composed and very good in the contest and we've certainly got something to work with there."

However, Gold Coast saw livewire forward Sean Lemmens pick up a hamstring injury late on that leaves him in doubt for round one.

Geelong are 12/1 to win the AFL Grand Final, while the Cats are 23/20 to win their first game of the season against Melbourne, who are 3/4.

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