Geelong dual premiership coach Chris Scott has revealed he was willing to walk away from the club at the end of the 2021 season, but a meeting with his players convinced him to stay.
The long-time Cats boss was left considering his own future after a preliminary final drubbing against Melbourne, which marked yet another agonising September defeat for his side.
But, as he said he has done several times, he asked senior players whether he had their backing to remain as coach – and they gave him their full endorsement.
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“You have put me on the spot. It’s a good time to get me after a few drinks,” he told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 from the Cats’ celebrations.
“Yeah, I will be honest. I did (think about it). I made it hard for them. I said, if you have any doubt at all you have to tell me.
“It was a bigger group than just Joel (Selwood) and Pat (Dangerfield) and I have done a version of that (meeting) almost every year, but at the end of ’21 in particular they were emphatic and the support was the basis of my drive in 2022.”
Asked whether he would’ve left the club, Scott said: “Yeah. If they had hesitated.”
The discussion helped inspire Scott’s confidence and drive in the 2022 campaign, which saw massive turnover behind the scenes at the Cattery and a revamp of their game style.
After some teething problems early in the season Geelong strung together 16 consecutive wins on route to a premiership, the equal-most in VFL-AFL history.
“Probably the most important thing to me at Geelong I make sure I’m doing what’s right for the club, and that means if what’s best for me isn’t what’s best for the club, so be it.
“So I did think really hard about whether we could do it, and if we couldn’t, we needed to change tack and maybe part of that change involved me.
“But by the time the end of the season rolled around I was committed and I was sure with the people we had around that we could put a plan together that would give our guys a chance.
“The part that gave me the most confidence was when I spoke to our players. It reminded me of 2010.
“Because I was really nervous and apprehensive coming to Geelong as a 34-year-old coach, but in the first month when I spoke to the players they gave me a sense of calm that came from their drive and commitment.
“I saw the same thing at the end of 2021. Patty and Joel were certain they could play better in 2022 than 2021, and they delivered in spades.”