Geelong coach Chris Scott has launched a staunch defence of Gary Rohan following suggestions the forward is under pressure ahead of the finals series.
Channel 9’s Footy Classified punditshighlighted how Rohan’s form for the Cats has dropped off in finals compared to the regular season including averaging 7.9 disposals and 0.8 goals from eight post-season games for the club.
Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd emphasised the 31-year old’s down performances in last year’s preliminary final loss to Geelong the 2020 Grand Final defeat to Richmond.
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“You want to be remembered for finals and what you did — Luke Hodge and Dustin Martin are remembered,” the three-time Coleman Medallist said on Footy Classified.
“Gary Rohan has got to go into this final going, ‘let’s focus on my pressure,’ and the rest will take care of itself. In last year’s prelim he had one touch and the grand final before that he had five disposals — they’re not numbers you want in a final.
“Chris Scott’s always had belief in him because of what he does do off the ball, but you’ve got to find the footy and bring that pressure.”
Rohan has endured an injury-interrupted season, playing nine games but booting six goals from his last three matches to find form in the lead into finals.
Later on Footy Classified Scott appeared on the show and was probed on potential pressure on Rohan ahead of his side’s qualifying final clash with Collingwood, leading to a tense exchange between the Geelong boss and the panel.
Check out the full transcript of he exchange below.
Caroline Wilson: “Is there nervousness around Gary Rohan as one player under pressure going into finals who hasn’t always stood up in finals? And how do you handle a player like that going into this week?”
Scott: “I don’t subscribe to that theory. I think every player is a little bit different and the art of coaching is trying to push the right buttons.
“Lloydy mentioned the thing we rate about him the most — there‘s two things. One, we think he’s a great foil for Hawkins and Cameron, he’s a difficult match-up if the opposition give him too much space. And his pressure’s elite.
“Having said that, I don‘t buy there’s pressure on him. I don’t think anyone who knows footy is thinking, ‘for Geelong to win, Gary Rohan’s got to dominate’. I saw those stats-”
Wilson: “The player who doesn‘t play well in finals, it can be an unfair stigma, but it’s a stigma.”
Scott: “Yeah but you answered your own question, if it’s unfair I don’t think we should acknowledge it.”
Lloyd: “One touch and five touches (in finals), you‘ve got to contribute more than that.”
Scott: “He did a hammy (while putting his hand up asking not be interrupted), he did a hammy in the prelim final. Even the numbers you put up there, they were pretty tight.
“It‘s a good question to ask me live on TV, because I get a bit defensive of my players, and I wear that as a badge of honour. But I think it’s borderline silliness to highlight a player who none of you would have in the top 15 players in our team and say, ‘he’s the one under the most pressure’.”