Geelong coach Mark Thompson says his losing AFL grand final side will never forget that they let the club’s supporters down and will be spurred by that memory.
After enjoying a dominance during the regular season as great as any club in history, Thompson said the Cats had taken yesterday’s shock loss to Hawthorn extremely hard.
“We’re all really dirty and upset that we didn’t achieve what we wanted to achieve,” he told supporters at Skilled Stadium today.
“Everybody who plays for the club was expecting to win and we wanted to win really badly.
“But out of that comes a drive and a passion that you want to get back and win another one and that’s what we really want to do.”
Thompson said the achievements of the Cats during the season counted for little compared as they lost only their second game of 2008 when it mattered most.
“We’ve got a great supporter base, you keep turning up and I know that we probably let you all down yesterday,” Thompson said, then repeated himself in the face of protestations from loyal supporters.
“Yeah we did, let’s be honest, we did, we let you down.
“We have to live with that for the rest of our lives and it will only drive us to be better in the future.
“We had a pretty good year and a lot of that gets taken away because on the last day when it matters most we didn’t probably play as well as we could have.”
Thompson said the one positive was that his side had 2009 to redeem themselves.
“That’s the beauty about what we do, isn’t it,” he said.
“We had a really disappointing day yesterday but it’s not going to hold us back.
“We’re going to be really determined to go out there and train hard and work hard and just win more premierships, that’s what we really want to do.”
Thompson’s statement of intent for next season followed similarly defiant words from the coach at a club function last night.
“I’m really, already determined just to go back and smash them in 2009,” he said.
He said the current playing group was good enough to win more than one premiership and did not need many changes for next year.
Thompson also said it was important that everyone at the club conducted themselves properly, despite letting such a big opportunity slip.
He said Geelong won well when they took out last year’s historic premiership and now they had to lose well, too.
“We were the best side this year and on the one day that mattered, we lost – we’ve just got to re-group,” Thompson said.
“We sat here last year and it was unbelievable, I think I said … ‘it doesn’t really matter who gets the recognition, as long as we enjoy the night’.
“Well, I don’t think we should really blame each other, there should be no blame, we should lose well.
“We were respected for how we won, then we should be respected for how we lose as well.”