‘Carey vs Jakovich’: Cats coach heaps huge praise on young gun despite loss to Saints

St Kilda press conference | 06:24
David Zita from Fox Sports

Geelong coach Chris Scott has heaped huge praise on young defender Sam De Koning, expressing hope his battle with St Kilda spearhead Max King could eventually become like the Wayne Carey vs Glen Jakovich battles of yesteryear.

De Koning has been thrust into the AFL spotlight this season, often matching up on the opposition’s best key forward.

King, who has been in ominous form to start the season, was kept to just two goals despite the Saints’ 10-point win over the Cats at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

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Round 9
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Geelong press conference | 10:30

Speaking post-game, Scott was full of admiration for the work of De Koning, the 21-year-old who was taken with pick No.19 in the 2019 draft.

“Sam became even more important because we really only had the one tall key defender and that it and he‘s probably the best young key forward in the competition, Max King,” he said.

“Hopefully what you‘re seeing a little bit is Wayne Carey vs Glen Jakovich. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?”

De Koning’s exposure to senior football this year is one of a number of changes the Cats have made heading into 2022, including a willingness to take the game on more and risk exposing their defence more often.

Scott said that, despite the loss and a spluttering start to the season, the side would continue to back in its new look.

“Through the pre-season we made a commitment internally in our footy department that there are some things we‘re going to do and if it goes horribly, we’re going to just try to do it better. We’re not going to tip it upside down,” he said.

“He‘s one of them in that specific position. It’s a big call now, but if he does go through patches, where he plays like a young player, which shown a bit of inconsistency, we’re going to back him in and help him as much as possible, but I suspect he won’t need that much help from us.”