K rock Football

No need for a loss – Kola

Geelong defender Jake Kolodjashnij will play his 150th game for Geelong on Saturday night. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

MILESTONE defender Jake Kolodojashnij isn’t subscribing to the theory that Geelong needs to suffer a loss into the closing stages of the home-and-away season.

The Cats are riding a 10-game winning streak to sit a game clear atop the AFL ladder and will start favourite in their three remaining matches against St Kilda (GMHBA Stadium), Gold Coast (Metricon Stadium) and West Coast (GMHBA Stadium).

If Geelong claims victories against the Saints, Suns and Eagles, that would be 13 consecutive.

Add in wanting to avoid a qualifying final defeat, the Cats would need to equal Carlton’s run to the 1995 premiership and Brisbane’s in 2001, in which the Blues and Lions won 16 consecutive games from Round 9 onwards to claim the flag.

“You want to play your best footy this time of year, so I’m happy to keep banking wins,” Kolodjashnij, who will make his 150th AFL appearance on Saturday night, said.

“Personally, it’s a good feeling to sing the song every week – I’m not complaining at all.

“The main focus for the group is sharpening different areas as best we can to put our best foot forward come September.”

CATS: STANLEY MAKING PROGRESS

Kolodjashnij, who was part of the 2020 grand final loss to Richmond and featured in four losing preliminary final sides, believes Geelong is better placed this year to win its first flag since 2011.

“I think the confidence throughout the group – we’ve got some guys playing some really good footy, especially in the forward half; that group’s jelling really well,” he said.

“It’s just fun to be a part of, to be honest.

“Hopefully, we can keep the wins rolling and see what happens.”

Drafted with pick no.41 in the 2013 National Draft from Launceston, Kolodjashnij debuted against Melbourne in Round 12, 2015 – the same night Corey Enright made his 300th appearance in the Hoops.

“It’s gone super quick; I still remember my first game like it was yesterday,” the 27-year-old said.

“It’s pretty humbling to be part of such a great footy club, and (I’m) just grateful I had an opportunity as an 18-year-old to hone my craft and learn off some great people.

“We’ve got some great staff and coaches … it’s been a really good journey.”

Small forward Bradley Close will also mark a milestone against St Kilda.

Selected as a mature-age rookie ahead of the 2020 season, Close, who turned 24 last Saturday, will play his 50th AFL game.

One of eight Cats to play every game this year, the South Australian has kicked 19 goals, behind only star trio Jeremy Cameron (54), Tom Hawkins (51) and Tyson Stengle (37).

As well as averaging one goal a game, Close has won plenty of admirers for his pressure.

In the past five weeks, he is averaging 6.5 tackles per game.

“I’m more than happy playing a role for the side,” Close said.

“I know that each week if I can do the little things that I do to help the side; things like bringing pressure, (and) hopefully finish with a goal or two at the end of the game.

“It’s great fun being out there, and I can’t complain at all.”

Twitter: @krockfootball