Mathew Stokes admits the Cats "probably" switched off with the game in their control late in the third term. Picture: Mike Dugdale Source: Geelong Advertiser
MATHEW Stokes says Geelong's capitulation to the Brisbane Lions was unacceptable and every player must take responsibility for his part in Sunday's final quarter debacle.
The Cats led by 52 points before the Lions stormed home in the dramatic final term to record the equal-eighth greatest comeback in league history.
Stokes admitted the Cats "probably" switched off with the game in their control late in the third term and said the players were stunned, shocked and hurting.
He conceded they could no longer sweep their poor form "under the rug", but backed the character of the players to respond for blockbuster games against Fremantle and Hawthorn.
"We've forged a reputation over a number of years now, nearly from when I first got here (2006), that (these performances are) just not acceptable," Stokes said."I think every player who played (on Sunday) has to take responsibility for it and I think we will. The good thing about our group is we win together but we also lose together.
"We don't point at each other and say, 'It's your fault, it's his fault, it's this area's fault'. It's a team loss, but it was a really bad loss.
"We got overrun by a team with a lot of enthusiasm and we didn't stand up when we needed to."
Stokes admitted the Cats made bad decisions.
"I think there were periods in the game where we could have slowed the game down a lot," he said.
"We made some really poor decisions out there, as a group, not individually..
"To lose to a team not in the eight, in a game we're expected to win, when you're up by that many points at halftime and come away with a loss, is extremely hard to take and disappointing."
It was the biggest comeback in Brisbane's history and Geelong's worst capitulation since it surrendered a 54-point lead against West Coast in 2006.
Even though the Cats have been prone to inconsistency this year, they have been able to get themselves out of most situations.
"We've been struggling to play our best for a few weeks now," Stokes said.
"It's going to be a massive task next week (against Fremantle). We struggled badly in the second half and it needs to be rectified and worked on quickly because we've got ourselves into a really good position (10-2) and to have that performance is not on and something that, as players, we're not going to accept."