Corey Enright
Corey Enright

Coach Chris Scott rejected claims Geelong's elimination final loss to Fremantle on Saturday night marked the end of his side's reign.

The Cats' dominant era, built on five consecutive preliminary final appearances and three premierships, seemingly came crashing down at the MCG as the Cats were dealt their earliest elimination from a finals series since 2000 in the shape of a 16-point upset loss to Fremantle.

It meant Matthew Scarlett, part of a Cats defence that was beaten, finished his stellar career on an uncharacteristically flat note.

The Cats are yet to officially announce Scarlett's retirement but several of the champion defender's team-mates made no secret of his decision to hang up the boots when paying tribute to his career after the match.

Scarlett joins Cameron Ling, Brad Ottens, Cameron Mooney and Darren Milburn as key Geelong premiership players to have retired in the past 12 months.

But Scott insisted Geelong would remain highly competitive in coming seasons because the club had already begun rebuilding list by blooding 10 new players in 2012.

In fact, the Cats started preparing for the future even in last season's premiership campaign when they unearthed the likes of Mitch Duncan, Allen Christensen, Nathan Vardy and Daniel Menzel.

"We think it's going to be tough, we think it's going to be incredibly difficult . . . but given the things we tried to do to rejuvenate our list and give some experience to young players, on a lot of fronts it's been a positive year," Scott said.

The Cats were always going to battle to come back from their poor first term when the Dockers booted five goals to nil, but at least they fought out the match.

"Unfortunately we were nowhere near our best tonight. But we will still move forward into the pre-season and the 2013 season with a sense of optimism," Scott said.

"We think we achieved a lot this year. We had a good year and we've had a really disappointing finish. We'll do a really thorough review, not only of this game but of our whole season.

"The galling part is the opportunity that we've missed. I did say to the players post game that if we had have been a little bit better in the first quarter and found a way to scrape through and win the game I would have been standing in front of the boys saying we can still win the premiership this year.

"Unfortunately, we didn't bring our best when it counted . . . they forced us into that performance to an extent but we'd like to think that if we played a game next week we'd put in a better show. We've begun a period of rejuvenation 18 months ago that I know about, and I suspect it started before that. We achieved a lot this year we had a good year and we've had a really disappointing finish," he said.

Star onballer James Kelly could face a delayed start to 2013 after he was booked for rough conduct when he collected Fremantle's Tendai Mzungu high in the third quarter.

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