Dangerfield denies Cats are in a slump after third loss in five games

Ladder-leaders Geelong aren't panicking despite falling to a third loss in five matches since their mid-season bye, with star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield refuting a suggestion the Cats were in a slump.

Having swept just about all before them in the first half of the season, the Cats have been unable to hit those heights over the past month.

Patrick Dangerfield and the Cats struggled to show their best against the Hawks.Credit:AAP

The latest setback came in the form of a 24-point loss to arch rivals Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday.

Losses to sides below them in recent weeks means the Cats still have a handy buffer of a game and percentage to second, and coach Chris Scott was measured in the aftermath of the defeat to the Hawks.

"It's a long time to finals, and we've got to keep reminding ourselves of that. It's not as though we're on the eve of finals," Scott said.

"I'd prefer [to be losing] now [rather than later in the year]. Getting wins on the board has its advantages."

Grab and go: Hawthorn’s Chad Wingard attempts to break a tackle by Geelong forward Tom Hawkins.Credit:AAP

Scott agreed with an assessment from Dangerfield that the Cats had been too conservative with their ball use in the first half on Sunday.

"We didn't put them under enough pressure," Scott said.

"We didn't ask enough questions of their defence, particularly in the first half.

"I didn't think we played very well. I think they had control of the game, particularly in the first half when we couldn't really get our game going. As always that's largely to do with the opposition.

"Having said that, in the second half I thought we did control the game and we had more than enough chances to win the game, whether that be shots at goal we expected to take or situations in the game where we had the momentum and for whatever reason that momentum was taken away from us."

The Cats missed a string of sitters during the second half but Scott was hopeful it was just an aberration.

"When you generate shots 15m out right in front you expect to take them. Then the narrative becomes a little bit different.

"Guys that missed today have been good shots at goal, so I think it's just one of those things."

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