'Why I nearly walked out on the Cats'

Written By Unknown on Senin, 08 April 2013 | 23.40

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I nearly walked ... Scarlett tells Mike Sheahan plenty. Source: Michael Klein / News Limited

Matthew Scarlett has revealed how close he came to leaving Geelong at the end of 2006 when he threatened to walk out on the Cats if assistant coach Daryn Cresswell was appointed to replace Mark Thompson as senior coach.

In an in-depth interview with Mike Sheahan on Open Mike on Monday night, a candid Scarlett spoke of his displeasure at rumours circulating about Thompson's future at the end of a wretched 2006 season that saw the club finish 10th.

"I'd heard that a few of the board members had already thought that [Cresswell] was going to be our next coach and he'd already been chosen," Scarlett said.

"I'd also heard Cresswell was saying that he was going to be the next coach.

"I think I'm a pretty good judge of character and I was just hoping that that wasn't the case and I was going in to bat for Bomber.

"I said that if Bomber had left I would have left and I'm sure there would have been a lot of other players who would have left as well.

"We were around at Tommy Harley's house. We'd had a couple of beers, not too many, and we were having a chat about the direction of the club and I just thought I wanted to go in to bat for a bloke who was under siege.

"There was no one else at the footy club going in to stick up for Bomber, so I thought I was the man to do it.

"I had grave concerns that he was going to go and the footy club would have to be rebuilt again … it would have been a massive mistake."

Geelong went on to win the flag the year after that tumultuous off-season, while Creswell was arrested and convicted on fraud charges in 2010.

In the wide-ranging interview Scarlett also talks about his comfort at his decision to retire at the end of the 2012 season, his belief that the Cats will win the premiership this season, his famous dust-ups with St Kilda great Robert Harvey and Fremantle's Hayden Ballantyne and a less-publicised confrontation with teammate Steve Johnson.

"Me and Stevie Johnson nearly had a punch-on one day," he said.

"We both weren't happy with each other over a game. Our relationship wasn't great early on. It's terrific now, but we nearly had a bit of a dust-up at the club.

"I thought sometimes Stevie would be playing for himself and Stevie was annoyed with me with some of the things I was doing as well. We didn't have a lot of respect for each other.

"I probably didn't understand Stevie and he didn't understand me, but once we built that relationship now we're really good."

Scarlett also shines light on the pivotal period in Geelong's history that included a brutally honest player meeting, which helped turn a talented but erratic team into a premiership powerhouse.

"We obviously had a lot of talent at that stage (at the end of 2006), but we were doing a lot of things wrong off the field," he said.

"We weren't respecting each other or the game of footy. I think that was a pivotal moment in the cultural change at our club."

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