NAB CUP Round 2 Preview: Gold Coast Suns vs. Geelong Cats

Halfway through the first game between these two clubs last year, most punters found it absurd the Suns were comfortably in front, let alone anywhere near the Cats.

Naturally Geelong finished the game 10+ goal winners and with Steve Johnson B.O.G.

The second game ended in a 150-point shellacking, with many of the young Suns worn out by playing in unfamiliar territory and exhausted after a long first season.

Already for both of these sides; they look to have turned respective corners. The Suns and Cats both won a game each in their Round Robin games, showing off their precious new talent.

Now the question needs to be asked, with stakes so low, will the Suns take it up to the Cats; or will Geelong look to show off a dominant performance to get ready for their title defence come March 31 against the Fremantle Dockers?

Why Should You Tune In?

Gold Coast:

Aaron Hall, the middle-aged recruit, took his first serious hit out and grabbed it with both hands.

His performance against a Melbourne side which struggled in the wild conditions, saw him as one of the best on-field. Jaeger O’Meara had little impact, but as time passes he will learn to run to dangerous spots and in any week is bound to make the highlight reel.

The return of Tom Lynch is a perfect substitute for Charlie Dixon, who will miss out with a foot injury from training.  The Suns’ midfield was superb in establishing dominance against the Lions and Dees.

In difficult conditions, their attack on the ball and gusto in playing contested ball will have benefits, as Harley Bennell and David Swallow will look to add further strings to their already impressive bows.

Geelong:

One side that has always interested me with their pre-season preparation, is the best team of the last 5 years.

The Cats on the surface never appear to take it all too seriously. They manage to win games by narrow margins, using their class acts sparsely all whilst seeing which players on the outer makes up the best 22.

This year, I believe it’s different. Tom Hawkins, Geelong’s premiership hero; has to stamp his authority. After delivering a game in which many have questioned the merit of, by playing on an injured Sam Reid, he needs to get off the mark early.

His first hit-out is on Friday Night against the Suns. If this is the year he stamps himself as one of the new guard of champions, tearing the NAB Cup up is the key. Billy Smedts was impressive in his first hit-out, with also the big Orren Stephenson looking to build to fill the ruck spot come Round 1.

Predictions:

Although the Cats were troubled for a half in their first encounter up at Metricon Stadium, it means little.

The Suns may have the skills and while they are appearing to physically match the big boys for contested ball, there is no substitute for experience.

For many Cats players who have had their names on the fringes and failed to find opportunities in hitting the big time, their time is now. In the wake of retirements and injuries; it’s no longer about fun and games, but about establishing their careers at Geelong.

Geelong by 32 points.

Coverage:

FOX FOOTY, Channel 604 – 8:3opm EST, 8:00pm CST, 5:30pm WST; SEN 1116AM

Squads:
GOLD COAST
1. Jaeger O’Meara, 2. Zac Smith, 3. Jared Brennan, 4. Maverick Weller, 5. Jarrod Harbrow, 7. Karmichael Hunt, 8. Luke Russell, 9. Gary Ablett, 11. Harley Bennell, 13. Hayden Jolly, 14. Matthew Warnock, 17. Josh Fraser, 19. Tom Lynch, 21. Jeremy Taylor, 24. David Swallow, 26. Matt Shaw, 30. Campbell Brown, 31. Jackson Allen, 33. Aaron Hall, 35. Michael Rischitelli, 36. Sam Iles, 37. Alex Sexton, 41. Dion Prestia, 43. Liam Patrick, 44. Nathan Bock, 45. Steven May, 47. Daniel Gorringe, 48. Seb Tape, 51. Andrew McQualter

GEELONG
1. Mitchell Brown, 2. Billie Smedts, 3. Jimmy Bartel, 4. Andrew Mackie, 7. Harry Taylor, 12. Trent West, 14. Joel Selwood, 15. Jordan Schroder, 17. Shannon Byrnes, 18. Josh Cowan, 19. Taylor Hunt, 21. Jordan Murdoch, 23. Orren Stephenson, 24. Jed Bews, 25. Thomas Gillies, 26. Tom Hawkins, 27. Mathew Stokes, 29. Cameron Guthrie, 32. Steven Motlop, 33. George Horlin-Smith, 34. Simon Hogan, 37. Cameron Eardley, 39. Shane Kersten, 41. Jesse Stringer, 42. Josh Walker, 43. George Burbury, 46. Jonathan Simpkin, 47. Ryan Bathie, 45. Joel Hamling

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