Cats and Dogs’ last pre-season push

Where and When: Simonds Stadium, Saturday March 17, 3.00 PM AEDT

It’s set to be an interesting contest down at Geelong, as the Cats host the Bulldogs at Simonds Stadium.

Both teams have had relatively quiet pre-seasons, with two wins and two losses apiece leaving the teams in the bottom half of the ladder, so it could be said that they will experiment with line-ups in this practice match.

Both sides, however, will be looking for that confidence-boosting victory to propel them into round one with a little bit of form behind them.

What Geelong will want to see:

Geelong play at Simonds for the second week in a row, and they will no doubt be looking to improve on their thumping at the hands of Richmond last Saturday.

Although most of the familiar names are playing – James Bartel, Joel Selwood, James Kelly, Joel Corey, Matthew Scarlett and Steve Johnson to name but a few – coach Chris Scott will be hoping to see some impressive performances from the likes of Jesse Stringer, Steven Motlop and Cameron Guthrie.

These sorts of younger players are the future of the ageing Geelong list, and Scott will be looking to make sure that they can adjust to AFL level.

How big man Trent West and mature-age recruit Orren Stephenson work together is also something the coaches will be keeping an eye on.

Whilst getting miles into younger legs, it’s fairly obvious to state that Geelong will push hard for a big win down at the Cattery.

What the Western Bulldogs will want to see:

Although the Doggies went down in a disappointing loss to North Melbourne last week, the thing that they would be most excited by was the strength of their young midfield with Clay Smith, Tom Liberatore, Mitch Wallis and Luke Dahlhaus all impressing.

Now they come up against one of the biggest challenges you can face as an AFL footballer – Cats in Geelong.

If the Dogs’ next generation of players around the ground play well, like Zephaniah Skinner and Liam Jones up forward, Jordan Roughead in the ruck and Lukas Markovic down back, then new coach Brendan McCartney will surely be pleased.

Adam Cooney will also play a near-full hit-out for the first time this season, and him at full fitness will be brilliant to watch.

Combine these factors and the Doggies could even pull off an inspiring win to give a huge boost going into the season proper.

Prediction

The Western Bulldogs have shown strong signs throughout the pre-season – without the results on the board – their future side in development looks the goods.

Geelong, however, are simply too classy around the ground, and going by that the logical tip favours the Cats, comfortably.

Although, keep in mind that Geelong were easy favourites over Richmond last week, and the Doggies indeed have a sniff.

Geelong by 25 points

Squads

Geelong
1. Mitch Brown, 2. Billie Smedts, 3. Jimmy Bartel, 4. Andrew Mackie, 7. Harry Taylor, 8. Josh Hunt, 9. James Kelly, 11. Joel Corey, 12. Trent West, 13. Tom Lonergan, 14. Joel Selwood, 17. Shannon Byrnes, 19. Taylor Hunt, 20. Steve Johnson, 22. Mitch Duncan, 23. Orren Stephenson, 26. Tom Hawkins, 27. Mathew Stokes, 29. Cameron Guthrie, 30. Matthew Scarlett, 31. James Podsiadly, 32. Steven Motlop, 33. George Horlin-Smith, 35. Paul Chapman, 41. Jesse Stringer

Western Bulldogs
1. Jarrad Grant, 2. Robert Murphy, 3. Mitch Wallis, 4. Daniel Cross, 5. Matthew Boyd, 7. Shaun Higgins, 10. Easton Wood, 13. Daniel Giansiracusa, 14. Clay Smith, 16. Ryan Griffen, 17. Adam Cooney, 19. Liam Jones, 21. Tom Liberatore, 22. Dylan Addison, 23. Jordan Roughead, 25. Ryan Hargrave, 26. Zephaniah Skinner, 27. Will Minson, 29. Tory Dickson, 30. Christian Howard, 36. Brian Lake, 37. Lukas Markovic, 40. Luke Dahlhaus, 42. Liam Picken, 49. Ayce Cordy

BigFooty Team Board Previews:

Geelong

Western Bulldogs

Follow the match live on BigFooty’s Game Day thread.

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