Cats to be wild about Harry at home

Geelong Vs GWS
Simmonds Stadium
Saturday 2nd June 1:45pm

On paper the reigning premiers taking on the AFL’s newest club in Greater Western Sydney would seem a mismatch of epic proportions; nothing but a hard footballing lesson for the Giants to suck in to see how far they have to go. But the 2012 Cats are not the formidable force of previous seasons, and even the coach himself has publically pondered if they’ll be in the mix again this season.

The Giants have been very competitive in games this season on the field, in terms of crucial stats for contested ball, clearances and inside 50s but it was only the Suns game, and the club’s historic first win in round seven, where they were able to convert these into scoreboard dominance. Excluding that win, GWS has averaged only 51 points per game, not enough to trouble most teams, let alone Geelong at home.

The Cats escaped with a close-fought 20-point win over the Western Bulldogs on Friday night, with Steve Johnson dominating with a 36-touch display in the midfield and Steven Motlop chiming in for three goals, while the experience and hardness of Paul Chapman shone with two crucial goals in the third quarter.

Geelong will be without Coleman medal leader Tom Hawkins who is out for knee surgery, while Jonathan Simpkin and Jesse Stringer have been omitted. James Kelly returns to the side after overcoming his calf injury while the Cats will blood two debutants in 2010 draftee and VFL leading goal kicker Jordan Schroder and nuggety small forward Lincoln McCarthy. Harry Taylor also celebrates his 100th game.

GWS have lost the previous two games by 66 and 92 points after their historic first win, but were matching the high-flying Bombers for the first three quarters before fading in the last. The Giants welcome their 27th debutant for the season, with their #7 draft pick, 20-year old Nick Haynes being picked up forward. Toby Greene returns to the GWS midfield after missing a match with suspension, while Adam Kennedy is out with a shoulder injury and Curtly Hampton omitted.

Geelong will be relishing their return to Kardinia Park, where they have won 31 of their last 32 games. Even though their form there this season has been patchy – a close win over Richmond and an unconvincing display against the Demons – they will be keen to show they still mean business for 2012.

Chris Scott will no doubt be focusing on his team winning the contested ball count, an area where the Giants have stood up in their debut season. GWS will no doubt take a lot out of the game in terms of measuring up to the standard they hope to attain in the future, but will lack the size and forward-structure to trouble the Cats.

Key Matchups:
Steve Johnson vs Luke Power – Johnson relished the freedom of playing on-ball last week and veteran and co-captain coach Luke Power will have to draw on all his knowledge to quell the creative Cat

Paul Chapman vs Tom Scully – the hard head against the fresh face, a hard day looms for Scully against Chapman, who showed signs of a return to his ominous best last week

James Podsiadly vs Phil Davis – in the absence of Hawkins, the J-Pod – who relishes playing at home – can fire in the Geelong forward line.

Geelong by 83

GEELONG

B: Scarlett, Lonergan, Hunt
HB: Enright, Taylor, Mackie
C: Guthrie, Selwood, Chapman
HF: Stokes, West, Kelly
F: Duncan, Podsiadly, Johnson
R: Stephenson, Corey, Bartel

IC: Motlop, Hunt, Schroder, McCarthy
E: Gillies, Stringer, Smedts

GWS

B: Darley, Davis, Power
HB: Bugg, Mohr, Reid
C: Greene, Treloar, Scully
HF: Townsend, Cameron, Cornes
F: Haynes, Phillips, Smith
R: Giles, Ward, Shiel

IC: Coniglio, Adams, McDonald, Tyson
E: Hombsch, Ugle, Wilson

BigFooty Team Board Previews:

Geelong

Greater Western Sydney

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