GEELONG 3.2 8.4 10.8 16.11 (107)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 3.3 7.5 11.7 (73)
Geelong has done enough without over-exterting themselves to defeat the Western Bulldogs by 34 points on Sunday.
In the first of a two game run at their fortress (Kardinia Park to most, but officially known as Simonds Stadium) the Cats burst out of the blocks in the first half, only to take their foot off the pedal in the second and allow the Dogs to keep the margin respectable.
The win was also soured by an ankle injury to Travis Varcoe, although thankfully it didn’t seem serious and he should be right as the Cats roll into September. Substitute Billie Smedts, who came on for Varcoe, also suffered a broken finger.
Despite the win, the mood around the Geelong camp was hardly buoyant after the victory. Defender Josh Hunt remarked “we’re under no illusions we did everything right today. We’ve got to sit down on Monday and Tuesday and really go through this, because if we play like that in September we’re going to be finished up pretty quick”.
It was a fair assessment. Despite the Cats taking the four points without skipper Joel Selwood, the rapidly improving Taylor Hunt and veteran defender Matthew Scarlett (who should be ready to play the final game of his career against the Swans next weekend), most of the positives seemed to come from the Dogs camp.
They won the contested possessions 150-124, won the hitouts 40-33 and won the tackle count 86-69. Matthew Boyd (46 disposals, 8 clearances) and Ryan Griffen (37 disposals, 1 goal) were fantastic as usual and Jarrad Grant kicked 3 goals, finally delivering a bit for Dogs fans who have hoped and waited for glimpses of his potential.
Adam Cooney also showed some of his brilliant best (28 disposals, 4 clearances, 1 goal) after a very poor performance last weekend, while the form of rookie-listed Lin Jong, Zephiniah Skinner and young gun Mitch Wallis was very promising.
As has been the story for most of 2012 though, the Dogs struggled to get it past their half-forward line and seemed bereft of goal-kicking options.
Luckily for the Cats in a scrappy affair they had their fair share of winners and their quality all over the park was evident. Tom Hawkins monstered Jordan Roughead to end up with another bag (4 goals) while Josh Hunt and Corey Enright were strong in defense.
In the end, the Cats snagged the four points and will need to be on the up, hopefully with key players returning, to defeat the Swans next weekend and have a chance of snagging a home elimination final. The Dogs will play an improving Brisbane at the Gabba to finish off a fairly dismal year.
3 – Matthew Boyd (WB)
2 – Corey Enright (GEEL)
1 – Ryan Griffen (WB)
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Corey 2, Chapman 2, Taylor 2, Christensen, Duncan, Podsiadly, West, Stokes, Hunt
Western Bulldogs: Grant 3, Howard 2, Cooney, Giansiracusa, Jong, Griffen, Howard, Higgins
Geelong: Kelly, Duncan, Mackie, Hunt, Taylor, Enright, Bartel, Chapman
Western Bulldogs: Boyd, Griffen, Murphy, Jong, Cooney, Skinner, Grant