Cats show defensive steel to squeeze life out of Dockers

THIS was a case of double redemption. Geelong appeared to take extra joy defeating the Fremantle Niggle Kings at Simonds Stadium tonight and the Cats’ relentless pressure until the final siren was in stark contrast to their dramatic final quarter fadeout last week.

Such was Geelong dominance, Fremantle hardly took the ball inside their 50m arc in the second half.

The Cats’ impenetrable halfback line led by Harry Taylor and Andrew Mackie was superb and their ruthless forward pressure was telling in the 11.19 (85) to 7.2 (44).

The Cats, who had promised to regain their defensive edge after their disappointing loss to Brisbane, delivered in ferocious style, keeping the Dockers goal-less in the first term and scoreless in the third.

The victory over the side that knocked Geelong out of last year’s finals lifted the Cats to an 11-2 record and second spot ahead of next Saturday night’s blockbuster MCG clash with top-placed Hawthorn.

Tom Hawkins, Steven Motlop and Joel Corey each kicked two majors, but it was the Cats’ efforts in winning the contested ball and stifling Fremantle’s ball movement that stood out.

It was comfortably the lowest score the Dockers have managed this season and the smallest total to which Geelong have restricted an opponent.  The tone was set early, when the Cats scored the only three goals of the first term, including two to Hawkins. Fremantle managed to scrounge four straight goals to Geelong’s  2.3 in the second quarter to be within 11 points at the main break.

But the Cats then took utter control.

They outscored Fremantle 2.9 to no score in the third quarter and put another two shots out on the full, with the Dockers entering their attacking 50m arc just once for the term and rarely even entering their attacking half.

The Cats dominated clearances and contested ball and when the Dockers did get possession, harassed them and blocked their space to win it back and surge again.  The only blot was a series of missed shots.  But that changed in the last term, with early goals to Motlop and sub Jordan Murdoch, while the Dockers didn’t enter their attacking 50m zone until the 10-minute mark.

Midfielder Allen Christensen was outstanding for the Cats with  36 hard-won touches, including 12 in the third quarter, as well as eight tackles, while James Kelly, Mitch Duncan and Jimmy Bartel also shone.  Key defender  Taylor provided superb rebound.
For the Dockers, Danyle Pearce battled hard in midfield and tagger Ryan Crowley did well on Joel Selwood.  Fremantle clearly felt the absence of injured midfield stars David Mundy and Michael Barlow and lost Paul Duffield to an apparent calf injury, while Michael Johnson received treatment to his left knee, although played out the game.
Geelong’s Josh Hunt was subbed off with illness.
GEELONG 3.4 5.7 7.16 11.19 (85)
FREMANTLE 0.2 4.2  4.2   7.2 (44)
Goals: Geelong: J Corey 2 S Motlop 2 T Hawkins 2 D Simpson J Bartel J Murdoch J Podsiadly T Hunt.
Fremantle: M Walters 3 C Mayne M Taberner T Mzungu T Sheridan.
Best: Geelong: A Christensen H Taylor J Bartel J Kelly M Duncan A Mackie.
Fremantle: D Pearce R Crowley N Fyfe L McPharlin C Pearce M Walters.
Umpires: Simon Meredith, Shane Stewart, Mathew Nicholls.
Venue: Skilled Stadium.
Cats v Freo 1/4 time
Cats 3.4 (22)
Dockers 0.2 (2)
Geelong’s halfback line was impenetrable with Harry Taylor (6k, 3hb) superb. Tom Hawkins (2 goals) was too big and strong for Zac Dawson whose high shot on Mathew Stokes looked crude. Cats missed a couple of late chances to Joel Selwood and Stokes. Cats winning contested footy 48-27.
Cats v Freo 1/2 time
Cats  5. 7 (37)
Dockers  4.2 (26)
Freo hits back with four goals as the Dockers start playing the game on their terms. Danyle Pearce (10k, 7hb ) dangerous for the Dockers who were forced to make an early sub after an injury to Paul Duffield while Michael Johnson also looked proppy. Ryan Crowley making life tough for Joel Selwood.
Cats v Freo 3/4 time
Cats  7.16 (58)
Dockers  4.2 (26)
The Dockers went inside 50 only once for the quarter as the Cats completely dominated possession and, when they didn’t have it, locked the ball in their forward half. But they couldn’t convert their advantage into goals, adding 2.9. The Cats’ pressure was relentless.
Cats v Freo Fulltime
Cats  11. 19 (85)
Dockers  7.2 (44)
The Cats quickly kicked the first two goals of the quarter to open a 41-point lead. The Cats night of dominance included Dawson Simpson’s first goal of his career when he ran into an open goal, substitute Jordan Murdoch showed some dash and Joel Corey’s second goal for the game was also a ripper. After last week’s dramatic fadeout, the Cats made sure they ran the game out to the end.
Source: Geelong Advertiser