Geelong smashes Collingwood in final-tune-up

GEELONG will take plenty of confidence into round one after belting Collingwood in the final tune-up for 2013.

It kicked 20 goals to run out winners by 51 points against a disappointing Collingwood at Simonds Stadium.

Geelong was 47 points in front at half-time and was dominating the game with 35 inside 50s to Collingwood’s 22.

The second half was more even on the scoreboard with the Cats outscoring the Magpies by just four points – but they always looked in control.

The Cats have a bunch of young players well schooled in the Geelong way who look capable of keeping the 2011 premier in contention again this seas on.While the game obviously lacked the usual intensity, the Cats would have been pleased to have 14 goalkickers, no injuries and most players showing good form.

Geelong’s young midfield was well on top of the Magpies’ star-studded centre square combination, and kept winning the ball out of the centre at will.

The lack of defensive pressure allowed the Cats to score at will, either finding tall targets or slicing through the middle on fast counter-attacks.

Josh Caddy was noticeable in the middle, working hard at the stoppages and being smart enough to get into space forward of centre to kick a couple of goals. He looks to be a fine acquisition and will help address the Cats’ weakness at the stoppages in 2012.

Collingwood’s midfield failed to fire, giving away free kicks early and then losing some system.

The Cats would have been heartened with the effort of Marc Blivacs in the ruck, given their big man stocks are depleted ahead of round one. He is yet to play a game but he could get his chance in the opener. He took on Darren Jolly at the centre bounce and was very mobile around the ground, kicking a goal and getting into dangerous spaces.

Jimmy Bartel kicked two goals in the first quarter playing forward and could be a threat inside 50 given his marking power and strength on the ground.

Collingwood’s tall forwards battled hard and made the most of limited opportunities. Quinten Lynch kicked four goals up until three quarter time and then left the ground. Travis Cloke and Brent Macaffer kicked two goals each. The Magpies were missing Ben Reid’s marking power in defence and could not quickly transfer the ball to the flanks. It tried to run the ball through the middle but Geelong punished their turnovers.

Although playing a close to full strength team in preparation for round one, the Magpies were without Luke Ball, Alan Didak, Dale Thomas, Lachlan Keefe, Clinton Young, Alex Fasolo and Paul Seedsman.

Only Seedsman and Young can be expected with any confidence to be available in round one although those battling injury are hoping to make their way back in the early rounds.

Paul Chapman was missing with a thigh injury.

Collingwood expects to play Marley Williams, Andrew Krakouer and Ben Hudson in the VFL practice match on Saturday against the Cats, while Geelong will play James Kelly and Steve Johnson. Both Kelly and Johnson are serving a suspension in round one.

Geelong plays Hawthorn on Easter Monday while Collingwood takes on North Melbourne on Easter Sunday.

GEELONG                      4.7    12.10   15.17    20.21 (141)
COLLINGWOOD           3.1     5.5       11.8      13.12 (90)

GOALS
Geelong: Podsiadly 3, Bartel 2, Brown 2 Caddy 2, Christensen 2, Hunt, Duncan, Blivacs, Varcoe, Mackie, Murdoch, Stringer, Selwood, Schroder.
Collingwood: Lynch 4, Macaffer 2, Cloke 2, Swan 2, Pendlebury, Beams, Sinclair.

BEST
Geelong: Caddy, Bartel, Selwood, Motlop, T.Hunt, Varcoe
Collingwood: Lynch, Beams, Brown, Pendlebury

INJURIES
Geelong: Nil
Collingwood: Quinten Lynch (leg)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Meredith, Chamberlain