GEELONG CATS V GWS GIANTS MATCH PREVIEW - CATS BY
AFL ROUND 11 2016: GEELONG CATS V GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS Geelong will look to bounce back on their home deck following a horror fortnight which saw losses to Collingwood and Carlton. The back-to-back defeats have seen the Cats fall two games behind ladder-leaders North Melbourne, and perhaps most worryingly they now sit in a group of five sides on 28 points. One of these sides is this week's opponent in Greater Western Sydney, a team delivering on their long-recognised promise so far in 2016. Geelong and the Giants have already met this season, the Giants prevailing by 13 points in Canberra in round two. The task will be tougher at the second time of asking for the Western Sydney given the Cats are yet to lose at home this season, however the dispirited performances of the past two weeks will give the Giants a great deal of optimism. A win for the Cats will see them remain ahead of the pack and within touch of the top two; a loss and they could very likely drop as far down as sixth. The game will see the return of triple-premiership hero Steve Johnson to Kardinia Park, in what is expected to be a warm reception for the former Cat. Johnson has been rejuvenated this season playing primarily as a forward, and Geelong fans can expect to be treated to one last show from Stevie J, even if it is in orange.
THIS WEEK IN
FOCUS: Round eleven shapes as a crucial clash for the Cats, whose
lacklustre past fortnight has put them in danger of losing the advantage
gained in the opening months. Slow starts have cost the side dearly,
having conceded 16 and 14 goals to Collingwood and Carlton respectively
in the first half of the last two weeks. These early deficits have proved
too much to overcome, so it is imperative Geelong tighten up defensively
from the outset against the Giants. The Cats must also ensure they put
away their early chances, for their combined first quarter scores of
3.9 (from two matches) have been just as detrimental to the cause as
Geelong continue to rotate a pool of players with three changes made
this week. Lincoln McCarthy returns having recovered from an ankle injury
sustained against West Coast, as does fellow forward Daniel Menzel.
Tom Ruggles has also been recalled for his 7th game of his debut season.
Rhys Stanley was named in the side on Thursday night but has not overcome
a foot complaint, so Jordan Murdoch has retained his spot. Also going
out are the omitted Cory Gregson and Billie Smedts.
PREDICTION: It should be a fantastic game on Saturday evening, with the result of extreme significance to the make up of the top eight heading into the middle of the season. At their best, both sides play exciting, high-scoring football. If the Cats can find the commitment that has been lacking recently and the Giants acclimatise well to the ground, there will be very little to split the two sides. The home ground advantage nudges the clash in Geelong's favour.
Geelong by 6 points.