CATS CRUISE TO SIXTY-ONE POINT WIN
By Ben Jensen GEELONG cemented top spot on the AFL ladder after defeating the second-placed Bulldogs by sixty-one points at Skilled Stadium today. Windy conditions and plenty of bite from the Bulldogs ensured the Cats made hard work of it in the first half before finishing all over the Bulldogs in the second half, their superiority over their challenger rudely asserted, despite the absense of All Australian midfielders Gary Ablett and Cameron Ling.
The first quarter can only be described as scrappy. Despite scoring the only goal in the first twenty minutes were lucky to level the scores by quarter time. Darren Milburn picked up an amazing 19 posessions by quarter time, although many of them were give and gets with Tom Harley and Matthew Scarlett. Ryan Gamble, who replaced an injured David Wojcinski, proved too much to handle for the Bulldogs backline most of the day, going about it in his customary low-key manner, although he did smile as he took a big grab in the third term.
In the second quarter Geelong were arguably the better team, inaccurate kicking ensuring the Bulldogs remained in the match, the scores again all level going into the main break, The Cats put the foot down in the third term, building a twenty point lead midway through the term. The two sides traded goals before a sharked goal from Harry Taylor just about snuffed out the Bulldogs. However while milking time on the centre-half back line, the Geelong defence came unstuck, Nathan Eagleton benefiting with a crafty goal from just outside fifty to peg the lead back to fifteen points.
The Bulldogs didn't really fire a shot in the final quarter, as Geelong finished with eight goals to one. Cameron Mooney chimed in with two goals, Gamble another. The Bulldogs didn't score until time on, as if to emphacise the differential between the two sides first and second on the ladder. This Friday night Geelong play Hawthorn at the MCG, the Cats' third MCG 'away' fixture of the season in what will certainly be a big money spinner for the Hawks. Football Manager Neil Balme maintains Ablett is a chance to return but the sight of him hobbling on crutches suggests he is more likely to miss than play.
GEELONG 3.3 6.11 11.12 19.17
UMPIRES: Chris Donlon (1) (VIC), Michael Vozzo (2) (VIC), Shaun Ryan (25) (VIC)
CROWD: 24,801 at Skilled Stadium, Geelong
INJURIES: Geelong: David Wojcinski replaced in selected side by Ryan Gamble Western Bulldogs: TBC
VFL ROUND 15
BALLARAT 9.3 17.6 22.9 29.10 (184)