CATS TESTED BUT PREVAIL OVER BULLDOGS
By Ben Jensen twitter.com/thecattery WESTERN BULLDOGS V GEELONG CATS GEELONG battled but lead all night to win by 20 points over the Western Bulldogs at a wintery Etihad Stadium tonight. A car-train collision in Werribee meant many Cat fans didn't make it to the ground in time if at all, the crowd down somewhat at under thirty thousand. Matthew Scarlett took his place in the side for the first time in a couple weeks, with no changes to the Cats' selected side; one change for the Bulldogs however, Ayce Cordy replaced by Liam Jones. The Cats controlled the first quarter but were only in front by 16 points at quarter time. The Bulldogs kicked a goal just before half time to cut the deficit to just seven behinds, and although they drew to within one point early in the second half the Cats didn't quite let go, leading by ten points at the final break.
Goals to Shannon Motlop and Tom Hawkins, who finished with three each overall, appeared to put the match Geelong's way as they jumped to a 19 point lead but it was the Dogs who sprung into action, scoring three goals from roughly five kicks to really stir things up. Motlop stopped the rot once more, a goal from Jimmy Bartel two minutes later all but putting the match beyond doubt. The game was indeed over when James Podsiadly finally go the ball in his hands inside fifty, happily accepting the handpass from Hawkins to bang it through to put his side up by 20 points. Four points to the Cats but not quite what they're looking for in terms of execution. Steve Johnson was best on ground, putting in a virtuoso role, playing end to end on the ball, setting up countless forays forward and several goals without kicking one himself. Overall it was the usual suspect big names who dominated for the Cats but young guns Jesse Stringer and Motlop acquainted themselves very well.
The Bulldogs were good, particularly Luke Dahlhaus who amazingly did not feature in the best players list below. Adam Cooney, Rob Murphy and Matthew Boyd wound back the clock somewhat as did Daniel Giansiracusa who wasn't prolific but his kicking for goal was first class with three key goals. Thomas Liberatore unlike his old man kept his hands to himself and got plenty of it, Ryan Griffen doing likewise but often lacking in disposal. Finally Bryan Lake should be able to bury the past of his last performance against the Cats, clearly enjoying the relationship with his new coach Brendan McCartney.
Jonathan Simpkin played his first game, starting as a substitute, coming on to replace Trent West. On the rookie list, Simpkin was elevated onto the main list today in place of Nathan Vardy who remains on the long term injured list. Simpkin won last year's club best & fairest for the VFL side. He was initially recruited to the Geelong VFL side for season 2009 after two years with the Sydney Swans without playing a game. The 24 year old has since gone on to play over 60 VFL games for the Cats. He was named in the 2010 VFL Team of the Year and represented Victoria against WA in 2010. He finished third in the 2010 best & fairest and was taken by the club in that year's rookie draft after two seasons as a VFL only player.
3.5, 6.9, 9.9, 14.11 (95) DEFEATED
FIELD: Troy 'Billy' Pannell (28) Shane McInerney (30)
Andrew Mitchell (31) EM: Stuart Wenn (22)
CROWD: 29,118 at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Docklands
PRE-MATCH TIP: "Cats by 42 points"