Geelong in hunt but Tigers gone

Monday, July 1

GEELONG slammed shut the door on Richmond's season with a comfortable 42-point win on Saturday that has it sitting in the eight and with a sniff of finals action.

For the first time under coach Mark Thompson, the Cats have strung together four wins after accounting for Richmond 14.12 (96) to 7.12 (54).

The first quarter started slowly and was riddled with fundamental errors and turnovers from both sides, with just a goal apiece scored late from free kicks to Tigers' ruckman Brad Ottens and Cat Paul Chapman.

But in a game that looked set to develop into a comedy, Geelong shrugged off its indecision and hesitancy in the second to pile on seven goals to two, including three to skipper Ben Graham.

It was never pretty football but Geelong had the score on the board by the main break.

``I didn't think today was very flashy football. I just thought the way the first quarter went we looked flat and we just had to box on and fight our way through to the end,'' Thompson said.

``It was almost like a professional victory today. We just didn't ease up so that was pleasing.''

Ruckman Steven King was pushed forward after the centre bounces in the second quarter to exploit Richmond's lack of height in defence and scored a goal while Steve Johnson intercepted an Ottens kick for another.

Joel Corey, Corey Enright and Chapman gave the Cats great drive out of the centre, while Cameron Ling held Tigers captain Wayne Campbell to nine possessions and one goal for the match.

David Wojcinski off half-back was too slick for the Tigers, hitting Graham on the lead for the first of his three second-quarter goals four minutes in.

Corey's opponent, Mark Coughlan, got plenty of the ball and David Rodan provided flashes to excite Richmond fans. But with poor delivery inside 50m, the Tigers were never able to capitalise on their opportunities.

One of the few positives to come out of an otherwise forgettable game for Frawley was the performance of Ty Zantuck who held Geelong sharpshooter Kent Kingsley goaless.

But Tom Harley blanketed Richmond spearhead Matthew Richardson who managed just one goal from few touches.

``When the ball was coming in he was beating Richo in the one-on-ones which is very hard to do because he's a good player,'' Thompson said.

Graham's return to form on the forward line brought five goals but hasn't guaranteed him a start up there this Saturday against West Coast.

``He'll probably be down back again next week. You don't want to do it with too many guys but he might be one that just ends up being able to cope with it,'' Thompson said.