Gritty Cats claw their way back

Monday, August 12

PREMIERSHIP favourites Geelong scraped over the line by four points to defeat Springvale in Saturday's VFL encounter at Springvale Reserve.

The Cats, on top of the VFL ladder with 15 wins and three losses, faced the ninth placed Scorpions and had to overcome a three-quarter time deficit of three points to snatch victory.

Gary Ablett and James Bartel dominated in Geelong's midfield with Ablett also the Cats' top goalkicker with three.

AFL discards David Mensch and Tim McGrath also featured in Geelong's best again putting pressure on selectors for a senior spot.

But with the dominance of young Cats, Ablett and Bartel, that AFL call-up appears unlikely.

Brent Grgic was also a pivotal force in Geelong's win, entrusted with the task of shutting down one of the Scorpions' best players in Xavier Clarke.

The loss for Springvale all but ended its finals hopes with only two regular VFL rounds remaining.

Geelong coach Ron Watt praised his team in the face of tough conditions and a hard-fought contest.

``It was a low-scoring game,'' Watt said, ``the conditions were not conducive to high-scoring football.

``There was a fairly tough breeze and we were kicking with it in the last quarter.

``It really did die off in the last quarter though.

``It was a hard-fought contest and we were happy to come away with the win, although we could have done it a fraction better in the last quarter. But our boys played a good, hard brand of football.''

Geelong entered inside 50 on more than 20 occasions in the final quarter for a return 2.4, while the Scorpions managed only seven entries in the term.

``We just didn't use the ball overly well in the last quarter but we stuck to our task in terms of pressure,'' Watt said. ``I think we scrounged a victory out of something that may really have ultimately got away.''