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Live coverage: Western Bulldogs v Geelong

Date

Will Brodie

None tougher: Bulldog Matthew Boyd battles with Cat Joel Corey.

None tougher: Bulldog Matthew Boyd battles with Cat Joel Corey. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Thanks for your patronage, footy fans. Return to theage.com.au tomorrow for a big Saturday of AFL action, including the season-defining clash between Adelaide and Collingwood at AAMI Stadium.

GEELONG 3.5  6.9  9.9  14.11 (95)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.1  6.2  8.5  11.9 (75)
Goals: Geelong: S Motlop 3 T Hawkins 3 P Chapman 2 A Mackie J Bartel J Podsiadly J Selwood T Hunt T West. Western Bulldogs: D Giansiracusa 3 S Higgins 3 L Jones M Wallis T Dickson T Liberatore Z Skinner.
Best: Geelong: Johnson, Selwood, Chapman, Hawkins, Motlop, Enright, Hunt. Western Bulldogs: Minson, Liberatore, Murphy, Jones, Dahlhaus, Boyd
Official Crowd: 29,118 at Etihad Stadium.

FINAL SCORE Western Bulldogs 11.9 (75) v Geelong 14.11 (95)
The Cats appear tired and relived, rather than especially happy after their hard-fought win.
Disposals: WB: 368; Geel: 359
Contested Possessions:
Dogs 148, Cats 130.
Tackles: Dogs 60, Cats 66.
Inside 50s: Dogs 48, Cats 48.
Clearances: WB 45, Geel 29
Geelong took 110 marks to 68.
The Dogs won 16 more clearances and had 37 more handballs.

James Podsiadly (left) and Mark Austin battle for possession. Click for more photos

AFL Round 9 2012: Western Bulldogs v Geelong

Geelong led from start to finish but could never put away the persistent Western Bulldogs, eventually running out 20 point winners 14.11 (95) to 11.9 (75) at Etihad Stadium. Photo: Pat Scala

FINAL SCORE Western Bulldogs 11.9 (75) v Geelong 14.11 (95)
Possessions: Dogs: Boyd 34; Murphy 29; Griffen 25. Cats: Johnson 36; Chapman 27; Corey 26.

FINAL SCORE Western Bulldogs 11.9 (75) v Geelong 14.11 (95)
A captivating game throughout, with Geelong's class proving too much for a persistent Bulldogs outfit. Steve Johnson put on a master-class in the midfield, his brilliance putting every other hard-working on-baller in the shade. The Dogs had the Cats at their mercy for periods of the last two quarters, but missed simple opportunities in front of goal.

Q4 2.30 Western Bulldogs 11.9 (75) v Geelong 14.11 (95)
Long Griffen kick goes over Jones' head and is marked by Mackie at centre half back. Skill, poise, reward for effort - this is what keeps Geelong alive despite the belting they have received in the contested ball count in games like this.

Who's ducking now? Bulldog's Tory Dickson tackled high by Geelong's Joel Selwood.

Who's ducking now? Bulldog's Tory Dickson tackled high by Geelong's Joel Selwood. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Q4 2.30 Western Bulldogs 11.9 (75) v Geelong 14.11 (95)
GOAL. Cats. Podisadly.
Rebound into an open Cats forward line. Lake rolls the dice and attacks the ball, Hawkins holds his ground and shoves the footy out to Podsiadly, who runs in and kicks a curling low sealer. There could not have been a less apt player to deliver the coup de grace.

Q4 3.19 Western Bulldogs 11.9 (75) v Geelong 13.11 (89)
Cats doing just enough, and getting the ball forward a little more now. They have found something every time the Dogs got close to the lead, though it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the Dogs had not missed four or five easy goals.

Q4 6.20 Western Bulldogs 11.9 (75) v Geelong 13.10 (88)
Jones hits the post from a tight angle 18 out. Selwood clears stoppage in goalsquare.

Q4 7.04 Western Bulldogs 11.8 (74) v Geelong 13.10 (88)
Skinner snap hits the post.

Q4 7.27 Western Bulldogs 11.7 (73) v Geelong 13.10 (88)
GOAL. Cats. Bartel.
Brilliant evasive work ffrom Johnson, a great tap from Hawkins and Bartel snaps truly from 15 out.

Q4 9.07 Western Bulldogs 11.7 (73) v Geelong 12.10 (82)
GOAL. Cats.
Second foray forward from Cats for the quarter, second goal. Big pack 15 out, somehow Motlop is by himself at the back in the goal square. The infrequent Cat attacks are more potent because their forward line is left so open.

Q4 9.07 Western Bulldogs 11.7 (73) v Geelong 11.10 (76)
Gutsy marks to Hunt and Scarlett save the Cats. The ball is living at the Dogs' end.

Q4 10.07 Western Bulldogs 11.7 (73) v Geelong 11.10 (76)
GOAL. Dogs. Skinner.
Another centre clearance and Skinner delivers a high right foot snap which somehow eludes Cat defenders in the goalsquare, bouncing through for the third Dog goal in two minutes. At tthe moment, the Dogs have all the run.

Q4 10.35 Western Bulldogs 10.7 (67) v Geelong 11.10 (76)
GOAL. Dogs. Higgins.
Dahlhaus' hard work off the centre bounce ends with Higgins running in from 20 out.

Q4 11.09 Western Bulldogs 9.7 (61) v Geelong 11.10 (76)
GOAL. Dogs. Giansiracusa.
Finally, an easy goal for the Dogs, after pressure in the centre square coughs up the footy for Gia to run into an open goal.

Q4 12.10 Western Bulldogs 8.7 (55) v Geelong 11.10 (76)
GOAL. Cats. Motlop.
Ump plucks a holding the ball on the wing, from a huge pack. Bartel's tap-on and Stokes' snap find Motlop running into the goalsquare. Roughead's misses have cruelled his team.

Q4 13.30 Western Bulldogs 8.7 (55) v Geelong 10.10 (70)
Hargraves hammers Chapman's noggin with a clumsy spoil in a marking contestbut the Cat misses the set shot from his free kick.

Q4 14.42 Western Bulldogs 8.7 (55) v Geelong 10.9 (69)
GOAL. Cats. Hawkins.
With almost their first genuine insiide 50 of the quarter, the Cats go long to Hawkins, who recovers after the spoil from Austin and bananas a ripper from 40 metres.

Q4 15.40 Western Bulldogs 8.7 (55) v Geelong 9.9 (63)
Geelong under siege, but defending grandly.

Q4 17.40 Western Bulldogs 8.7 (55) v Geelong 9.9 (63)
Another miss from Roughead from close range, this time on an acute angle. Skinner then drops a simple mark on a lead deep inside 50. Dogs are blowing a winning chance here.

Q4 19.10 Western Bulldogs 8.6 (54) v Geelong 9.9 (63)
Roughead wins a free kick playing in front 25 metres out on a slight angle. Again he misses a simple shot.

SUBSTITUTION: GEELONG: SIMPKIN IN FOR WEST

THREE QUARTER TIME Western Bulldogs 8.5 (53) v Geelong 9.9 (63)
Liam Jones has been good for the Dogs after a poor first term. His strong attack on the ball up to the wings opened up forward thrusts in that quarter for the underdogs, and he should have capped off with a second goal late in the quarter. Encouraging signs for the long-term for the Doggies.

THREE QUARTER TIME Western Bulldogs 8.5 (53) v Geelong 9.9 (63)
This game is improving by the minute. The tacklefest of the opneing 15 minutes is long gone, with exhausting running from both teams and end-to-end attacks. The Dogs came at the Cats hard that term, growing in confidence as they won more of the ball forward of centre. Geelong's efficiency kept them in front, as Hawkins and Chapman capitalised on the few chances that came the Cats' way in the first half of the quarter. The Bulldogs missed two simple chances from set shots, Roughead and Jones the culprits, but they kept coming. They are playing with great spirit, but have to convert better in front of goal to be a winning chance. By the end of the quarter, the Dogs were halting the Cats at the half-forward line, sharing the ball through more midfielders and reboundingg defenders to set up counter-attacks.

THREE QUARTER TIME Western Bulldogs 8.5 (53) v Geelong 9.9 (63)

Q3 1.15 Western Bulldogs 8.5 (53) v Geelong 9.9 (63)
Mackie fumble in the centre opens the door for the Dogs, but they have no forwards in position and have to backtrack painstakingly until they progress along the opposite flank. They resist a counter-attack, running in waves from half-back and Griffen's long kick is marked strongly by Jones, 35 out. Terrible kick from straight in front ruins a lot of hard work.

SUB: BULLDOGS SKINNER ON FOR VESZPREMI

Q3 5.21 Western Bulldogs 8.4 (52) v Geelong 9.9 (63)
GOAL. Cats. Hawkins.
Geelong's typically efficient kick-in takes them coast-to-coast, with Enright's long bomb finding Hawkins 25 out. geelong's more occasional forways forward are more dangerous, and their efficiency is keeping them at arm's length from an eager opponent.

Q3 6.18 Western Bulldogs 8.4 (52) v Geelong 8.9 (57)
West's attempted shot at goal from 58 metres is a shank, and rebounds quickly to the opposite forward pocket for the Dogs. Dickson marks on the boundary and his banana kick is just saved on the line by Corey.

Q3 8.57 Western Bulldogs 8.3 (51) v Geelong 8.9 (57)
GOAL. Dogs. Higgins.
Mongrel punt from the wing clean bowls Enright and Bartel at half-back, leaving Giansiracusa to pass to Higgins 35 out directly in front. The Bulldogs are winning more contested ball, and pushing forward more often, but they need to, given how much more work it takes them to find a goal.

Q3 10.45 Western Bulldogs 7.3 (45) v Geelong 8.9 (57)
Dahlhaus and Wallis miss opportunities following the Roughead blunder. The Dogs are not getting reward for their labours, and Chapman's class in kicking those two goals could prove crucial.

Q3 11.50 Western Bulldogs 7.3 (45) v Geelong 8.9 (57)
Minson outmuscles his opponent in a stoppage battle inside 50, then kicks for Roughead to mark directly in front. He hits the post from point blank range.

Q3 13.30 Western Bulldogs 7.2 (44) v Geelong 8.9 (57)
GOAL. Cats. Chapman.
Geelong share the ball in the middle, freeing up T Hunt, whose long bomb is marked in the goal square by Chapman. Possibly Chapman's best game of the year so far - productive in midfield, and now a finisher up forward - 18 possessions, six marks, two goals, three tackles.

Q3 14.11 Western Bulldogs 7.2 (44) v Geelong 7.9 (51)
GOAL. Cats. Chapman.
Hawkins handballs over his head and Chapmman snaps truly with a bouncing kick ffrom 35 metres in an open forward line.

Q3 15.30 Western Bulldogs 7.2 (44) v Geelong 6.9 (45)
Hargrave misses everything after the Dogs win the ball from yet another stoppage inside 50. Dogs on top in the opening exchanges of the third term.

Q3 16.56 Western Bulldogs 7.2 (44) v Geelong 6.9 (45)
GOAL. Dogs. Liberatore.
Stoppage inside 50. Liberatore wins a free kick for holding the ball directly in front 30 metres out and converts without fuss. Four goals from stoppages in their forward line for the Dogs.

HALF-TIME Western Bulldogs 6.2 (38) v Geelong 6.9 (45)
Players who can lift and change the game:
Bulldogs: Ryan Griffen has had 14 touches, but hasn't been a dynamic influence; Liam Jones (6 touches, 1 goal) had an improved second term and needs to keep presenting to his midfielders and half-backs. Geelong: Jimmy Bartel (7 disposals) has been very quiet. James Podsiadly has been where the ball aint (3 disposals).

HALF-TIME Western Bulldogs 6.2 (38) v Geelong 6.9 (45)
The Channel Seven half-time interview with Robert Murphy concludes with the indie flanker saying "It (footy) is a funny way to make a living!"

HALF-TIME Western Bulldogs 6.2 (38) v Geelong 6.9 (45)
The Dogs have recorded 35 more handpasses as they sought to clear the stoppages. They have 19 fewer disposals overall and have won eight more clearances.

HALF-TIME Western Bulldogs 6.2 (38) v Geelong 6.9 (45)
Possessions: Dogs: Wallis 17; Boyd 16, Murphy 15. Cats: Johnson 19; Chapman 16; Corey 15.
Contested Possessions:
Dogs 79, Cats 60.
Tackles: Dogs 28, Cats 42.
Inside 50s: Dogs 21, Cats 28.

HALF-TIME Western Bulldogs 6.2 (38) v Geelong 6.9 (45)
Five-goal to three quarter from the Dogs, who got better the more the game opened up. Geelong were unable to maintain the high pressure  they exerted in the packs in the opening term,  their key forwards were well blanketed by Lake and Austin, and their backs did not get the luxury of running out in front of their opponents in order to set up counter-attacks.

HALF-TIME Western Bulldogs 6.2 (38) v Geelong 6.9 (45)
GOAL. Dogs. Giansiracusa.
Jones does get a free kick for being held, on the wing. His kick is marked in a contest by Roughead at half forward. His long kick, with 20 seconds left, is marked bravely by Giansiracusa 20 metres out. He converts the set shot without problem and the Dogs get as close as  they have been since the 6 minute mark of the opening term.

Q2 0.40 Western Bulldogs 5.2 (32) v Geelong 6.9 (45)
Desperately scrambled rushed behind by the Dogs after end-to-end attacks from both teams.

Q2 1.54 Western Bulldogs 5.2 (32) v Geelong 6.8 (44)
GOAL. Dogs. Wallis.
Inside-50 stoppage. Dahlhaus first possession, handpass to Wallis, whose snap bounces and rolls straight from 30 metres. Jones unlucky to miss a holding free in marking duel, not being afforded  the asssistance Hawkins received at the other end.

Q2 3.49 Western Bulldogs 4.2 (26) v Geelong 6.8 (44)
The work ethic is there for the Dogs, but not the finishing - after three great tackles insidde 50, they give the ball to Minson, who picks out a Cat defender. Liam Picken has a spectacular shiner on his cheekbone after his early accidental clash on head with shoulder blade.

Q2 4.36 Western Bulldogs 4.2 (26) v Geelong 6.7 (43)
GOAL. Cats. Hawkins.
Contentious free kick against Lake at centre half forward is called by an umpire 50 metres from the contest. Good straight kick from 40 metres.

Q2 6.05 Western Bulldogs 4.2 (26) v Geelong 5.7 (37)
Patched-up Picken just misses from 45 on a 45 degree angle after good contested work from teammates on 50. For a team determined to define themselves by contested, congested footy, the Dogs have looked a lot better when the game opened up.

Q2 7.54 Western Bulldogs 4.1 (25) v Geelong 5.7 (37)
GOAL. Dogs. Jones.
Jones marks with the help of Will Minson's pack work, and converts the set shot with conviction from 40 metres on an angle. Liam Picken is offf with what might be a heavy facial injury. That was the Bulldogs' best movement of the ball from defence. Pressure levels on possessions have dropped away considerably after a hot start.

Q2 9.29 Western Bulldogs 3.1 (19) v Geelong 5.7 (37)
Johnson misses a set shot after marking from a  perfect Pods passs 45 metres out. Johnson was  resting forward - he can't help but find the ball this term (17 possessions this half so far).

Q2 10.35 Western Bulldogs 3.1 (19) v Geelong 5.6 (36)
Good ball use by foot from the Dogs after they wina crucial contest on the wing. Griffen kicks out on the full from 50 metres. There is already more room in the game, as the pack dissipates under slicker ball use and player fatigue.

Q2 12.14 Western Bulldogs 3.1 (19) v Geelong 5.6 (36)
GOAL. Dogs, Dickson.
Slick work from the centre bounce gives the leading Dickson a marking chance 40 out. His kick is impressively straight from the set shot.

Q2 13.05 Western Bulldogs 2.1 (13) v Geelong 5.6 (36)
GOAL. Cats. T Hunt.
Johnson sets up possession for the Cats and Selwood spots up Taylor Hunt on his own 50 out in front. He plays on and delivers the simple drop punt.

Q2 14.01 Western Bulldogs 2.1 (13) v Geelong 4.6 (30)
Stevie Johnson (14 possessions) is wreaking havoc for the Cats, pushing deep into the midfield, perhaps to help cover for the missing James Kelly.

Q2 15.04 Western Bulldogs 2.1 (13) v Geelong 4.5 (29)
Giansiracusa weaves through traffic in his forward line to snare an unexpected major. From the next centre bounce, Geelong responds, with brilliant teamwork setting up Motlop's goal from 50.

Q2 18.33 Western Bulldogs 1.1 (7) v Geelong 3.5 (23)
Minson wins a stoppage tap on 60 to Cooney, who circles at the top of the 50 and passes to the pocket. Higgins and Giansiracusa both leave the ball for each other. That tells the story of the Dogs forward line.

QUARTER TIME Western Bulldogs 1.1 (7) v Geelong 3.5 (23)
Possessions: Dogs: Murphy, Wallis 9; Higgins 8. Cats: Enright 10; Corey 9; Chapman 8.
Contested Possessions: Dogs 40, Cats 33.
Tackles: Dogs 16, Cats 28.
Inside 50 Dogs 8, Cats 14.
Matthew Scarlett, playing on Adam Cooney, had five touches and two marks compared to Cooney's five disposals (no score).

QUARTER TIME Western Bulldogs 1.1 (7) v Geelong 3.5 (23)
Geelong's class, and work ethic in the packs and on the spread, gave them a three-goal kick-start before the persistent Dogs ground their way back into the contest in the last eight minutes. The Dogs forward line, small and tall, lacks a threat, and their ball use going forward, under extreme pressure, is not good enough. Their only hope is to hang in and hope that pressure drops so they can get some better chances inside 50. Geelong's defence was superb that quarter, each individual beating his man and setting up incisive rebounds. Selwood was more productive than his dogged midfield rivals and Duncan and Johnson were creative at half-forward. Brian Lake had a marvellous quarter on Tom Hawkins, continually spoiling and setting up the Dogs with clever choices.

Q1 1.41  Western Bulldogs 1.1 (7) v Geelong 3.5 (23)
High pressure packs with plenty of short handballs from both teams as they search for the way clear to an outside runner who can break the lines with a kick.

Q1 3.42  Western Bulldogs 1.1 (7) v Geelong 3.5 (23)
Lake is holding up the Cats brilliantly; Scarlett was the architect in the opneing minutes for Geelong, before he had a rest.

Q1 5.26  Western Bulldogs 1.1 (7) v Geelong 3.5 (23)
Podsiadly just misses on the run from the pocket after a fluent, effortless transition of the ball through the corridor by the silky Cats.

Q1 5.26  Western Bulldogs 1.1 (7) v Geelong 3.4 (22)
Chapman set shot from 55 touched on the line.

Q1 6.35  Western Bulldogs 1.1 (7) v Geelong 3.3 (21)
GOAL. Dogs. Higgins.
The Bulldogs' first sustained pressure, and repeat stoppages inside 50, leads to a chance for Higgins 35 out on his right. The snap tumbles through perfectly.

Q1 8.26  Western Bulldogs 0.1 (1) v Geelong 3.3 (21)
Veszpremi's shot from 55 drifts wide. The Dogs are yet to penetrate deep into attack, their skills under pressure not good enough to hit up leading forwards.

Q1 9.22 Western Bulldogs 0.0 (0) v Geelong 3.3 (21)
GOAL. Cats. West.
The Bulldogs struggle forward, but the Cats rebound into open space is lethal, Stringer and Johnson combining before Johnson's kick ahead of West enables him to run into an open goal.

Q1 11.15 Western Bulldogs 0.0 (0) v Geelong 2.3 (15)
Hawkins misses a simple set shot after being set up by Scarlett and Duncan. The Dogs backline is holding up well under the weight of possession, but Cats defenders Scarlett, Hunt, Enright and Mackie are rebounding the ball twice as fast as it comes into the Bulldogs forward line.

Q1 13.27 Western Bulldogs 0.0 (0) v Geelong 2.2 (14)
The rolling maul surrounding the stoppages may suit the Dogs, but Geelong's pressure in close is good enough that no Dog is gaining a clear possession to enable them to escape the pack cleanly.

Q1 15.40 Western Bulldogs 0.0 (0) v Geelong 2.2 (14)
GOAL. Cats. Selwood.
Sherman's long shot on the run drops short and is marked by Corey Enright, whose clever long kick sets up a potent rebound. Selwood takes a contested mark from a poor clearing kick, and converts from 40 metres directly in front.

Q1 16.41 Western Bulldogs 0.0 (0) v Geelong 1.1 (7)
Hawkins hits the post with a kick off the ground out of a stoppage close to goal. Bad start for reprieved key forward Liam Jones, whose dropped mark let the Cats in.

Q1 17.50 Western Bulldogs 0.0 (0) v Geelong 1.0 (6)
GOAL. Cats. Mackie.
Brilliant kick from Johnson in the middle of a scrimmage sets up Stokes, who handpasses to the running Mackie for a long bomb from 50 metres.

Q1 19.24 Western Bulldogs 0.0 (0) v Geelong 0.0 (0)
Dogs win the first clearance and force the ball forward under extreme pressure, the Cats eventtually forcing another stoppage after a frenzied series of handpasses and tackles.

7.49: Cats adopt a loose circle for the final words from their skipper; Dogs go for the conventional clumped huddle, arms on shoulders.

7.47pm: Never have so many fans been so glad for the existence of Etihad  Stadium. It is still raining in Melbourne after a day-long torrential downpour. It is windy and cold. Undoubtedly the inclemency will affect the eventual crowd, because travelling to the game in such conditions is a chore. But those who have made it will get to watch under the roof in comparative comfort.

7.45pm: Bulldogs coach Brendon McCartney says the Cats will be fired up and a good start is very important for his team. He expects plenty of mistakes from two inexperienced a line-ups, but a terriffic game of footy. Of his problematic forward line, he said "We have to win the ball and get it in there... then we can worry about what to do once it's there." Can't argue with that sequencing!

7.41pm: Current odds: Dogs $5.00, Geelong $1.19. Line: Geelong -29.5

7.35pm: Each team has a key playmaker in the backline. Bulldog Brian Lake is back to his best, blanketing stars and creating dangerous rebounds. Geelong's Matthew Scarlett is less flashy, but no less effective as an architect of Cat attacks from defnce. However Scarlett has played only three times this year due to injury and suspension and this is his first game since round six. Lake might have the tougher task, with less support and James Podsiadly or Tom Hawkins to subdue. Scarlett may get the third tall Bulldogs forward with Tom Lonergan and Harry Taylor backing him up.

7.20pm: Substitutes: Geelong: Jonathan Simpkin. Western Bulldogs: Zephaniah Skinner.
Simpkin is on debut for the Cats after being raised off the rookie list. A nuggety 24-yo midfielder, he has shown good NAB Cup form for the Cats in the past two seasons. He is the fifth Cat to play his first senior game this season, and the tenth of Chris Scott's two year reign as coach.

7.12pm: Carlton has named all three frontline ruckmen for their game with Melbourne on Sunday - click here.

6.58pm - Geelong assistant coach Blake Caracella says there's no doubt the Cats are getting older, and have lost players from last year, but the footy world thought the same last year and "hopefully our season's just started". He says Geelong will miss James Kelly tonight, with the Bulldogs placing so much emphasis on winning the contested ball-winner.

6.43pm. A late change for the Dogs: Ayce Cordy out, Liam Jones in. Zeph Skinner is the Bulldogs substitute. Cordy has looked more threatening up forward of late, but neither has made a big impression on the scoresheet. Running defender Daniel Pearce is making his debut for the Dogs. He was talen with pick 49 in the national draft and hails from ther Oakleigh Chargers (and the Bulleen Boomers basketball powerhouse.)

- Scotch College have defeated old foes Melbourne Grammar by 25 points on Friday in the Cordner-Eggleston Cup, recognised as the world’s oldest football competition.

- Here are the round nine teams, updated with Sunday's interchange bench changes - click here.

6.24pm - Here's a new term for the footy vernacular. Adelaide is calling itself 'barbaric' - click here

6.05pm - West Australian teenager Elliot Yeo will become the fourth Brisbane Lions player to make his senior AFL debut in 2012, after being named in the final team for this Sunday afternoon’s match against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium. Yeo (whose surname is pronounced "YO") was drafted to the Lions with their end-of-first-round Compensation Selection (Pick No.30 overall) at last year’s AFL National Draft.

- See what you think about the Top 50 most powerful people in footy list compiled by The Age's Melbourne Magazine - click here.

- Gold Coast has ended months of speculation by re-signing coach Guy McKenna for a further two years - click here.

- It has been revealed that the AFL's newest stadium was trod by farm animals only 36 days ago - click here.

Dogs v Cats:

The improving Bulldogs will prove a tough test for the Cats, who badly need a win to stay in touch with the top four.

There is no doubt the Cats are not playing at the level of their previous, stellar recent seasons, but they showed with their fightback against Collingwood last week that they are far from a spent force. Robert Walls feels they will struggle to win this year's premiership, but he concedes "they will win more games than they lose, so once again they will see finals action."

If that is to be the case, Geelong, 4-4, must win matches like this one.

The Bulldogs are winning praise for their low-key competitiveness, but the fact remains that their biggest scalp so far has been the disappointing Kangaroos, and they were hammered by West Coast and St Kilda at this venue. They have lost three of their past four, and six of their past eight matches against Geelong, and were barely competitive in the last outing against the Cats in round 11 last season at Simonds Stadium.

For all that, the Dogs have not been disgraced this year, and their effort has never been wanting. With stalwarts Ryan Hargrave and Brian Lake helping out playmaker Robert Murphy in defence, and a hard-nosed midfield, the Dogs have won their share of ball, and restricted their opponents reasonably well. The real problem for the Dogs has been a lack of viable forward targets. Key forward prospect Liam Jones has been dropped, and tonight their main targets are Ayce Cordy and Jordan Roughead, two talls who are more ruckman than key forwards.

If these undoubted talents can compete well enough against star defenders such as Mathew Scarlett, Harry Taylor and Tom Lonergan, the Bulldogs might get the reward for effort they need to trouble Geelong.

2 comments

  • Shame that we never see articles written about teams who do not bottom out, who have never had a salary cap concession, who are not underhand in their administrative dealings, who do not win premierships as a result of a cheque book, who continue to contest without the media hype afforded to a few "special' ones. if we ever do, they will write about the extraordinary Geelong Football Club.

    Commenter
    Jenz
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 26, 2012, 12:18AM
    • Another wonderfully biased commentary by Cwoamonetti during the telecast. Swuper!

      Commenter
      Jenz
      Date and time
      May 26, 2012, 12:58AM
      Comments are now closed

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