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Cats survive scare against Giants

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Geelong survived an impressive first-half challenge from Greater Western Sydney to win their AFL match by 65 points at Kardinia Park today.

Scores were level at quarter and half time, but the Cats kicked clear in the third term to easily win 19.12 (126) to 9.7 (61).

Midfielder James Kelly starred in the bleak conditions for Geelong with 32 possessions, although he will come under video scrutiny for a bump on Toby Greene in the third quarter.

All-Australian key defender Harry Taylor started forward for Geelong in the absence of Tom Hawkins and finished with six goals in his 100th game.

Taylor had only kicked nine goals in his AFL career before this match.

Steve Johnson returned to his usual role of forward and kicked five goals.

Midfielder Dylan Shiel was best for the Giants with two goals and 21 touches.

Geelong made three late changes, bringing to five the number of players who came into the team.

Corey Enright (foot), Joel Corey (shoulder) and Daniel Motlop (shoulder) were late withdrawals, joining Tom Hawkins (knee) and Jonathan Simpkin on the sidelines for the match.

The league's newest team kicked the opening three goals and led for all but five minutes in the first half.

Rising Star nominees Jeremy Cameron and Stephen Coniglio were prominent early as the Giants had Geelong in trouble.

The Cats were unbackable favourites against GWS, who have won only once in their debut season, but the home side struggled to take control.

The Giants' defensive efforts were particularly strong and they never let the Cats break the game open.

After only kicking seven goals against Essendon last week, GWS had kicked that many by halftime.

But the key statistics showed the Cats were not playing horribly and, perhaps predictably, they went up a gear in the third term against the inexperienced opposition.

Geelong poured on 6.5 to 1.2 in the third term to restore order.

Matthew Scarlett went onto Cameron and restricted him to one possession in the second half.

Giants midfielder Jacob Townsend suffered a heavy hit to the mouth in the second term and was subbed out of the match.

The Cats had bad news earlier today when highly-rated youngster Daniel Menzel was taken off on a stretcher in the VFL curtain-raiser with a serious knee injury.

It was Menzel's comeback game from a right knee reconstruction and it appears he will need the same operation on his left knee.

Surgery would put Menzel out of action for the rest of the season.

AAP

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