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Clinical Cats finals focused

Date

Emma Quayle

Western Bulldogs rookie Lin Jong shrugs off a tackle from Geelong's Jordan Murdoch.

Western Bulldogs rookie Lin Jong shrugs off a tackle from Geelong's Jordan Murdoch. Photo: Paul Rovere

GEELONG 3.2 8.4 10.8 16.11 (107) WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 3.3 7.5 11.7 (73)
GOALS Geelong: Hawkins 4, Taylor 2, Corey 2, Chapman 2, Christensen, Hunt, Podsiadly, Duncan, Stokes, West. Western Bulldogs: Grant 3, Howard 2, Cooney, Giansiracusa, Jong, Griffen, Higgins, Skinner.
BEST Geelong: Enright, Hunt, Duncan, Mackie, Murdoch, Podsiadly, Hawkins, Chapman, Lonergan. Western Bulldogs: Wallis, Griffen, Boyd, Cooney, Jong, Higgins.
INJURIES Geelong: Smedts (finger), Varcoe (foot), Scarlett (ankle) replaced in selected side by Guthrie, T Hunt (groin) replaced in selected side by Smedts. Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa (knee), Lake (foot/knee) replaced in selected side by Skinner, Johannisen (calf) replaced in selected side by Grant.
UMPIRES S Stewart, C Kamolins, H Ryan.
CROWD 18,047 at Simonds Stadium.

ONE team was young, inexperienced and one week away from finishing up for the year. The other team hopes, wants and is planning to be playing for a few more weeks yet. It was not surprising that they experienced, felt and saw different things in their match yesterday.

The Bulldogs yesterday beat Geelong for contested possession, winning by almost 30. They won the clearances, too, almost doubling the Cats' count. They were able, after trailing by five goals at half-time, to sneak back to within 15 points and score some easy goals when they forced the ball up, over or through the Geelong half-back line.

Geelong's James Murdoch attempts to stop Zephaniah Skinner kicking. Click for more photos

Geelong v Western Bulldogs

Geelong comfortably win their match at home against the Western Bulldogs Photo: Paul Rovere

Their coach, Brendan McCartney, was not happy with how they started or finished the match, but was pleased with how many of his players were able to worm their way into a game in which they had not set the initiative. Mitch Wallis got to see how Jimmy Bartel and Joel Corey do things, and still had six clearances.

Lin Jong, playing just his third game, made a few mistakes but ran, ran some more and jumped with courage all day. Jordan Roughead got to play against Tom Hawkins, the most in-form big forward around; Jarrad Grant picked out three holes in the Geelong back line; and Ryan Griffen got another 37 hard-won possessions.

The Dogs were the side that won't be around past next week, to whom small wins meant something much more, and McCartney saw quite a few of them. ''You talk about things for a few weeks but you need to spend time looking at footage with young players and not-so-young players about just hanging into a game and what it means to play contest by contest, every minute of the game and get little wins along the way - whether we create another stoppage or deny the opposition the ball or use your numbers, whatever it is, just keep some control of the game. We did that a lot better,'' he said.

But not quite well, or for long enough, which brings us to Geelong. The Cats won by a comfortable 34 points. When they did not get their hands to the ball first, they were able to win it back. And when they got it, they used it extremely well. Most members of their back line have played together for many years and, in the first half, they looked like it, picking where the ball was headed, picking it off and getting it moving, with precision, back towards the other end. Even the most recent addition, Jordan Murdoch, looked like he knew exactly when his teammates wanted him to sprint, or shoot off a quick pass.

Wallis, playing in the middle, noticed how much the Geelong players trusted each other, how quickly and emphatically they moved. ''We base our game around the contest, like they do, but their spread away from the contest and what they do with the ball … we can really take a leaf our of their book in that way,'' he said.

''They're very experienced and you find yourself playing on a big-name player and worrying about what they're doing, so they can sort of dictate the terms.''

With Brian Lake missing, the Bulldogs were left with Roughead - new to the back line - on Hawkins, and Michael Talia - new to the AFL - on James Podsiadly.

The Cats moved the ball forward beautifully - through Mitch Duncan, Bartel, James Kelly or Corey - and both Hawkins and Podsiadly marked well, particularly in the first half.

Their good kicking made way for marks all over the ground, and they took 43 more than the Dogs.

The Cats made the most of the Bulldogs' turnovers, too. Paul Chapman not only scored two goals in the second quarter but created other things simply by nudging players out of the way, clearing paths for the ball or running hard to get to where it was headed.

Leading by 31 points at half-time, the Cats allowed the Bulldogs to get back in the game, but only for so long. Josh Hunt was disappointed with how many easy goals the Cats let slip through, while coach Chris Scott thought they let things get away from them for much of the second half, albeit in a game that had no real consequences.

Still, his side controlled what happened. Even when the Bulldogs got going, the Cats were able to reset without fuss. That they did not win the contested possessions, or the clearances, was not something that worried their coach. After all, they won the game.

''Certainly, some of the statistical numbers weren't great, but I think in some ways it's an indication of the way modern footy's going,'' Scott said. ''Some of the things that people have held very dear maybe aren't as important as they think they are.

''I keep hearing on TV that if you win the contested possessions, you win the game. We were smashed there … but in the end we were in front in inside-50s. I'm not saying it doesn't matter, but the statistics can certainly be a little bit misleading.''

STEVIE J AT CHEEKY BEST

Steve Johnson spent much of the first quarter on the ball, but he headed forward after a goal and did his best not to be noticed, deep in the forward pocket. The Cats were going forward again when Johnson was spotted, Bob Murphy sending Easton Wood to pick him up before he could pull off the day's most mischievous move.

YOUNG PUPS SHINE

There were promising signs from Bulldog Michael Talia, who had his hands full, playing on James Podsiadly, Tom Campbell took some strong contested marks and Mitch Wallis was excellent in the clinches.

LUCKY FOR HIGGINS

Shaun Higgins got a little lucky before scoring his first goal midway through the third quarter; somehow, Dylan Addison's (extremely) short pass was deemed a mark, then a 50-metre penalty got him to the goal line.

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AFL 2016

Round 1
Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
BRI vs NTH 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:25ES
FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs COL 13:45MCG
RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
HAW vs STK 14:10AS
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs STK 13:45ES
ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 13:10G
CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs NTH 15:20ES
PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
BRI vs COL 19:25G
RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs ESS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs HAW 13:45G
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
STK vs FRE 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
BRI vs FRE 16:35G
GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 13:10ES
RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:40G
FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
GCF vs STK 13:40MS
SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
ESS vs STK 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 15:20ES
BRI vs GWS 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs STK 19:25ES
GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
BRI vs PTA 19:25G
NTH vs STK 19:25ES
Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 19:50ES
Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CAR 13:45G
HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs SYD 19:25ES
PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
COL vs GCF 19:25ES
PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
BRI vs GEE 15:20G
ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
STK vs BRI 12:00ES
ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
View all
 

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