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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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Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
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CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
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RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
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PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
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MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
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Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
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RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Stats
HAW 101vs BRI 56 LIVE Stats
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE vs ADE 13:05SS
BRI vs WBU 13:45G
PTA vs FRE 15:50Adelaide Oval
HAW vs CAR 16:40MCG
SYD vs GCF 19:20SCG
WCE vs STK 19:40Domain Stadium
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MEL vs GWS 13:10ES
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
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AFL 2015
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Fremantle 20 16 4 0 122.19 64
West Coast Eagles 20 15 4 1 150.85 62
Hawthorn 20 14 6 0 154.20 56
Sydney Swans 20 14 6 0 118.16 56
Richmond 20 13 7 0 120.22 52
Western Bulldogs 20 13 7 0 116.09 52
North Melbourne 20 13 7 0 110.91 52
Adelaide Crows 19 12 7 0 116.41 50
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