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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 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78 vs RIC 105 19:20MCG
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 13:40MCG
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 16:35ANZ
BRI 74 vs COL 86 19:20G
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 19:20ES
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 13:10ES
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 18:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131 vs CAR 62 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66 vs WBU 85 13:45MCG
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 14:10SO
COL 63 vs ADE 90 16:35ES
GCF 76 vs STK 104 19:20MS
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60 vs FRE 104 13:10SS
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 15:20MCG
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 19:50MCG
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 13:45MCG
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 14:10Adelaide Oval
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 16:35SCG
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 19:20ES
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 19:20G
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs WBU 13:10AS
GEE vs GCF 15:20SS
WCE vs FRE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC vs MEL 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 11:10NZ
ESS vs COL 14:40MCG
GWS vs GCF 17:40SO
PTA vs HAW 19:40Adelaide Oval
FRE vs SYD 20:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:10G
GEE vs NTH 15:20SS
WBU vs ADE 16:40ES
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Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GEE 13:45MCG
SYD vs WBU 14:10SCG
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
NTH vs HAW 19:20ES
WCE vs GWS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs FRE 13:10MCG
STK vs ESS 15:20ES
ADE vs PTA 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
WBU vs STK 14:10ES
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs BRI 15:20ES
PTA vs WCE 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs STK 13:45Adelaide Oval
HAW vs MEL 14:10MCG
CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
WCE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
RIC vs COL 15:20MCG
BRI vs PTA 16:40G
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs WCE 13:45ES
GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs COL 16:35MS
HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STK 13:10G
COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
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Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
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
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
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AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 3 3 0 0 171.27 12
Sydney Swans 3 3 0 0 141.75 12
Fremantle 2 2 0 0 139.84 8
Richmond 3 2 1 0 139.37 8
Collingwood 3 2 1 0 125.65 8
Western Bulldogs 2 2 0 0 118.95 8
GWS Giants 3 2 1 0 113.47 8
Essendon 3 2 1 0 104.74 8
View all
 
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