NewsCO.com.au – Cats overcome stirring challenge to notch thrilling two-point win

June 25, 2017

GEELONG 2.0 4.5 7.9 10.14 (74)
FREMANTLE
1.1 8.3 11.4 11.6 (72)
Goals: Geelong:
D Menzel 3 J Parsons 2 Z Tuohy 2 S Menagola S Motlop T Hawkins. Fremantle: D Tucker 3 H Ballantyne 2 M Walters 2 B Hill C McCarthy L Neale N Suban
Best: Geel:Dangerfield, Tuohy, Duncan, Taylor, Menzel, Lonergan, Mackie, Horlin-Smith. Fremantle: Walters, B Hill, Neale, M Johnson, Darcy, Weller, Suban​
Umpires: Shaun Ryan, Sam Hay, David Harris.
Venue: Simonds Stadium.

Joel Selwood was knocked out in the first minute. Geelong’s game went downhill from there.


Cats win after Walters misses on siren

Geelong have held on by two-points at home to Fremantle, after Michael Walters missed a shot from 20 metres on the siren.

An hour later Tom Stewart, one of the few Cats to be performing well to that point in the second term, went off the ground also seeing stars. Half an hour later and Darcy Lang hobbled from the ground with ankle injury and Selwood and Stewart were not the only ones with headaches.

The Cats had only one player on the bench with the side playing horrible football. Fremantle were outrunning them, outworking them, out-pressuring them and Geelong were fumbling and flagging.

Then, of course, they came back. The Cats won by two points and only after Michael Walters, Fremantle’s best player, had a kick for goal off a step in a throng of players with a second on the clock to win the game. He was twenty metres out. The ball went wide. Geelong won. Of course they did. That is how football is played this round: counter-intuitively.

The only intuitive thing about the game was that when the match had to be won, Patrick Dangerfield turned the tide. 

Subdued for much of the first three quarters by Nick Suban, Dangerfield ran down Lachie Weller near the boundary line as he tried to sneak out of the Cats’ forward line. The ball spilt and Parsons was able to kick the first of his two in two minutes, and lift the Cats’ momentum.

The final quarter defied belief. Three down on the bench and trailing all day, by as much as 34 points at one stage, the idea that Geelong would have the energy, let alone ability, to win was preposterous.

For all of the casualties, injuries were not the reason Geelong fell behind. The Cats were behind comfortably before Stewart went off and still uncomfortably adrift when Lang hobbled away.

Geelong’s game, sloppy and adventureless in the first three quarters, was bold and attacking in the last. Zach Tuohy was good all day but lifted again in the final term. He kicked two in the third quarter when the regular forwards could not find the goals. In the last he gave them run and pressure. Mitch Duncan, too, lifted in that final term when the moment demanded it.

Fremantle at first blocked Geelong up. Then they blocked the ball in. Then they found they could get the ball over the top of the Cats and find space in their forward line.

The result was seven goals to two in the second term.

The idea of Selwood being struck in the head is not new. The idea of Geelong having to do without him inside the pack, against a Ross Lyon-coached side that likes to play a gritty contested game, was new.

Geelong did not cope well. Fremantle led them for contested possessions and broke even in clearances. This was also despite Fremantle using a debutant in Darcy in the ruck against Rhys Stanley.

Darcy made Stanley appear the novice. He defeated him for taps, for impact in the air and on the ground following up with run.

Harry Taylor moved back to defence in the second term and played the third as a loose man behind the ball. It had the effect of slowing up the Dockers’ scoring when they continued to try to kick long balls in, but Geelong was not looking terribly threatening at the other end.

Fremantle’s aggressive press kept Geelong from finding easy avenues forward throughout the game. Geelong’s inability to deal with Fremantle pressure, both real and imagined, was similarly responsible for keeping them from doing anything easily.

The lead when Darcy Tucker goaled during the second quarter was 34 points and Geelong looked unlikely to re-enter the contest. Motlop, quiet early, stepped inside to snap a goal that offered a salve to embarrassment more than any real hope. Dan Menzel kicked his third of the game on the half time siren and the margin was back to 22 points.

Fremantle could not put the game to bed when they should have in the third term and could not out run or outlast Geelong in the last when they should have. That they couldn’t was down to them. It was also down to Dangerfield and the grit of the Cats.

VOTES

Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong) 8
Michael Walters (Fremantle) 8
Bradley Hill (Fremantle) 7
Zach Tuohy (Geelong) 7
Mitch Duncan (Geelong) 7
 

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