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Cats cruise past Dees

Geelong's Gary Ablett evades Melbourne tacklers at Skilled Stadium on Saturday



By Matt Burgan 4:44 PM Sat 18 July, 2009
GEELONG has bounced back from a two-match losing streak and denied Melbourne a rare hat-trick of wins, producing a 46-point win at Skilled Stadium on Saturday. 

The Cats 17.15 (117) defeated the Demons 11.5 (71).

With Gary Ablett, Matthew Scarlett, Cameron Ling, Darren Milburn, Andrew Mackie and Travis Varcoe all back from injury, the Cats were a much more imposing outfit, even though it lost Jimmy Bartel (hip) and skipper Tom Harley (knee) was a late withdrawal.

But with Steve Johnson, Brad Ottens, Josh Hunt and Matthew Egan also sidelined, the Cats were still far from full-strength.

Although the Demons had their own personnel problems with the likes of Colin Sylvia, Col Garland, Austin Wonaeamirri and Paul Wheatley (a late withdrawal) missing, they did enter with some good form on the board. 

A brilliant start from Geelong saw the match effectively ended at quarter time, with the Cats piling on seven goals to none in the opening quarter.

Melbourne recovered and won the second and fourth quarters, but the home team was always in control and boasted winners across the board.

Matthew Scarlett shut down Russell Robertson to be one of Geelong's best, Cameron Ling kept Brock McLean to just seven touches and Gary Ablett further enhanced his Brownlow Medal prospects with 40 touches and two goals.

Joel Selwood and Paul Chapman were also among Geelong's best with 31 touches each.

For the Demons, Brad Green and Brent Moloney both had 27 disposals, while 200-gamer Cameron Bruce had 21 touches, continuing his underrated season. Youngsters Jack Grimes and Ricky Petterd also continued their fine recent form.

The first quarter was dominated by the home side.

Joel Selwood opened proceedings with a kick that kept going and going – eventually bouncing through for a goal from roughly 65 metres.

His effort was the start of seven unanswered goals from Geelong, with Mathew Stokes (two goals), Harry Taylor, Andrew Mackie, Paul Chapman and Simon Hogan all contributing.

Although Geelong was aided by a strong breeze towards the Doug Wade Stand End, it completely outplayed Melbourne with 11 scoring shots to two. The only two scores registered by the Demons were a rushed behind and a shot by Russell Robertson touched on the line.

With Geelong leading by 44 points at the first break, it appeared to be how far the Cats could push ahead.

But the Demons showed some fight in the second quarter, also using the aid of the wind to boot three in a row and reduce the deficit back to 29 points. 

Ricky Petterd opened Melbourne's account, with majors to Matthew Bate and Liam Jurrah following.

It took Geelong almost 20 minutes to land its first for term, when Gary Ablett kicked truly. And when Mackie bobbed up with his second, the margin was back out to 41 points at the main change.

Melbourne continued to fight on in the thiord quarter, which is lost narrowly despite kicking into the breeze.
The last quarter was academic, but Melbourne again showed some grit.

At one stage, the Demons reeled the margin back to 33 points after booting four in a row.
Two grabs from last round's NAB AFL Rising Star nominee Liam Jurrah were highlights – a one-hander plucked out of the air and a jump and leap. 

But when Geelong booted the last two goals, its 14th win of the season was well and truly locked in.

Geelong  7.4  9.9  14.13  17.15 (117)
Melbourne  0.2  3.2  7.3  11.5 (71)

Stokes 3, Ablett 2, Hogan 2, Mackie 2, T.Varcoe 2, Byrnes, Chapman, Hawkins, Selwood, Taylor, Tenace
Melbourne: Bate 3, Morton 3, Jurrah 2, Dunn, Moloney, Petterd

Selwood, Scarlett, Ablett, Chapman, Ling, Enright, Hawkins
Melbourne: Green, Grimes, Petterd, Bruce, Moloney

Harley (knee soreness) replaced in selected side by Gillies
Melbourne: Wheatley (quadriceps) replaced in selected side by Bennell


Umpires: Kennedy, Stewart, Kamolins
Official crowd: 21,160 at Skilled Stadium

The views in this article are those of the author and not those of the clubs or the AFL
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