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VFL: Gutsy Cats overcome Tigers

Hamish McIntosh was dominant for the VFL Cats
Hamish McIntosh was dominant for the VFL Cats

Geelong’s VFL side has experienced a thrilling victory in round three, overcoming numerous casualties and a strong Richmond outfit to win by eight points, 16.13 (109) to Richmond’s 15.11 (101)

The first quarter was tightly contested as both teams came out with a high, attacking intensity.  It was goal-for-goal for most of the term as both sides combined for 11 majors with Cats taking a seven-point lead into the quarter time.

Both teams locked down in the second term and goals were scarce early. The two sides managed three each and Cats took a slender lead into the main break. A blow for the Cats midway through the term as Ryan Williams was stretchered off with an ankle injury.

The game looked more like a battlefield than a football match in the third term as the casualties piled up for the Cats. Matthew Farrelly went down with an ankle injury whilst Billie Smedts suffered a suspected broken collarbone. The Tigers capitalised on the Cats’ injury woes with four goals for the term.

Despite being down to only two rotations, the Cats overcame the gallant Tigers in the final minutes to win by eight points. Hamish McIntosh kicked the go-ahead goal with Daniel Gibbs nailing the sealer with a minute remaining.

Coach Paul Hood was ecstatic after the win and pleased with the effort of the team to come back and win in such difficult circumstances. He also saw it as a great learning experience for some of the younger guys.

“We knew it was going to be a great effort to win but we also know our players are pretty brave. They dug deep and we knew they were going to have a go and it was really good that it paid off for them, they deserve success.” He said.

“We don’t mind sometimes if we are undermanned and those guys get to rise to the challenge, its great for their development. The last couple of wins have been really good to see guys stand up in crucial moments.”

Cats draftee, Jordan Cunico, was instrumental with a game-high 26 disposals, seven marks and two important goals.

“(Jordan) did a really good job up and down the outside of the ground for us today, it was terrific. I think he had eight possessions in the last quarter and led disposals with 26, two really handy goals as well.

“It was a really good performance from Jordan, he stood up in the contest and won the ball well in space too.” Hood said.

Cunico was one of a few smaller players who had to step up on a day where the Cats lacked sufficient talls.

“Whilst we didn’t have the talls that we’d like, probably one or two more in the team, our small pressure forwards were really good.

“They put Richmond under a lot of pressure and we got some turnovers and scored off the back of them. It was a different looking side but it functioned pretty well in the end.” Hood said.

Hamish McIntosh was one of the few Cats talls and was dominant for the Cats in a best-a-field performance. McIntosh finished with 25 disposals, 27 hitouts, 13 marks and two vital goals.

“His leadership was terrific today, he had a big job on Shaun Hampson who’s another big unit and he battled hard without another real recognized ruckman.

“I think he had 25 disposals as well, took some big marks for us and kicked a couple of goals, so a really good all round performance from him.” Hood said.

Nakia Cockatoo also played well for the Cats in his first VFL game. He amassed 22 possessions, eight tackles and his run and carry was a real asset to the side. Hood was impressed with Cockatoo and sees the VFL as a good place for Cockatoo to develop.

“Nakia had a really good first game at VFL level, he found a bit of the footy, broke lines and did all the stuff that we are going to love to see from Nakia in the future, so it was a positive day.” Hood said.

“I think just the chance for Nakia to play as an inside mid for a longer time and just chase the footy and find his feet was good. It helped him find a bit of form.

Bendigo Bank Cats 16.15.109 def Richmond Tigers 15.11.101

Goals: McIntosh 2, Cunico 2, Close 2, Gibbs 2, Cockatoo, Blease, Gore, Cowan, Lucey, Herbison, Maas, Paliouras

Best: McIntosh, Tudor, Cunico, Rees, Farrelly, Gibbs,

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