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VFL: Cats well beaten by Dogs

Jarrad Jansen in action for the Cats
Jarrad Jansen in action for the Cats

Geelong’s VFL side has suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of Footscray, going down 8.5 (53) to the Bulldogs’ 17.13 (115).

The match started slowly for the Cats with Footscray piling on five goals to the Cats’ one. The solitary goal from Simon Close came in the final minutes of the term as the Cats struggled against the wind.

For the Cats, the only real highlight from the term was the sight of NBA star Dante Exum watching from the stands. Exum is close a close friend of Geelong rookie listed player Michael Luxford. Exum and Luxford spent a lot of time together throughout their adolescent years competing in representative basketball.

The second term saw a more intense output from the Cats, but they were unable to stop the flow of goals from the Bulldogs, with the home side kicking four majors. Footscray’s Nathan Hrovat had four goals at half time as the Dogs went into the main break 28 points up.

The third term started promisingly with Tom Maas kicking a goal within seconds to spark some life into the Cats. But the Bulldogs managed to win the quarter kicking three goals to two to take an almost insurmountable lead into the final break.

Life was made harder in the final term for the Cats with Padraig Lucey, Dawson Simpson and Tom Ruggles all coming off the ground with niggles. The Bulldogs took advantage of the weary Cats and kicked five goals to one to run out 62-point victors.

The game was never going to be easy for the ‘Bankers’ as their depleted lineup boasted a mere 74 games of AFL experience (Horlin-Smith, Simpson, Sheringham) in comparison to Footscray’s 594.

Coach Paul Hood came into the game optimistic but knew it would take an almighty effort to overcome the Bulldogs.

“We knew that our guys were going to be competitive and they were for the most part,” he said.

“We certainly knew that if we had periods of the game that we lapsed, that we were going to be hurt on the scoreboard.”

Hood was pleased with the effort of the players to be competitive for periods of the match but the inability to play consistently was a key factor in the result.

“We were a little bit passive. The guys lifted a bit throughout the game, but we just needed to be prepared to bring absolute maximum effort from the beginning.

“Unfortunately today our intensity just wasn’t at the level it needed to be for the whole day,” Hood said.

A positive for the Cats was the return of Ben Raidme, who played his first VFL match since 2013 after recovering from an ACL injury.

It was a timely return for the Cats, with Raidme bringing much needed leadership and experience to the young team. Hood was delighted for the Cats stalwart.

“The real feel good story of the day was Ben’s comeback. He showed from the beginning that he was desperate to be back playing footy at this level and had some great success,” Hood said.

Raidme was Geelong’s best player in his comeback match with 25 disposals and a game-high eight tackles.

Another highlight was the performance of Jarrad Jansen, who finished with 18 possessions, 14 of which were contested, seven tackles and eight clearances. Jansen was one of only a few Cats to put together a four-quarter performance.

“Jarrad works as hard as he can every time he comes out to play. He’s worked on areas of his game that needed work and he continues to give himself every opportunity to become a good footballer,” Hood said.

Whilst there where some positives, the Cats have a lot to improve on with a tough run of games ahead. Hood saw contested football as the key area in need of enhancement.

“Around the outside of the contest we were pretty good but we just need to make sure that on the inside we make it harder for the opposition to play the way they want.

“We need to improve our contested ball and make sure that we stand up a little bit more against the oppositions tackles and make sure our tackles have a greater effect on them.”

The Cats are back at home next Saturday as they take on Port Melbourne. The match will be telecast live on Channel 7 from 12pm.

VFL R5 – Bendigo Bank Cats 8.5 (53) def. by Footscray Bulldogs 17.13 (115)

Goals: Close 2, Herbison 2, Tudor, Farrelly, Luxford, Cunico

Best: Raidme, Rees, Gibbs, Farrelly, Luxford, Kolodjashnij

Reports: Nil

Injuries: Nil @ Whitten Oval, Footscray

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