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VFL: Cats suffer crushing loss

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 02:  Dean Gore of Geelong takes a mark during the round 16 VFL match between Frankston and Geelong at Frankston Oval on August 2, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Dean Gore was a standout for the VFL Cats on Sunday.

Geelong’s VFL side have suffered a major blow to their finals aspirations, going down to North Ballarat, 4.5 (29) to 11.10 (76), at Eureka Stadium on Sunday.

The first term was a low-scoring affair as windy conditions made forward entry challenging for both sides. Former Cat Orren Stephenson kicked the Roosters’ only goal for the quarter as the home side took a three-point lead into the first break.

Turnovers were aplenty in the second term as no side was able to break the game open. Brenton Rees’ late goal in the quarter gifted the Cats a slender lead in what had been an unfashionable half of football from both sides.

In the third term, the home side controlled possession and were able to kick three unanswered goals in a strong quarter, giving the Bankers a tough task to come back in the final term.

With finals hopes on the line, there were early signs of a comeback from the Cats, but it was short lived as the Roosters dominated the final quarter kicking six goals to one to run out 47-point victors.

Coach Paul Hood was bitterly disappointed with the loss, considering his side were ahead at half time and the overall importance of the match.

“We expected a better performance than that today. At half time, we were in front, we were right in the game and there’s no need for us to allow the opposition to dominate us like they did,” Hood said. 

“It was disappointing, we really lost our way as a team in that last 20 minutes." 

The Cats were comfortably beaten in numerous aspects of the game but the most lopsided statistic was the uncontested possession numbers.

The Roosters finished with 114 uncontested marks in contrast to Geelong’s 51 and accumulated over 100 more uncontested possessions than the Bankers.

“We weren’t able to stop North Ballarat marking the ball. It was a big problem in the first half and became a gigantic problem in the second half,” Hood said.

“The reasons for players sitting off their opponents and not being able to close them down are something that we have to look at really deeply as a coaching group and work with the players on.”

Despite the devastating loss, there were some positives signs from young draftees Dean Gore and Jordan Cunico.

Gore finished with 17 disposals, 14 by foot, three tackles and four clearances in a quality four-quarter effort.

Cunico put together arguably his best outing for the season with a game-high 23 disposals, eight marks and two tackles. The young South Australian has impressed Hood with his recent form and development.

“Some pleasing signs from (Jordan), he’s showing that he’s a really smart player.”

“The next step will be just to capitalise on his opportunities a bit more when he gets the ball but he is progressing nicely,” Hood said.

Nathan Vardy took another positive step in his recovery, playing parts of the match in the ruck for the first time since his return.

“It was good to see him get up around the ground in the ruck and tick that box. No doubt he will look to do some more of that next week and continue to improve in that area,” Hood said.

Vardy is growing in confidence with every game he plays but is still a fair way off getting back to his best football.

“The way he is playing doesn’t make it seem like (confidence) is an issue at all,” Hood said. 

“It’s just practice and time in the game. When you are a high marking forward you can’t just turn up and do that, it takes four or five games under your belt.”

The Bankers will look to turn their form around as they take on ladder leaders Box Hill next Saturday at Simonds Stadium.

 

VFL Round 17 – Bendigo Bank Cats 4.5 (29) def. by North Ballarat Roosters 11.10 (76).

Goals: Maas, Bews, Paliouras, Rees

Best: Jansen, Cunico, Gore

Injuries: Dixon (Concussion)

Reports: Nil @ Eureka Stadium

 

Leading stats

Cunico - 23 disposals, 8 marks, 2 tackles

Smedts - 22 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles

Cowan - 21 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles

Gore - 17 disposals 3 tackles, 4 clearances

Bews - 15 disposals, 3 tackles

Jansen - 13 disposals, 5 tackles, 4 clearances

Menzel - 13 disposals, 2 clearances 

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