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Cats fall to Dons in scratch match

Angus Kramer  March 18, 2017 6:30 PM

James Tsitas was one of the Cats' best in Friday night's practice match against Essendon

James Tsitas was one of the Cats' best in Friday night's practice match against Essendon

Geelong’s VFL side has lost their second consecutive practice match, falling to Essendon 8.11 (59) to 13.10 (88), at Simonds Stadium.

The first term was played at a frantic pace as both sides attacked the ball with intensity from the outset.

Two goals from Cale Hooker proved to be the difference at the first break with the Bombers leading by 12 points.

The pressure only intensified in the second and third quarters with neither side able to break the game open.

The Bombers continued to kick accurately as the Cats missed some easy chances, seeing the visitors take a nine-point advantage into the final change.

Despite taking momentum into the final term, the young Cats side ran out of legs as the experienced Bombers kicked away to run out 29-point victors. 

The Cats had only three AFL listed players compared to the Bombers’ 15, giving the young VFL talent at the Cats a chance to test themselves against quality opposition.

Whilst they were overrun in the final term, Cats coach Shane O’Bree was happy with the experience his players gained from the match.

“The players that were in there at times were our young list and least experienced so it’s a good opportunity for those guys to show us what they’ve got,” he said.

Steven Motlop was one of the listed players to suit up and put his hand up for round one selection with 21 disposals, three tackles and a team-high six inside 50s. 

“(Motlop) looked good when he got it and got through the game well so he’s in a good spot,” O’Bree said.

Zach and Cameron Guthrie also proved they were past their respective injury issues and along with their brother Josh, formed a deadly trio on Friday night.

Zach was named best afield with 15 disposals, four rebound 50s and a team high six hard ball gets, pushing his case for a rookie elevation in 2017. 

“(Zach) is calm, he sets up well and he knows where to be at the right time whether it’s defensively or in attack,” O’Bree said.

The two older Guthrie brothers, Cameron and Josh, combined for 41 touches and were both among the best players on the night, with their importance highlighted by O’Bree.

“Cam played midfield and was dominant in there and needed to play back as well, so second half played back and he held us together,” O’Bree said.

“Josh has had a really good preseason, he is looking bigger and looks like he is fitter to cover the ground better.

“You can’t fault his intent and the direction he is heading so he is putting himself in a good spot to get on our VFL list.” 

Dan Capiron and Campbell Floyd were also among the best players whilst Sam Dobson and Simon Close were potent up forward, combining for five goals. 

Whilst there will be AFL talent added into the forward setup throughout the VFL season, O’Bree believes that the likes of Close and Dobson will be important to his side.

“(Dobson) feels a lot more confident in our system when he is able to play ahead of the ball,” O’Bree said.

“His asset is his marking, the more contests he gets to, the more marks he will take.”

Floyd played a strong game through the midfield finishing with 17 disposals, 10 by foot, five marks and seven tackles.

The Colac youngster was wayward in front of goal with three behinds but O’Bree was impressed with the defensive side of his game.

“Some of (Floyd’s) pressure was elite and he got on the end of the ball a few times,” O’Bree said. 

The Cats also continued to test out different skippers in the practice match series, with Tom Atkins handed the captaincy against the Bombers. 

“(Atkins’s) leadership has really grown over the past year or two, just with his confidence and where he is at so it was a good opportunity for Tom tonight.”


VFL Practice Match 2 – Bendigo Bank Cats 8.11 (59) def. by Essendon Bombers 13.10 (88)

Goals: Dobson 3, Close 2, Webb 2, Tsitas

Best: Z. Guthrie, C. Guthrie, Motlop, Capiron, J. Guthrie, Floyd

Injuries: Nil

Reports: Nil @ Simonds Stadium, Geelong