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VFL Cats too good for Dogs

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 23: Darcy Lang of the Cats kicks the ball during the 2017 AFL round 05 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Geelong Cats at Etihad Stadium on April 23, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Darcy Lang was best on ground

Geelong’s VFL side has returned to form with a commanding victory on Saturday, defeating Footscray 14.15 (99) to 13.9 (87).

In similar fashion to their AFL counterparts, the Cats defeated the Dogs in a tough battle.

Kicking with the wind in the first quarter, the Cats took full advantage, kicking four goals to take a 29-point lead into the first break.

There would be more dominant play to come from the visitors in the second term but an inability to convert easy chances saw their lead trimmed to 22 points at half time.

Captain for the day, Darcy Lang, stepped up in the third term with three goals, making sure the Cats would take a handy lead into the final change.

With a strong breeze in their favour, the home side mounted a comeback but they left it too late, as Geelong’s two final term goals saw them run out 12-point victors

Cats coach Shane O’Bree was pleased with his side’s ability to withstand the Bulldogs attempted comeback and come out with the four points.

“The Bulldogs are a very well drilled team and they were throwing a lot of things at us in the last quarter to score,” O’Bree said.

“I thought our boys really held up trying to defend our score, we ran out of legs a bit and were kicking against the wind too, so I was really pleased for the guys.”

The win is the Cats’ third of the year and is arguably the most impressive considering the Bulldogs boasted a side with numerous AFL premiership players.

Despite the five-day turnaround between the game and next week’s AFL match against Port Adelaide, there were many players putting their hand up for possible selection.

Darcy Lang’s performance will be hard for the selectors to ignore as the midfielder kicked four goals from 25 touches, whilst also laying 10 tackles.

“(Lang) halved a lot of contests, won a lot and also kicked some vital goals on three quarter time,” O’Bree said.

“He was our skipper today and he led from the front.”

Tom Ruggles also put in a strong performance in his role across half back and O’Bree lauded him for his improved ball use.

“(Ruggles) used the ball a lot more effectively than he has the past two weeks, he is a smart footballer who knows how to get to the right spots,” O’Bree said.

The hard-nosed defender collected 33 possessions and took eight marks.

Two players who are yet to debut but continue to impress are Wylie Buzza and Jordan Cunico, who were both named in the best.

Buzza provided a target up forward taking six marks and kicking two goals whilst Cunico collected 24 possessions playing on the wing.

“(Cunico) was really consistent, he’s been building nicely and has got a lot of attributes,” O’Bree said.

“Buzz is going really well, he is one of the most diligent players on our list with his vision, craft, extras and knowledge of the game.

“He is heading in the right direction, Buzz, and hopefully he gets a game in the near future.”

Despite numerous household names not featuring in the side in Ben Moloney, Tom Atkins, Alex Hickey and Sam McLachlan, other VFL listed players were given the chance to play different roles.

James Gow was used in a tagging role on Tom Liberatore at different stages of the game and nullified the influence of the Bulldogs premiership player.

Gow totalled 10 tackles for the match, as did James Tsitas, who continued his stellar form at VFL level. 

VFL Round 6 – Bendigo Bank Cats 14.15 (99) def. Footscray 13.9 (87)

Goals: Lang 4, Buzza 2, Ratugolea, Black, Cunico, Horlin-Smith, Jones, Reid, Thompson, Gow

Best: Lang, Cunico, Buzza, Tsitas, Ruggles, Edwards

Reports: Nil

Injuries: House (collarbone)

@ VU Whitten Oval, Footscray

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