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Match Report: Cats edge Tigers

Peter Ryan - AFL Media  August 12, 2017 4:21 PM

Highlights: Cats v Tigers The Cats and Tigers clash in round 21
AFL 2017 Round 21 - Geelong v Richmond

Patrick Dangerfield finished with 30 disposals

GEELONG has extended its winning streak over Richmond to 13 and inched closer to sealing a top-four finish with a thrilling 14-point win at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.

Harry Taylor set up the victory with three goals in the first half, outpointing the League's best full-back Alex Rance to enable Geelong to kick clear to a four-goal lead at half-time.

With Tom Hawkins missing due to suspension, Taylor played his role brilliantly in keeping Rance occupied and robbing Richmond of much of its defensive drive.

It was reward for Geelong's persistence in playing the key defender forward for most of the season.

WATCH: Harry dominates down at the Cattery

He finished with four goals and was best on ground as the Cats won 11.14 (80) to 9.12 (66) to leapfrog the Tigers into third place on the ladder.

The Tigers set up a grandstand finish, launching a brave second-half comeback to draw within a goal early in the last term, having kept the Cats goalless for the third quarter.

Five talking points: Geelong v Richmond

The Cats had dominated the first half of the third quarter but a brain fade from big ruckman Rhys Stanley caused a turnover that gifted Richmond a goal and led to the Tigers kicking three unanswered goals and regain momentum.  

With pressure building, a piece of magic midway through the last quarter was required from Steve Motlop to steady the Cats.

Motlop, returning from injury, kicked a banana goal from nearly straight in front using the outside of his foot.

When Daniel Menzel soccered through a goal minutes later the Cats had snuffed out the Tigers fightback.

Cats coach Chris Scott described the win as full of merit given they had lost skipper Joel Selwood due to injury and Hawkins and midfielder Mitch Duncan to suspension.

He said exposing young players during the season had paid dividends with the Cats having selected nine players to debut in 2017.

"It was going to be one which required consistency and unity across our whole 22 [to win]," Scott said. 

"I think we got that."

Disappointed Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said the Tigers' inferior work rate proved costly with the Tigers kicking only three goals at the Barwon River end of Simonds Stadium.

"We just couldn’t get any scoring presence. I thought they just outhunted us around the contest. Essentially, we lost contested ball by 20 and what is normally a strength of ours, we were beaten up around post-clearance contested ball, which is disappointing," Hardwick said.

"I thought their work rate, contest to contest, was better than ours and they got the result they probably deserved."

Patrick Dangerfield was outstanding in the middle but he had good support from ruckman Zac Smith who dominated the ball in the air.

Richmond used Dustin Martin forward for much of the game and the Brownlow Medal favourite didn't have his usual influence.

After lamenting Geelong's defensive efforts against Sydney, when it conceded seven goals in the first quarter, the Cats restricted Richmond to just nine goals.

Led by Lachie Henderson and Zach Tuohy, the defence was stingy with the old firm Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan proving hard to pass.

The Tigers had lost Josh Caddy to a hamstring injury before quarter-time after the ex-Cat kicked the first goal of the game against his old club.

The win puts the Cats up into third spot and leaves them requiring just one win from their last two matches against Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney to seal a top-four spot, while the Tigers are now just one win clear of fifth-placed Sydney. 

MEDICAL ROOM
Geelong: Rhys Stanley hurt his calf early in the last quarter and was ruled out for the remainder of the game with Scott confirming the injury post-game. Tom Lonergan copped a knock to the leg during the third quarter and received treatment on the bench before returning to the ground. Jake Kolodjashnij hurt his leg in a marking contest and left the ground, with what appeared to be a corked leg. He played out the game.

Richmond: Josh Caddy hurt his hamstring in the first quarter and was in the tracksuit by the first break. Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said he hoped the midfielder would only miss two weeks.  

NEXT UP
Geelong must overcome a bad recent record against Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday to secure a top-four spot, while Richmond heads west to take on an ordinary Fremantle.

GEELONG         3.2      8.5      8.9     11.14 (80)
RICHMOND     3.4      4.5      7.9      9.12 (66)

GOALS
Geelong: Taylor 4, Menzel 2, Motlop, Stanley, C.Guthrie, Mackie, Simpson
Richmond: Martin 2, Riewoldt, Houli, Butler, Caddy, Cotchin, Rioli, Edwards 

BEST
Geelong: Taylor, Dangerfield, Menegola, Kolodjashnij, Motlop, Tuohy, Smith, C.Guthrie
Richmond: Lambert, Martin, Cotchin, Prestia, Grimes

INJURIES 
Geelong: Stanley (right calf)
Richmond: Caddy (left hamstring)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Stevic, Meredith, Mitchell

Official crowd: 32,266 at Simonds Stadium