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Talking Points: Cats def Tigers

Dinny Navaratnam - AFL Media  August 12, 2017 4:28 PM

AFL 2017 Round 21 - Geelong v Richmond

Harry Taylor won his battle with Alex Rance

1. Make that unlucky 13
Richmond came down to Simonds Stadium on the back of six wins in seven games and was expected to snap its 12-match losing streak against Geelong to post yet another win that would stamp itself as a genuine premiership contender. Instead, the opposite happened. The Tigers closed the margin to six points by three-quarter time but ultimately, a poor second term was costly. Damien Hardwick's outfit has shown resilience this season and that characteristic will again need to be drawn upon in huge clashes with Fremantle (Domain Stadium) and St Kilda (MCG) as it tries to nail down an all-important spot in the top four.

2. Taylor gives Rance one of his rare bad days
Chris Scott wore plenty of criticism early in the season for using Harry Taylor up forward but the long-time defender is starting to thrive in attack. Replacing the suspended Tom Hawkins, Taylor had Alex Rance as an opponent, a man known as the competition's premier defender, and was comprehensively the better player. Taylor finished with four goals and was excellent in a couple of one-on-one contests to mark against the Tiger, with one effort in the second quarter when he tapped it to himself before taking control the highlight. It's another weapon Geelong can use as it bids for a fourth flag since 2007.

3. Geelong's season not dead yet, despite Selwood being sidelined
An ankle injury to the skipper Joel Selwood was seen as a possible death blow to the Cats' season. Instead, they showed enough to suggest they can't be ruled out of premiership contention yet, if Selwood is somehow able to return to his best form for the finals series. Against a fellow top-four side, the Cats did the job without Selwood, Mitch Duncan and Hawkins (both suspended). They were impressive for much of the game and perhaps the best part was they were able to withstand Richmond's push in the third quarter to hold on and regain control.

4. Caddy out will hurt in the run home
Josh Caddy was coming off one of the best games of his career, having booted four goals against Hawthorn. The former Cat kicked the first of the match but soon afterwards injured his left hamstring. Him being sidelined will have ripple effects both in the midfield and up forward. Caddy's big body is useful at the coalface but perhaps just as importantly, he offers Damien Hardwick a forward target. In Caddy's absence, Dustin Martin spent much more time in attack in the second half. It was a tactic that worked because Richmond won plenty of footy in the third and fourth quarters but not having the option of Caddy could hurt.

5. Richmond's ladder position vulnerable
Sydney is pushing hard for a top-four spot after it thumped Fremantle, with its percentage far ahead of Geelong and Richmond, which sat in third and fourth respectively after this contest. The Cats should feel reasonably confident about nabbing the double chance, although games against Collingwood (MCG) and Greater Western Sydney (Simonds Stadium) will pose challenges. Meanwhile, the Tigers travel to face Fremantle before returning to the MCG to come up against St Kilda. They are still well in the hunt to finish in the top half of the ladder but there could be some nervous moments yet for Tigers supporters.