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Guthrie goals with a high degree of difficulty

GEELONG has a slew of injury concerns ahead of its round one clash against Melbourne on March 25, and none bigger than superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield.

The Bombers were not spared either, with defender Martin Gleeson being carried from the field late in the fourth quarter with an ankle/Achilles injury and star midfielder David Zaharakis limping at the final siren after the Dons stole a four-point victory.

Dangerfield succumbed to a leg injury in the first quarter of the Cats' JLT Community Series clash against Essendon at Central Reserve in Colac, while Rhys Stanley (calf) also went down with injury on Sunday afternoon.

Geelong appeared to be coasting to a comfortable victory after leading by 27 points at three-quarter time, but the Bombers booted five of the last six goals to pinch a 15.11 (101) to 15.7 (97) victory.

Dangerfield and Stanley can be added to an ever-expanding injury list down at the Cattery, with doubts already surrounding Gary Ablett (hamstring), Nakia Cockatoo (calf) and Stewart Crameri (hip), and Lachie Henderson (knee) and Scott Selwood (ankle) all but ruled out.

Joel Selwood (35 disposals and 12 clearances) was superb for the Cats through the middle of the ground, while Mitch Duncan racked up a game-high 37 touches to be among the most influential players on the ground.

Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins booted five goals, while Daniel Menzel added four for the Cats.

Zach Merrett was the Bombers' best player with 30 disposals (16 contested) and nine tackles, while recruit Devon Smith racked up 22 touches, went inside 50 on six occasions and booted two goals.

Fellow recruit Jake Stringer booted two brilliant goals to go with 13 touches and displayed a number of positive signs through the forward line and in the midfield.

James Stewart added three majors and looked lively in attack, while Josh Green was another multiple goal kicker and added to the vast array of options the Bombers possess inside forward 50.


Geelong: The calibre of players going into round one under injury concerns must be a worry for coach Chris Scott. Injuries to Dangerfield and Stanley were disappointing for the Cats, with Gary Ablett (hamstring), Nakia Cockatoo (calf), Stewart Crameri (knee), Lachie Henderson (knee) and Scott Selwood (ankle) all having injury-interrupted pre-seasons. The club's medical staff will be working overtime in the next fortnight to try to get as many players up as they can for round one against Melbourne.

Essendon: The Bombers are prone to giving up plenty of points and they need to find a way of minimising that prospect in the home and away season. However, they can also score quickly too. Essendon has some firepower up forward with James Stewart (three goals), Jake Stringer (two), Josh Green (two) and Devon Smith (two) all impacting the scoreboard. Essendon needs to find a way of trapping the ball inside its forward 50 to make the most of its opportunities. The club's team defence still needs plenty of work.


Geelong: Tim Kelly was not quite as influential as against Gold Coast, but the mature-age midfielder is a likely round one debutant after collecting 18 disposals against the Bombers. Charlie Constable was again impressive through the midfield, racking up 10 touches and making the most of his opportunities in there with Dangerfield out of the game. Gryan Miers was quiet against the Bombers but is in contention for one of the small forward spots in the Cats' forward line.

Essendon: Former Bulldog Jake Stringer booted two fantastic goals to go with 13 disposals, spending time in the midfield and forward line. Running defender Adam Saad's pace was on show as usual, while Devon Smith was among the Bombers' best with 22 touches and two goals.


The Bombers will have 12 days to prepare for their round one clash against last year's Grand Finalists Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on March 23. Geelong has exactly a fortnight before facing Melbourne at the MCG on March 25.

GEELONG           4.2    7.5    14.6  15.7 (97)
ESSENDON        4.0    8.2    10.3  15.11 (101)        

Hawkins 5, Menzel 4, Blicavs, Kelly, O'Connor, Duncan, Thurlow, C.Guthrie
Essendon: Stewart 3, Stringer 2, Smith 2, Green 2, Zaharakis, Daniher, Parish, Merrett, McKenna, Long

 J Selwood, Duncan, C Guthrie, Hawkins, Blicavs, Thurlow
Essendon: Z.Merrett, McGrath, Smith, Parish, Myers, Heppell

: Stanley (calf), Dangerfield (leg)

Essendon: Gleeson (ankle/Achilles), Zaharakis (ankle)  

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Ryan, Harris, Pannell, Gianfanga 

Official crowd: 9115 at Central Reserve, Colac