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VFL: Cats fall to Box Hill

Lincoln McCarthy finished with seven touches, four marks and a goal in his return from injury - Geelong Cats
Lincoln McCarthy finished with seven touches, four marks and a goal in his return from injury

Geelong’s VFL side has ended their home and away season with a loss on Saturday, falling to Box Hill, 10.12 (72) to 14.9 (93).

The Cats were the better team in the first half, getting out to a 21-point lead at the main break, with both sides wasteful in front of goal.

The Hawks flicked the switch at half time, coming out of the break to kick six goals in the third term whilst the Cats could only manage three.

Despite early goals to Jordan Cunico and Quinton Narkle in the final term, the Hawks finished strongly, piling on six majors in the quarter to run out victors by over three goals.

The Hawks’ ball use was a cut above their opponents and Cats coach Shane O’Bree believes that was the difference between the sides.

“Our decision making was a bit off today, we had a lot of chances,” he said.

“We played the way we wanted to play, it was just execution.”

The Hawks kicked 10 goals from Geelong turnovers and racked up 40 more marks than the Cats.

“They hurt us more than we hurt them with the ball by foot,” O’Bree said.

“(They showed) composure, method and care, we will learn a lot from that game from how they used the ball.”

In positive news, Esava Ratugolea made his return from injury and got through the match unscathed.

In his first competitive match since suffering a broken leg in round 10 of the AFL season, Ratugolea competed hard up forward and in the ruck.

The key forward totalled 10 possessions and will play again for the VFL Cats next week to push his case for AFL selection.

Along with Ratugolea, Lincoln McCarthy also returned from injury and was a handy addition to the Cats’ forward line.

McCarthy was managed throughout the match but still impacted the game, finishing with seven touches, four marks and a goal.

“I thought the boys coming back from injury are better for the run in Lincoln and Esava, I was pleased for them to both get through a game of footy,” O’Bree said.

“(The aim for Ratugolea) was to play as a tall forward target, feel confident in his body and get through the game of football, pretty simple for him today.”

Timm House was rock solid down back with nine marks from 15 touches, stopping numerous forward entries from Box Hill to be named Geelong’s best.

Charlie Constable racked up 33 disposals and a goal in a four-quarter performance to be amongst the Cats’ best players.

“(Constable) around the contest, his transition and all that side of it saw him accumulate a lot of the ball,” O’Bree said.

Jordan Cunico (32 disposals), Jackson Thurlow (20 disposals, eight rebound 50s) and Lachie Forgarty (26 touches) all pushed their respective cases for a senior recall in the loss.

The VFL Cats will look to get back to their winning ways in next week’s Qualifying Final against Casey.

VFL Round 21 – Bendigo Bank Cats 10.12 (72) def. by Box Hill 14.9 (93)
Goals: Jones 2, McCarthy, Smith, Constable, Narkle, Gardner, Cunico, Miers, Crameri
Best: House, Fogarty, Constable, Cunico, Thurlow, Smith
Reports: Atkins (Rough Conduct)
Injuries: Nil @ Box Hill City Oval 

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