SAM Simpson made a successful return in Geelong’s 11-point VFL Round 17 loss to Carlton at Ikon Park on Saturday.

After trailing by 31-points early in the second term the Cats worked themselves back into the contest, taking the lead in the opening minutes of the final term before the Blues kicked a couple of late goals to snatch a 10.10 (70) to 9.5 (59) victory.

VFL Round 17 Statistics - Geelong v Carlton

Simpson looked comfortable in his first competitive game of footy this season finishing with 22 disposals and seven marks to be named in Geelong’s best.

“We didn’t quite get the result we wanted but we put ourselves in the position to get it done which was good,” Simpson said post-game.

“The energy was good for most of the day, and I thought we had really good patches and looked promising.

“It was a tough day and very swirly out there and things don’t always go your way, but we kept putting ourselves in that moment and we didn’t quite get there, but we will get better for it.”

The 24-year-old pulled up well and will now get in a block of conditioning with the VFL team having a bye next week.

“It was good to tick that box off. I really enjoyed it and I felt good out there so onwards and upwards I hope.”

11:37 Mins
Published on

VFL Match Highlights | Round 17

Watch the highlights from Geelong's Round 17 clash with Carlton at Ikon Park on Saturday.

Published on

It took 15 minutes before the first goal of the game was kicked with the game being played largely between the arcs in the opening stages as both sides took their time getting used to a strong swirling wind.

After Ned Cahill broke the deadlock, it was the Blues who quickly found themselves on top with AFL-listed pair Paddy Dow (13 disposals) and Lachie O'Brien (11 disposals) influential helping the Blues to an advantage in clearances (19-8) and inside 50s (15-8) and a 24-point quarter time lead.

It took a moment of class from Simpson in traffic who found Ben Lloyd in space for the Cats to register their first major of the contest in the second term. 

That sparked the Cats into action with Shannon Neale snapping at the top the square a minute later to cut the Blues lead to 19-points.

The 19-year-old added a second goal late in the quarter to get the Cats back within two goals at half time. 

The Cats started the third term the way they finished the second with Neale and Oliver Dempsey getting the visitors within a point of the lead.

Ben Crocker got the reply for the Blues, before a late contested mark and fourth goal to Neale saw the Cats draw within four points at the final break.

Jackson McLachlan was paid a free kick early in the final term and made the Blues play, putting the Cats back in front for the first time since the opening minutes.

Mitchell Chafer. Credit Arj Giese.

Grovedale's Mitchell Chafer added another for the Cats to extend the lead to eight points.

However, the Blues rallied kicking three goals within a four-minute window to reclaim the momentum and run out 11-point victors.

Nick Stevens was excellent across half back for the Cats finishing with a team-high 36 disposals and nine marks.

“It was great to link up with him. He got a lot of the football and was really vocal and great at setting everyone up,” Simpson said.

Nick Stevens. Credit Arj Giese.

James Willis had some nice moments in his first game in the hoops after the Cats selected the hard-edged midfielder with pick 32 in last year’s draft.

“The ‘big bull’ is what we are calling him. He played inside mid today and I thought he did a great job.

“I thought he was really strong around the contest and didn’t look phased at this level at all.”

The Bendigo Bank Cats will have a bye next week before returning to GMHBA Stadium in Round 19 to host Coburg on Saturday 31 July.

VFL Round 17

Geelong Cats 9.5: 59 def by Carlton 10.10: 70

GOALS: Neale 4, Chafer, Dempsey, J. Evans, Lloyd, McLachlan

BEST: Stevens, Neale, McLachlan, Simpson, Lloyd, Williams

REPORTS: Nil

INJURIES: Quinton Narkle (calf)