The VFL Cats have hung on to claim a crucial two-point win over Frankston on Friday night, moving them back into finals contention with eight games to go.
Ollie Dempsey starred for the Cats with 24-disposals and three goals, helping the Cats claim a vital four-points to move back inside the top-ten.
Geelong welcomed back a host of AFL-Listed players including mid-season draftee, Mitch Hardie who lined up for his first game in the blue and white hoops.
Hardie excelled in his debut with Geelong, picking up 21-disposals and eight tackles to go alongside six-clearances.
Premiership ruckman, Rhys Stanley returned for his first game in over two months, after recovering from a facial injury he sustained in Geelong’s round five clash with West Coast, collecting 12 touches to go with 30 hit outs and four clearances.
Geelong flew out of the blocks with a dominant opening quarter, keeping Frankston scoreless to lead by 21-points at the first break.
The Cats experienced midfield did not take long to get involved, with Stanley and Simpson linking up to find youngster Kye Annand for the opening goal of the contest, inside the first minute of the game.
Ollie Dempsey hit Hamish Lucas inside 50 with a scintillating pass leading to Geelong’s second major, before Dempsey added a goal of his own late in the quarter.
Cooper Whyte started well on the wing, while Hardie and Dempsey were prolific through the middle of the ground.
Mace Cousins was also important early down back, picking off three intercept possessions to thwart some dangerous Frankston attacks.
The Cats withstood an increase in pressure from Frankston in the second quarter, maintaining a 10-point lead heading into the half-time break.
Cats skipper Angus Byrne kicked truly for his first of the night, before Ollie Dempsey booted his second to keep the Cats in front at the main break.
Mitch Hardie slotted in brilliantly with 13-disposals and five clearances in a promising first half with the Cats.
Ollie Dempsey picked up 11-disposals to go with his two goals in the opening half, while Brandan Parfitt and Mitch Knevitt were both important through the middle collecting 10-disposals each.
The Cats again absorbed pressure early in the third quarter, before a beautiful link-up play through the middle saw Dempsey find Riccardi in space for the first goal of the second half.
Jye Chalcraft sliced his way through the defence for an important goal, keeping the Cats within a kick at the final change in the midst of a strong challenge by Frankston.
The Cats hit the front early in the final quarter when Kye Annand slotted his second of the contest, before Chalcraft added his second off the back of an excellent defensive effort by Tom Feely.
After Frankston hit the lead again, Jack Evans pinpointed a beautiful bullet pass to Dempsey just 20-metres out from goal, and Ollie kicked truly to regain the lead for the Cats at the 23-minute mark.
Geelong were able to wind down a nervous final few minutes, closing out an important win in the context of their season.
Dempsey and Hardie were both brilliant across all four quarters, while Sam Simpson and Mitch Knevitt both picked up over 20-disposals.
For the VFL-Listed players, Hamish Lucas lead the way with 20-disposals and a game-high ten-clearances for the Cats.
Geelong will look to carry this momentum into next Friday Night, when they take on Casey at GMHBA Stadium.
GEELONG 3.3 5.7 7.8 10.12 (72)
FRANKSTON 0.0 4.3 8.4 11.4 (70)
GOALS: Dempsey 3, Annand, Chalcraft 2, Lucas, Byrne, Riccardi 1
DISPOSALS: Dempsey 24, Simpson, Hardie 21, Parfitt, Lucas, Knevitt 20