Geelong has finished their 2023 VFL season on a high, defeating the GWS Giants by 14 points in a strong performance at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday.
The big story for Geelong on Saturday was the return of Cats premiership midfielder, Cam Guthrie who returned for his first game since round six after a long term foot injury.
The star onballer impressed in just over three quarters of action, collecting 19 disposals and seven clearances while playing limited minutes on return.
Geelong also welcomed back Sam Simpson for his first game since round 13, while Toby Conway slotted back into the line-up after missing two games with an ankle injury.
Conway was one of the Cats best against, amassing 21 disposals and 26 hit-outs while also picking up five clearances of his own in a dominant display by the young ruckman.
The Cats started spritely in the opening quarter, with debutant Euriah Hollard booting his first goal in the blue and white before Mitch Hardie slammed one home from outside 50 inside the opening ten minutes.
Ollie Dempsey chimed in with a strong contested mark and an equally impressive set shot late in the quarter, to get the Cats back within a point at the first break.
Cooper Whyte dominated the opening term across half back picking up 11 disposals, while Mitch Knevitt started strong with seven possessions of his own.
The Cats piled on five goals in a strong second term, as they stormed to an 18-point half time lead.
Geelong struck twice through Jye Chalcraft and Angus Byrne to start the second term, before a brilliant Sam Simpson handball set up Osca Riccardi for his first major of the day.
Kye Annand nailed a long range set shot midway through the term to extend the Cats lead, with Ollie Dempsey slotting his second late in the term to give Geelong a handy buffer at the main break.
Mitch Hardie pieced together a stellar opening half, amassing 14 disposals and five clearances while Ted Clohesy spent valuable time in the midfield with four clearances from his 12 possessions.
Mitch Knevitt kicked off the second half with a bang, dancing around Giants defenders and dobbing a beautiful snap from the pocket to extend the Cats lead.
Geelong linked up beautifully through the middle to find Jye Chalcraft, who curled home another goal before Euriah Holland booted his second major just moments later.
It was the debutant Hollard once more who hit the scoreboard late in the quarter, slotting his third of the contest to keep the Cats 16 points clear heading into the final term.
Ted Clohesy hung on to a brilliant contested mark early in the final quarter, slotting the set shot for his first goal of the day.
Brayden Ham found space inside 50 to roll home another for Geelong, as the Cats closed out the 14-point victory.
Alongside Conway and Guthrie, Ollie Dempsey picked up 23 disposals and two goals to round off a strong season.
Mitch Hardie was critical in the midfield with 21 disposals and seven clearances, while Dan Capiron and Brayden Ham were the best of the VFL Listed players.
VFL Round 22
GEELONG 3.3 8.5 12.6 14.8 (92)
GWS 3.4 5.5 9.8 11.12 (78)
GOALS: Hollard 3, Dempsey, Chalcraft 2, Knevitt, Hardie, Clohesy, Byrne, Riccardi, Annand, Ham 1
DISPOSALS: Whyte 24, Dempsey 23, Lovell, Herbert, Ham, Capiron 22