The VFL Cats have opened their account for the 2024 season, recording a comfortable 53 point win over the Northern Bullants on Sunday.

Geelong was boosted by another strong performance from Mitch Hardie, who amassed 27 disposals and kicked two goals in a dominant display by the tough onballer.

Lawson Humphries continued his impressive start to the year with 25 possessions and a goal, while Mitch Knevitt and Emerson Jeka worked hard all day for 23 touches a piece.

The Cats welcomed back Gary Rohan for his first game of the season, along with Toby Conway and Oisin Mullin after impressive stints at AFL level in recent weeks.  

CATS v BULLANTS - Full match coverage and stats

The Cats drew first blood through Lawson Humphries, who found himself on the end of a slick handball chain and converted on the run for the opening goal of the game.

Shaun Mannagh spotted up Phoenix Foster moments later for the Cats second major, before Mitch Knevitt capitalised on a Bullants turnover to make it three straight for Geelong.

Mitch Hardie chimed in with his first goal late in the opening term, as the Cats raced out to a 14 point lead at the first break.

Rocking a fresh new haircut, Oisin Mullin racked up nine disposals in the opening term, while Mitch Knevitt was strong with five possessions and a goal.

James Willis submitted his entry for mark of the year, soaring above a Bullants defender to take a spectacular grab early in the second quarter.

Tanner Lewis opened the Cats account in the second term with a nice set shot, before Shaun Mannagh kicked two goals in quick succession to extend Geelong’s lead to 23 points at the main break.

Toby Conway was simply incredible in the first half, picking up a game high 15 disposals and four clearances, while winning 17 of 21 hitouts in the opening two quarters.

The game tightened up in the third quarter, with both teams upping the pressure before Kaelan Bradtke broke the contest open with two late goals just before three quarter time.   

Entering the final term with a 29 point buffer, Marcus Herbert and Shaun Mannagh slammed the door shut on the Bullants with a pair of goals in the opening ten minutes of the quarter.

Mitch Hardie slotted his second late, as the Cats held the Bullants scoreless in the last quarter to run away with the 53 point win.

Oisin Mullin was solid on his return to the VFL with 21 disposals and seven marks, while Cats skipper Dan Capiron took 11 marks in a dominant display across half back.

The VFL Cats will now turn their attention to round four, as they travel to Brisbane on Saturday afternoon to face the Lions. 

VFL Round 3

GEELONG     4.3     7.8     9.11    12.17    (89)
BULLANTS    2.1     4.3     5.6      5.6      (36)

GOALS: Mannagh, Bradtke 2, Humphries, Knevitt, Foster, Hardie, Lewis 1

DISPOSALS: Hardie 27, Humphries 25, Knevitt, Jeka 23, Mullin 21

@ Genis Steel Oval, Preston