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Walker fires in VFL loss

Josh Walker booted four goals for the Cats
Josh Walker booted four goals for the Cats

Geelong’s VFL side has lost their second straight game going down to Essendon in their fourth and final practice match.

The Bombers defeated the Bendigo Bank Cats in sunny conditions, 19.5 (119) to 13.7 (85) at the True Value Solar Centre on Saturday.

The match started well for Geelong in a tightly contested first quarter which saw the Cats pile on six majors to the Bombers’ five with Shane Kersten kicking three.

The Cats momentum didn’t continue after the break as the second and third terms were controlled by Essendon, with the home team getting out to a 29-point lead at the final change.

Despite the Cats kicking four goals in the final term, Essendon ran out the game 34-point victors ending the Cats’ preseason campaign at two wins and two losses.

Kersten finished with four majors whilst Josh Walker continued his strong form in front of goal, also bagging four.

Coach Paul Hood highlighted the fact that the young Geelong side still has a lot to learn but today’s loss was a good experience for the players to endure.

“(We) ran out of legs. Essendon were running better and more efficient than us in the second half of the game. But most of that comes from decision making that’s delayed from inexperienced players,” he said.

“The pressure from the defence is a little bit more intense and you have to get set up a bit earlier and make your decisions faster. It’s a good thing for guys to learn from those opportunities in the preseason.”

There were numerous positives to come out of the game despite the final margin, including the performance of Hamish McIntosh who was once again one of Geelong’s best.

“Hamish competed really well for us today and gave us an advantage in the hit-outs. He followed up well around the ground and I think he had about eight clearances, so fantastic work from the big fella.

“Really pleased with Hamish’s efforts and you can see that he’s working really hard to get back into AFL footy,” Hood said.

Another positive was the performance of Sam Blease who led the possession and clearance count for the Cats in his own bid to earn an AFL spot.

“His quick feet and getting onto the ball fast has really helped the team. He’s still learning other areas of his game but he’s trying really hard to become a Geelong player,” Hood said.

Overall the Cats’ preseason campaign had many positives but Hood knows it’s a long road ahead for the young side.

“We know we’ve got some young guys in the squad who’ve got a bit of learning to do and we expect that we will be a better team in the second half of the year as that learning takes effect,” Hood said.

“I understand that we will need to work really hard to play our best footy to compete with the good sides in the VFL.” 

The Cats finish their preseason with today’s result and will look ahead to their round one match with Werribee at 7.30pm on Friday April 17th at Avalon Airport Oval.

“I think physically we’re well prepared, we’ve been able to get a lot of guys, a lot of our VFL listed players, some game time in the preseason, that’s a real bonus. I imagine the team we put out on Friday night will be a pretty strong side,” Hood said.


VFL PRACTICE MATCH - Bendigo Bank Cats 13.7.85 def by Essendon 19.5.119

Goals: Walker 4, Kersten 4, Read, Farrelly, Gibbs, Paliouras, Thurlow

Best: Walker, Kolodjashnij, McIntosh, Williams, Blease, Thurlow, Ruggles

Reports: Nil

Injuries: Nil

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