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VFL: Cats fall to Pies in Bendigo

Padraig Lucey booted four goals for the Cats
Padraig Lucey booted four goals for the Cats

Geelong’s VFL side has suffered their first loss of the season, going down to Collingwood by nine points at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Saturday night.

The cold and windy conditions made scoring difficult for both sides before the Magpies overran the Cats in the second half to win, 14.8 (92) to Geelong’s 12.11 (83).

The first term was a tightly contested affair with both backlines playing well early. Padraig Lucey managed two goals as the Cats and Magpies went into the first break tied up at 27 apiece.

Both sides couldn’t manage to hit the scoreboard until the 12-minute mark of the second term when Lucey kicked his third for the night. The game then broke open for the Cats as they piled on four goals for the term to the Magpies’ one.

In what proved to be a costly incident, Cats defender Tom Ruggles left the field midway through the second term with concussion and did not return for the rest of the match.

The Magpies controlled the third term with increased defensive pressure and four quality goals. Mitch Herbison ensured the Cats lead was not diminished though, kicking a crucial goal to give the Cats a five-point buffer at the final break.

The Magpies took over the game in the final term. They kicked the first four goals of the quarter to put the game almost beyond doubt. Lucey kicked his fourth to give the Cats a glimmer of hope but it was ultimately too little too late with the Pies running out nine-point victors.

Cats coach Paul Hood saw some issues with his side’s ability to put together a four-quarter performance but was also quick to praise the Magpies on their gallant efforts.

“Running out of intensity, running out of legs, losing crucial contests in the last half. But you just have to put it down to Collingwood played better than us and hats off to them," he said.

“We probably could have been further ahead and maybe could have taken a few more chances. The Magpies just used the ball better than us and won more contests in the last 40 minutes of the game.”

The Magpies small forwards, including Ben Kennedy and Alex Fasolo were prolific in the second half, particularly after the loss of Ruggles.

“Tom’s a really brave defender and I think we missed him. It was an absence but we needed other players to step up. That happens in footy and we just have to learn to deal with it better," Hood said.

There were a few positives to come out of the game with Lucey’s four goals a highlight for Geelong fans. The big Irishman has impressed Hood with his ability to contribute to the team.

“He fought really hard, his marking was good. Its nice for Padraig to feel like he can really help the team and he showed that tonight. It was good to see he’s excited getting a few goals.

“He’s still got plenty of parts of his game to work on but its really good for him to understand that he can have an influence,” Hood said.

Another positive sign was Jarrad Jansen’s successful return from a hamstring injury. Jansen was one of the Cats’ best in the early parts of the game and brought a much needed tackling intensity to the side.

“Jarrad really helped us around the contest and took the ball forward well,” Hood said.

“He looked really powerful and we’ll look forward to see him playing better and better over the coming weeks.”

The Cats felt Hamish McIntosh’s absence heavily after he has been arguably the most consistent performer for the VFL side in 2015. But Dawson Simpson seemed to prosper in the number one ruck role, being the dominant big man on the ground.

“Dawson is just a soldier. He’s prepared to get his hands dirty and do the best he can,” Hood said.

“The young midfielders love playing with him and he did a really good job. It’s what we want from Dawson every week and that’s what he delivers for us.”

The defeat on Saturday takes the Cats’ season record to two wins and one loss. The Bankers will travel to Whitten Oval to take on Footscray next Saturday.

VFL Round 4 – Bendigo Bank Cats 12.11 (83) def. by Collingwood Magpies 14.8 (92)
Goals: Lucey 4, Walker 2, Gibbs 2, Blease, Horlin-Smith, Close, Herbison
Best: Paliouras, Simpson, Horlin-Smith, Lucey, Blease, Cole
Injuries: Ruggles (concussion)
Reports: Nil @ QEO, Bendigo

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