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VFL: Cats claw Lions

The VFL Cats celebrate the win over Coburg
The VFL Cats celebrate the win over Coburg

Geelong’s VFL side has overcome a persistent Coburg outfit at Piranha Park on Saturday, defeating the Lions 7.12 (54) to 12.12 (84).

The first quarter was played on Geelong’s terms but inaccuracy in front of goal and slippery conditions led to a mere two-point lead at the first break. 

The Cats were able to assert their dominance in the second term, piling on four goals to the Lions’ zero. The quarter was a scrappy affair as stoppage numbers were through the roof.

After a solid first half, Jarrad Jansen sat out the rest of the contest due to being an emergency for Sunday’s AFL match.

The Lions ensured the Cats would not run away with the game, kicking three goals in the third. But two goals to Sam Blease saw the Cats take a 32-point lead into the final break.

Early misses by Coburg in the final term allowed the Cats to control the rest of the match, kicking two final quarter goals to run out 30-point victors.

After some tough losses and close wins, Coach Paul Hood was happy to finally get a convincing win.

“We controlled most of the game, our defensive formation was really solid, our attack on the contest was really good, we moved the ball fairly well and we were in charge of the game for large parts,” he said.

With the win, the Cats are able to get some separation between themselves and the lower sides in the VFL whilst also keeping their finals hopes alive.

“The finals are a long way away, it will obviously help our ladder position winning, but we just want to be competitive and put ourselves in a position in the back half of the year to get as far as we can,” Hood said.

The Cats prospered from the return of Billie Smedts and Dawson Simpson after extended stints on the sidelines.

Simpson gave the Cats midfielders first use out of the ruck whilst Smedts showed poise and was dangerous with ball in hand.

Hood was impressed with the performance of the two but sees their impact as leaders to be just as important to the young side.

“They really help with their leadership. They want to get involved and really drive the team,” Hood said.

“Dawson is terrific like that all the time and Billie continues to grow in that role and I think they helped throughout the day to really get the other guys up.”

Jackson Sheringham was once again one of the Bankers’ best, compiling a four-quarter performance and having a profound impact on the contest all day.

Sheringham’s experience has been vital to the Cats in 2015 and Hood is impressed with his transition from a full-time footballer into one of the Cats’ top VFL listed players.

“He keeps getting better each week Jacko. He’s adjusting to life as a full-time worker now and playing footy on weekends and he’s starting to deal with that better every week.”

Pace was a real asset for the Cats in their win, with the likes of Blease, Daniel Gibbs and Dane McFarlane burning their defenders all day.

“(Pace) is an absolute bonus. Our top-up players are either very good contested players or they’re really fast outside players, so they are really helping the team,” Hood said.

The return of Sandy Robinson was also a key factor in the Cats win as his work on the last line of defence was vital to the visitors throughout the match.

“It was a great comeback from (Sandy), his first game back at the Cats for a while. I was really pleased and look forward to him building on it.”

The win was sentimental for VFL stalwart Tom Maas, playing his 50th match for the Cats.

“It’s fantastic for Tommy, he’s been a real mainstay of the team this year and having a big influence, so it was great to see him win,” Hood said.

The Cats will have the bye next week before facing another important clash with Casey in round 12.


Senior Cats:

Sam Blease - 23 disposals, 2 goals, 6 tackles, 8 clearances

Billie Smedts - 20 disposals, 3 tackles, 4 clearances

Dawson Simpson - 45 hitouts, 9 disposals, 4 tackles, 3 clearances

Jarrad Jansen (50% game time) - 6 disposals, 3 tackles, 3 clearances


Rookie Cats:

Tom Read - 7 disposals, 2 goals. 6 tackles, 9 hitouts

Zac Bates - 8 disposals, 3 tackles


VFL Round 10 – Bendigo Bank Cats 12.12 (84) def. Coburg Lions 7.12 (54)

Goals: Blease 2, Read 2, Gibbs 2, Hollmer, Close, Maas, Rees, Burchell, Paliouras

Best: Tudor, Robinson, Atkins, Smedts, Gibbs, Sheringham

Reports: Nil

Injuries: Nil @ Piranha Park, Coburg

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