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VFL: Cats no match for Zebras

Shane Kersten booted five goals for the Cats
Shane Kersten booted five goals for the Cats

Geelong’s VFL side have failed to claim victory in their final away game of the season on Sunday, succumbing to a talented Sandringham outfit, 14.17 (101) to 11.7 (73).

It was a seesawing affair through the initial stages of the match with both sides making the most of early chances in front of goal.

Despite a competitive first half from the Cats, eight goals to the Zebras saw the home side take a 20-point advantage into the main break.

The Cats were unable to regain momentum after half time as the Zebras continued to create scoring chances despite their inaccuracy somewhat softening the blow.

The Cats were more competitive in the final term kicking four goals, but ultimately Sandringham were able to run out 28-point victors.

The Zebras outplayed the Cats in many facets of the match, but their 60 clearances to the Bankers’ 27 was ultimately the biggest difference between the teams.

“Around the contest and at clearances, we need a better effort than that to be able to win,” Coach Paul Hood said after the match.

“Disappointed in the way we played, I thought we had opportunities to use the ball better than we did on a lot of occasions today.”

Hood highlighted his side’s poor disposal efficiency as a key factor in the end result, with the Cats winning the inside 50 count and having ample opportunities up forward.

“The biggest issue for us at the moment is that we are just not executing when we get out.

“We are getting enough chances in the game to score, we had more inside 50s than the opposition today and we continually kick the ball to the opposition,” he said.

The only injury concern to come out of the day was Cameron Delaney, who suffered a knee injury in the second term.

The luckless defender was playing only his second game back from a long-term foot problem, but fortunately it is unlikely the knee injury will keep him sidelined for anything more than a few weeks. 

Up forward, Shane Kersten was admirable with five goals whilst Padraig Lucey finished with two.

Young backman Tom Cole impressed in his third VFL game, playing a sweeper type role for a lot of the day and collecting 14 possessions and seven marks across half-back.

“He showed that he really knows how to read the ball well, it fell in his hands a few times and that’s no accident.

“He’s obviously reading the footy well and his ball use on the way out was quite good,” Hood said of the teenager. 

Another gallant performance was from that of Mitch Herbison, who suited up for the Cats after playing for South Barwon a mere 24 hours earlier.

Herbison was heavily rotated, finishing with eight disposals and three marks and Hood was impressed with his ability to contribute under the difficult conditions.

“He was brave to back up after playing yesterday and certainly helped the side,” Hood said.

“He’s such a brave player, that will do his best to get through and he is so mentally strong so it was great to see him come up and help the boys out today.” 

The Bankers will look to get back on the winners list as they take on the Northern Blues on Saturday at Simonds Stadium, in what will be their final game of the season.


VFL Round 19 – Bendigo Bank Cats 11.7 (73) def by. Sandringham Zebras 14.17 (101)

Goals: Kersten 5, Lucey 2, Luxford, Robinson, McFarlane, Haintz

Best: Ruggles, Atkins, Gore, Kersten, Cole, Haintz

Injuries: Delaney (knee – meniscus)

Reports: Nil @ Trevor Barker Beach Oval

Key Cats stats:

Cowan - 21 disposals, 8 marks

Gore - 17 disposals, 5 marks, 3 clearances

Luxford - 15 disposals, 4 clearances

Jansen - 13 disposals

Cunico - 12 disposals, 6 marks, 3 clearances 

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