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VFL: Cats end season on a high

The victorious Cats depart Simonds Stadium
The victorious Cats depart Simonds Stadium

Geelong’s VFL side have recorded a resounding victory in their final game of the season, defeating the Blues, 19.13 (127) to 6.10 (46), at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.

The Cats started the match off well, dominating the first term with five goals. George Horlin-Smith was on fire early with eight disposals and two majors.

The momentum rolled into the second term as the goals continued to pile up. At the opposite end of the ground, the Cats backmen excelled keeping the Blues to a solitary goal for the term whilst setting up numerous attacks off half-back.

The heavens opened in the third term but the rain couldn’t halt the Bankers as they kicked six unanswered goals, controlling all facets of the game.

Despite a couple of final term goals to the Blues, the Cats were able to record a triumphant 81-point victory.

Coach Paul Hood was pleased with his team’s performance and ability to finish off with a strong win after what has been a tough year.

“They released the shackles a bit and took off, really took the game on and the more they did it, the better they got at it, which was fantastic,” he said. 

Hood was most pleased with the team play and the emphasis that was placed on sharing the ball. The spread of talent in the side was on full display as the Cats finished with 14 different goal kickers on the day. 

“The more you share the footy, the more boys get in positions to share it next time,” Hood said. 

“We messed a few up late when we got a bit tired but for the most part, to kick 19 goals was fantastic.

“A really good sign for the future, for the development of these guys and a good lesson for them all going forward.”

Horlin-Smith kicked four of those 19 goals, and also finished with 30 disposals, six marks, six clearances and four tackles in a best afield performance. 

“To come in and play as well as (he) did, to give everything to the team and to be a real professional player, was fantastic,” Hood said.

Young draftee Jordan Cunico also impressed with 30 disposals and five inside 50s. Hood was impressed with the South Australian’s performance after a tough year battling with injury. 

“Jordan really finished his season off strongly, which was good, he’s had a few ups and downs and a couple of injuries this year so it was great for him.

“To play the right way on the last day was good and should fill him with lots of confidence,” Hood said.

The Cats won the clearance count 47 to 21, partly due to the work of Dawson Simpson, who gave the Cats midfielders first use with 44 hitouts. 

“A few really nice hitouts to advantage for Dawson and I think it was our biggest clearance dominance for the season and the guys got some really good flow from that,” Hood said. 

“Whenever Dawson plays for us, he puts his heart on the line, which is great and did another good job.”

The VFL listed players such as Tom Ruggles, Brenton Rees and Nick Dixon also put in quality performances and Hood was been pleased with the output of the group during the year.

“They’re all taking steps forward these guys and that’s all we can ask and that’s what they continue to deliver. They’ve been a really good bunch of players to coach,” Hood said.

VFL Round 20 – Bendigo Bank Cats 19.12 (126) def. Northern Blues 6.9 (45)

Goals: Horlin-Smith 4, Kersten 3, Ruggles, Smedts, Cunico, Cowan, Dixon, Stokes, Rees, Sherman, Farrelly, Bates, Lucey, Burke

Best: Horlin-Smith, Ruggles, Cowan, Cunico, Stokes, Sheringham

Reports: Nil

Injuries: Nil @ Simonds Stadium.

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