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VFL Cats too good for Demons

BENDIGO, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Rhys Stanley of the Cats in action during the AFL 2017 JLT Community Series match between the Geelong Cats and the Essendon Bombers at the Queen Elizabeth Oval on March 12, 2017 in Bendigo, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Rhys Stanley was among the VFL Cats' best players

Geelong’s VFL side is back in the top eight after a convincing win over Casey on Saturday, defeating the Demons 14.8 (92) to 8.8 (56).

From the outset, it was clear that the Cats would have to be on top of their game to come out victorious as they were restricted to one goal in the first term by a determined Casey defensive unit.

Scoring was less scarce in the second term, with the Cats playing a more attacking brand of footy, however missed chances on goal saw them lead by only four points at the main break.

After half time, Geelong were more accurate kicking 6.1 in an impressive quarter of football but the Demons never fell too far behind, trailing by 20 points at the final change.

While the visitors had stayed in the match all day, the Cats put the game beyond doubt in the final stanza, kicking four goals to run out 36-point victors.

Cats coach Shane O’Bree was rapt with the way his side turned their form around following last week’s heavy loss to Port Melbourne.

“I think everyone sort of switched off last week and wanted everyone else to do the work but today our leaders set the example and everyone bought in.

“I thought we had control of the game, the goals (Casey) got were probably a couple of sloppy turnovers that opened us up out the back,” O’Bree said.

The Cats’ VFL listed players stole the show with Tom Atkins (20 disposals, two goals), Dan Capiron (28 disposals, one goal), James Tsitas (29 disposals, seven marks) and Ben Reid (16 disposals, one goal) all playing huge roles in the win.

“They have been fantastic those (VFL listed) boys, they have all had fantastic preseasons and they know their role,” O’Bree said.

Another player who had the ball on a string was Tom Ruggles, who returned to the VFL side to play his first match since suffering a concussion against Hawthorn.

The former VFL Best & Fairest looked a class above, playing a starring role across half back, collecting 27 possessions.

“Really pleased with Tom, obviously it’s disappointing to come back (from AFL to VFL) but the pleasing thing is that when the boys do come back, they do it with a great attitude,” O’Bree said.

Building a reputation as the Cats’ X-Factor, Rookie Jack Henry was lively all day, finishing with 12 touches, six marks and a goal in a performance that impressed O’Bree.

“Second game, building on what he did last week, he is very lively Jack and the more games he plays the more confident he will get,” O’Bree said.

Another impressive draftee was Ryan Abbott, who laced up his boots for the first time in 2017, forming a strong ruck partnership with Rhys Stanley.

Abbott totalled 32 hitouts and provided the Cats with a strong key target around the ground.

“Having Ryan Abbott in the team, the way he played in the ruck in his first game was really pleasing,” O’Bree said.

Also providing the Cats’ midfielders with first use all day was Stanley, who racked up 27 hitouts whilst pushing his case for senior selection with three goals from 21 touches.

“Rhys having the flexibility to play forward and impact like he did today helps his chances of getting into the AFL team,” O’Bree said.

The win sees the Cats move into the top eight, and with a number of players still to return, things are looking positive for O’Bree’s side.

The VFL Cats will look to continue their winning form next week when they return to Simonds Stadium to take on Box Hill on Saturday. 

VFL Round 3 – Bendigo Bank Cats 14.8 (92) def. Casey Demons 8.8 (56)

Goals: Stanley 3, Buzza 2, Jones 2, Atkins 2, House, Cunico, Henry, Capiron, Reid

Best: Stanley, Reid, Tsitas, Atkins, Ruggles, Gardner

Reports: Kennedy (Casey) for striking McLachlan (Geelong)

Injuries: Nil

@ Simonds Stadium

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