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VFL: Cats bite back at Dogs

Geelong’s VFL side has claimed a thrilling victory over Footscray on Saturday, defeating the Bulldogs, 13.9 (87) to 10.8 (68).

The 19-point win, which was decided late in the final term, was the third close encounter in a matter of weeks for the 'Cardiac' Cats.

Playing a double header with Geelong’s VFLW side, the standard was set early in the day by the girls, who claimed a 98-point victory over the Bulldogs.

The VFL match started with a tight first term as both teams played an attacking brand of football but lacked composure with their forward entries.

Goals came more frequently in the second term but the match stayed close with the visitors holding onto a three-point advantage at the main break. 

Both sides had their share of the momentum in the third term and only five points separated them when the siren sounded for three quarter time.

The fourth quarter was a competitive slog for the first 20 minutes until consecutive goals from Sam Dobson broke the game open and ultimately led the Cats to victory.

Cats coach Shane O’Bree was pleased with his side’s ability to come back after being down at numerous times during the match.

“I thought in the first half we didn’t defend as a team well enough which probably gave them a few easy goals.

“The pleasing thing today was we were challenged in the first and second quarters and Footscray got out to 15-point leads a couple of times and I thought we responded really well to get back in the game,” O’Bree said.

For the visitors, it was Angus Monfries who caused numerous headaches, kicking four goals to keep the Bulldogs in the game all day. 

Aaron Black was given a new role on Sunday, playing as a key defender for the first time and excelling in his new surroundings.

Black racked up 23 disposals and six marks to be amongst the best players for the match and his coach was full of praise for the former Kangaroo.

“Blacky is a smart footballer who reads the play really well and obviously has played forward for long enough that he knows what defenders do to him that works,” O’Bree said.

“For him to have that (versatility) up his sleeve for the remainder of the year, he can now play back and forward.” 

Stewart Crameri continued his role as an on-baller in the VFL side and racked up 18 touches to go with four marks and two crucial goals. 

Skipper Tom Atkins put together an inspirational performance, totalling 11 tackles and 20 possessions but it was his ability to win key contests in crunch time that lifted his team over the line.

“(Atkins) might not get 30 possessions but he will have 20 contested and do team-lifting stuff, which is what Tom is all about,” O’Bree said. 

“The last two weeks you have seen Tom get back to his old self, he changes the game with his contest efforts.”

Fellow leader James Tsitas was also on top of his game, collecting 28 disposals, seven tackles and seven marks.

Sam McLachlan was named best afield with 19 touches and a goal whilst fellow VFL listed forward Sam Dobson (17 touches, 10 marks, two goals) featured in the best players for his clutch performance.

Small forward Jackson McLachlan was also amongst the best players, for the third consecutive week.

The VFL Cats will look to continue their winning form next week when they travel to Casey for a blockbuster Saturday night clash with the Demons. 

VFL Round 3 – Bendigo Bank Cats 13.9 (87) def. Footscray Bulldogs 10.8 (68)

Goals: Jones 3, Buzza, Miers, Crameri, Dobson 2, J. McLachlan, S. McLachlan

Best: S. McLachlan, Jones, Atkins, Black, Dobson, J.McLachlan

Reports: Nil

Injuries: Nil @ GMHBA Stadium

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