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VFL: Cats cement top four spot

James Tsitas was a standout with 25 disposals - Geelong Cats
James Tsitas was a standout with 25 disposals

Geelong’s VFL side has cemented their place in the top four, defeating Port Melbourne 10.8 (68) to 6.19 (55).

After their big win over North Melbourne in round ten, the Cats entered Saturday’s clash with confidence but the reigning premiers were up to the challenge.

The Cats had a strong first half, kicking seven goals whilst the Borough struggled to convert at the other end, managing just one major from numerous chances.

Despite continuing to be inaccurate in front of goal, Port Melbourne clawed their way back into the game, hitting the front early in the final term.

The Cats had the wind behind them in the final quarter and used it to their advantage, kicking three of the last four goals to run out 14-point victors.

Geelong coach Shane O’Bree was pleased with his side’s ability to fight it out and claim a scrappy win.

“I was pleased that in the last quarter when they came at us, we were able to hold on and get the win against a pretty quality team in Port Melbourne,” O’Bree said.

“To the guys’ credit, they fought it out and played the right way.”

Harry Taylor played his first VFL game in a decade and got through the match unscathed.

The veteran also snuck forward for his maiden VFL goal to go with 17 possessions and seven marks.

Quinton Narkle starred for the Cats, racking up 19 touches and kicking three highlight reel goals.

Along with George Horlin-Smith (32 touches) and Gryan Miers (20 possessions, one goal), Narkle was amongst the standout players on the ground, much to the delight of his coach.

“(Narkle) has had a really good month of footy coming off a knee reconstruction, it is a great effort for him to feel confident with the way he is moving,” O’Bree said.

“He was good in the contest but his footwork to get out of the contest is where he shines.”

Ryan Abbott amassed 65 hitouts to go with 11 touches and five tackles, pushing his case for a senior debut.

Along with Abbott, consistent VFL stars James Tsitas (25 touches) and skipper Tom Atkins (17 touches) were named in the best players.

Atkins stepped up when his team needed him, kicking two crucial goals that helped the Cats get over the line.

“Tom is doing everything we want as a leader now, he is only 22 and to be a captain of our VFL team is a credit to him,” O’Bree said.

“Critical moments to win contests and kick goals when we needed him to, Tom is really developing in that area.”

VFL debutant Lachie Noble was impressive in his first game in the hoops.

The South Barwon forward kicked a goal and took five marks in an encouraging start to his VFL career.

The VFL Cats will have a week off next week, coinciding with the AFL bye.

VFL Round 11 – Bendigo Bank Cats 10.8 (68) def. Port Melbourne 6.19 (55)
Goals: Narkle 3, Atkins 2, Taylor, Miers, Kiel, Noble, Dobson
Best: Horlin-Smith, Narkle, Miers, Atkins, Tsitas, Abbott
Reports: Nil
Injuries: Nil @ Burbank Oval, Williamstown

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