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VFL Cats continue strong form

Jackson Thurlow responded well after being left out of the AFL side with 26 disposals - Geelong Cats
Jackson Thurlow responded well after being left out of the AFL side with 26 disposals

Geelong’s VFL side has continued their strong run of form in the lead up to finals, defeating Essendon, 8.10 (58) to 4.6 (30).

The match was played in wet conditions and the first half was a low scoring affair, with the Cats holding a two goal lead at the main break.

The third term saw both sides continue to play a defensive brand of football with the game still in the balance heading in to the final quarter.

With the Bombers fighting to keep their finals hopes alive, the final term was a scrappy, desperate affair but the Cats ultimately proved too strong, running out 28-point victors.

Cats coach Shane O’Bree was impressed with his side’s ability to get over the line in trying conditions.

“It was a real scrap, a real grind,” O’Bree said.

“Credit to the boys, I thought every quarter we got better and controlled the game.

“Essendon kept coming, to their credit, and they had a bit to play for tonight which is probably why we were on the back foot early.”

Harry Taylor made his return to football after a lengthy spell on the sidelines and got through the match unscathed.

Taylor played the majority of the match up forward and kicked one goal from eight touches.

Jackson Thurlow responded well after being left out of the AFL side, totalling 26 disposals, 18 by foot, along with five marks to be named amongst the best players.

“Thurlow down back look composed with the ball and really looked like a leader down in our backline,” O’Bree said.

The Cats defenders kept their opponents to four goals, headlined by dominant performances from Campbell Floyd and Zach Guthrie across half back.

Ruck duo Ryan Abbott (21 hitouts) and Zac Smith (29 hitouts) fought hard despite playing in difficult conditions for talls.

Jordan Murdoch threw his name into contention for a senior recall with three goals from 21 touches.

“(Murdoch) was good, I thought he was pretty consistent all game and kicked three goals,” O’Bree said.

Murdoch’s pace and composure in front of goal was present throughout the whole match and he was named amongst the Cats’ best.

Wylie Buzza was also amongst the goalkickers with two majors in the low-scoring affair.

Midfielders George Horlin-Smith (24 disposals) and Jordan Cunico (22 disposals) were both clean around the contest and racked up a lot of the ball.

Both Horlin-Smith and Murdoch were reported for separate sling tackles in the match.

The Cats will look to continue their winning form next week when they travel to Coburg for a clash with the Lions.

VFL Round 19
Bendigo Bank Cats 8.10 (58) def. Essendon 4.6. (30)
Murdoch 3, Buzza 2, Horlin-Smith, Jones, Taylor
Best: Floyd, Z. Guthrie, Horlin-Smith, Thurlow, Murdoch, Cunico
Reports: Horlin-Smith (rough conduct), Murdoch (rough conduct)
Injuries: Nil
@ GMHBA Stadium

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