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Cats make statement at the MCG

The dream team at work (R12) A fantastic play from two stars hurts the Tigers going into the half time break.
Gryan Miers celebrates one of his three goals - Geelong Cats
Gryan Miers celebrates one of his three goals

CONSIDER any remaining doubters banished, because that statement was as emphatic as they come.

Geelong weathered everything Richmond had to offer in the opening term before announcing itself as the flag favourite in a comprehensive 67-point thumping on Friday night at the MCG.

That's the ground where the Tigers, premiers in 2017, had won 26 of their past 28 games heading into the contest.

Early on, they looked to have the edge too. Their unrelenting pressure saw them dominating general play, but they weren't able to make it count where it mattered - the scoreboard.

The Cats didn't make that mistake. Starting from the second quarter, they booted 11 straight goals, a streak finally broken when Tom Lynch nailed a set shot 18 minutes into the third term.

When all was said and done, the scoreboard read 16.8 (104) to 5.7 (37), reflective of Geelong entering the clash as No.1 in the competition for points scored and least points conceded.

Victory moved the Cats to 11-1 heading into their bye, a scarcely believable result considering a brutal start to the season which has seen them face every side that made finals last year.

From the second term they dominated in the clinches and finished with an advantage of 33 in contested possessions.

The only sour note was a left hamstring injury to Esava Ratugolea, who looked a real force in the air en route to four contested marks.

It was a bad night not only for Richmond, but also the AFL. After admitting two errors were made with its much-maligned score review system in round 11, a Jack Higgins snap in the second term was ruled a behind despite replays that seemed to suggest otherwise.

The Tigers were always up against it. Their threadbare defence, already without Alex Rance as he nurses a right knee reconstruction, lost lockdown backman David Astbury (hamstring) and in-form runner Brandon Ellis (groin) during the week. 

At times, they were made to look a rabble. One patch late in the third quarter saw Geelong put through three goals inside a minute, an almost unthinkable feat against a side expected to be among the upper echelon.

Their percentage of 94.5 wouldn't indicate that though. 

It wasn't the night for high-profile recruit Tom Lynch. He was among the culprits who wasted early chances, fluffing a couple of opportunities before ending with 1.2, along with three complete misses.

Champion Cat Gary Ablett was booed on a couple of occasions, but those noises had largely disappeared by the final quarter, replaced by loud cheers from his own supporters. 

He and fellow Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield were among the stars of the show, combining at one stage to extend the margin as the main break beckoned.

Unsurprisingly, Tim Kelly was among those to thrive as the unsigned midfielder continues to drive up his contract value and Gryan Miers finish with three goals, all from snaps.

MEDICAL ROOM
Richmond: Superstar Dustin Martin had his lower back looked at in the last quarter while Nick Vlastuin spent some time down in the rooms.

Geelong: Esava Ratugolea hurt his left hamstring and was ruled out of the match during the third term. Jake Kolodjashnij had a left knee issue but returned to the field. 

NEXT UP

Richmond faces a six-day break to figure out what went wrong before heading to South Australia to take on the team it defeated in the 2017 Grand Final, Adelaide. Geelong will enjoy its week off before a trip to the same ground as the Tigers, but will instead meet Port Adelaide.

RICHMOND   2.1   2.4    3.6     5.7 (37)
GEELONG      0.2   7.4   15.8   16.8 (104)

GOALS
Richmond: Butler, Castagna, Lynch, Martin, Naish
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Miers 3, Ablett 2, Ratugolea 2, Duncan, Dangerfield, Rohan, Stanley, Kelly 

BEST 
Richmond: Prestia, Cotchin, Martin, Houli
Geelong: Dangerfield, Duncan, Ablett, Kelly, Miers, Hawkins 

INJURIES 
Richmond: Vlastuin (ribs)
Geelong: Ratugolea (hamstring)

Reports: TBC

Umpires: Stevic, Gavine, Whetton, Ryan

Official crowd: 65,214 at the MCG

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