Geelong’s VFL side has claimed their first win of 2018, defeating Werribee 13.16 (94) to 4.3 (27) in a practice match on Friday night.
Despite some early goal kicking troubles, the Cats had a statistical dominance over the Tigers from the early stages of the match.
Starting the game hot with an 83-34 disposal first term, the Cats were on top early, but failed to convert their chances in front of goal.
The dominance continued in the second quarter but the trend of missed opportunities continued as the home side managed only two goals and led by 33 points at the main break.
The game opened up in the third term and the Cats were not plagued by the same inaccuracy woes they faced in the first half, extending their lead to 53 points by three quarter time.
Both teams dropped the intensity in the final term but the Cats still managed to pile on three goals to run out 67-point victors.
Former VFL Cats in Dane McFarlane, Brenton Rees, Jack Berry and Ben Moloney all suited up for the visitors on Friday night but struggled as a team against the experienced Geelong outfit.
Cats coach Shane O’Bree was pleased with his side’s performance and their ability to gel as a unit at such an early stage of the season.
“We had a pretty experienced VFL team which complements our younger VFL guys that played so it was a good win and the boys played the right way all night,” he said.
Stewart Crameri got through unscathed in his first match in the blue and white hoops and provided a good target for the Cats up forward.
The former Essendon and Western Bulldogs forward finished the match with 12 disposals and five marks in the big win.
“It was good for (Crameri) to get through a game of football, you could see his intent there,” O’Bree said.
Nakia Cockatoo was on top of his game, showing off his blistering pace to finish with two goals from 16 touches, putting him well and truly in the frame for round one selection.
“It was good to see (Cockatoo) out there playing again so hopefully he pulls up well.
“His intensity around the contest and ability to get after the ball is obviously the number thing that he brings to the table,” O’Bree said.
Also putting his hand up for round one selection was speedster Jordan Murdoch.
Murdoch was again amongst the best players on the ground, racking up 24 disposals and eight tackles whilst hitting the scoreboard with two goals.
“(Murdoch) has been playing around the ball a bit more, has been getting his hands on it more and looked good around the contest,” O’Bree said.
“His pressure and tackling has been a real highlight too.”
Jack Henry showed his ability to be a solid swingman, playing strongly as a key defender despite spending the majority of last season across half-forward.
“(Henry) is very good down back with his ability to read the play and help his teammates out,” O’Bree said.
“Tonight you saw glimpses of his intercept marking, spoiling and athleticism.”
Injury plagued forward Cory Gregson showed glimpses of his best football and was among the top players on the ground.
Also amongst the best was Jordan Cunico (26 touches, two goals), George Horlin-Smith (23 touches, six clearances) and Ryan Abbott (38 hitouts, one goal).
The VFL Cats will look to continue their strong form next week when they take on Footscray in their final practice match.
VFL Practice Match – Bendigo Bank Cats 13.16 (94) def. Werribee Tigers 4.3 (27)
Goals: Cockatoo, Murdoch, Cunico, Atkins 2, Ratugolea, Gow, Abbott, Kiel, Hillman
Best: Cunico, Murdoch, Cockatoo, Horlin-Smith, Abbott, Gregson
Injuries: Nil @ GMHBA Stadium