It may only be Round 4, but in a shortened season Geelong’s clash against the Demons on Sunday shapes as a must win game.
The Cats will enter the match looking to make amends after they went down to Carlton by two points last Saturday.
Last time we met: Round 2, 2019 – Geelong 20.6 (126) def Melbourne 6.10 (46)
Gary Rohan led the scorers with three goals in an even team performance, while Patrick Dangerfield (37 touches) and Charlie Constable (31 touches) were the leading disposal winners for the Cats.
Clayton Oliver was a beast inside for the Dees finishing with 44 disposals (25 contested) and 13 clearances
For and Against: Played 218 games | Won: 131 | Drawn: 2 | Lost: 85
Who Dares Wins
It has been evident since the return of football that getting off to a good start has never been more important with shortened quarters.
Across rounds two and three, the team that has been leading at quarter time has gone on to win 12 of the 17 matches played.
Tom Hawkins is hopeful the Cats can produce a more consistent performance from the outset.
“I think our approach will be that we need to get back to the way that we play when we are playing great footy,” Hawkins said speaking to media at GMHBA Stadium on Wednesday morning.
“We saw that in the last quarter, we played really daring football, we were on the front foot and we were attacking really well.
“So, I think it is more of taking that sort of approach into the game early against Melbourne on Sunday and then letting our game flow from there.”
Gawn v Cats rucks
Geelong’s ruck department will face one of the biggest challenges in the game when they come up against Max Gawn on Sunday.
The 208cm giant is an imposing figure and a terrific player to boot.
The Dee’s skipper has an excellent individual record against the Cats. Gawn ranks second for hit-outs and fifth for clearances when ranked against other AFL clubs.
Although Gawn is a hard man to stop, restricting his influence will be crucial for the Cats.
With Rhys Stanley in doubt with a medial ligament strain, the ruck duties could fall to Darcy Fort and Esava Ratugolea.
The Cats will need to be able to stand up and handle the pressure better this week if they want to secure victory against Melbourne.
When the heat was at its highest last week, the Cats struggled to handle Carlton’s pressure and that impacted their disposal efficiency.
“We didn’t handle the pressure that Carlton put on us,” Hawkins said.
“We turned the ball over and moving forward we just didn’t have much method, but that came off the back of their pressure.”
If they can turn the tide and produce the type of football they displayed against the Hawks, it will put them in a great position.
Expect star trio Patrick Dangerfield (48%), Gary Ablett (50%) and Joel Selwood (55%) to come out firing this week after not using the ball as well as they would have liked last week.
Round 4 vs Melbourne
Date: Sunday 28 June @ 3.35pm
Watch: Channel Seven, Fox Footy, Kayo and AFL app.
Listen: K rock Football