GEELONG produced a scintillating second half display to defeat Richmond by 63-points at the MCG on Friday night.
We've broken down the stats that matter in this week’s edition of ‘By The Numbers’ presented by Deakin’s Centre for Sport Research.
Big Three Recruits Show Their Worth
Geelong supporters finally got to see Jeremy Cameron, Shaun Higgins and Isaac Smith play in the hoops together for the first time and it was worth the wait.
When Richmond had the ascendancy early, Higgins was assured with his disposal, showcasing has calmness and class on the big stage with 14 first half disposals at 86% efficiency. He also kicked Geelong’s first goal after Richmond slotted the opening three majors of the game.
Smith was equally important utilising his elite endurance as the link man between the arcs for the Cats finishing with 21 disposals and two goals.
Then there was Cameron. What a performance! Six goals and 22 disposals. He simply was unstoppable!
Forwards Find Form
While we are on Cameron, how good was his combination with Tom Hawkins and Gary Rohan in attack… 15 goals between them!
When Richmond kicked 3.2 from its first six inside 50s and the Cats had just two behinds for the same number of entries it appeared like it was going to be a tough night at the office for the Cats in attack, but they flipped the script.
The Cats took a season high 20 marks inside 50. After a wayward start to the season Hawkins was kicking them from all angles while the milestone man had a night to remember with an equal career-high five goals.
Contested Cats Change Momentum
One of the most pleasing aspects of the win against Richmond according to coach Chris Scott was the team’s ability to beat the Tigers in the contested and pressure areas in the third term.
“That’s always the challenge. I thought early they were super, they kicked a couple of goals and sometimes you have got to dip your lid to them and say that’s hard to stop,” Scott said post-game.
“I thought the highlight of the game almost was that third quarter and our contested work. There were some 50/50 balls where our guys were just super. I don’t think we were quite on in that regard early but certainly late.”
The Cats ended up winning contested possessions (+32) clearances (+9), tackles (+15), tackles inside 50 (+15) and one-percenters (+9) by the final siren.
A special shout out to Brad Close who had a game-high four tackles inside 50 – the same number as the entire Richmond side.
Tom Stewart was at his creative best off half back for the Cats with a game-high four score launches and 563 metres gained from 26 disposals.
What was even more impressive than his offensive contribution was the shutdown role he played on the game’s most damaging player.
When the Tigers were on top early Dustin Martin had nine disposals in the opening term, but Stewart kept a close watch on last year’s Norm Smith Medallist in the second half with Martin finishing up with only 21 disposals and having little influence on the game.
Hendo in All Australian Form
As good as we were in attack, Geelong’s backline was equally impressive spearheaded by Lachie Henderson who is arguably in career best form.
“We were really confident in Henderson. I am biased but for a guy towards the end of his career he looks in All Australian form to me,” Scott said.
Henderson finished with an equal game-high eight intercepts, 17 disposals and six spoils, and alongside fellow talls Mark Blicavs and Jack Henry helped restrict Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt to two goals between them.
Geelong’s next challenge is against St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Friday 14 May at 7.50pm.