Last weekend’s 12-point win against Williamstown was a mark of resilience and effort in what was a grind-it-out performance by Geelong’s VFL side.
With 10 minutes remaining you could see hands on hips and players getting their breath after each contest.
The message from coach Shane O’Bree at three-quarter-time was simple: win the contested game.
With a differential of plus 10 ground ball gets in the final term the Geelong midfield held strong despite Williamstown’s barrage of repeat inside 50s.
“We were challenged a number of times throughout the game,” O'Bree said.
“Even at the start it was in their forward 50 for a good five to 10 minutes and we didn’t score.”
“In the last quarter they kicked the first three goals to get within a point and we just held on.”
“That summed it up - we had momentum, they had the momentum, it was just about who took their chances.”
Against an experienced Williamstown midfield and a contrasting style of play, the contested game was a deciding factor from the first bounce.
“From the start it was all about contested ball,” he said.
“They kept on going and going because they’re good at what they do.”
“Their surge and chaos style, just how we didn’t get involved in that and tried to control the game when we had the ball was important as well.”
“I thought the boys and the chemistry of the group and how mature they are has really grown.”
O’Bree was especially pleased with his team's work rate, as well as a number of young guns (Nathan Kreuger, Sam Simpson and Jordan Clark) returning from injury.
“How they all got through the game and had an impact was great to see,” he said.
“It’s always a challenge for young players coming back from injury, I suppose with the mindset.”
“You want to get through and not get injured but you still want to have an impact and I thought all three of those boys did.”
Another player that earned high praise was Ben Jarvis who played his heart out and stepped up in the tough contest for his best match of the year.
“All year he’s shown signs and looks like he’s going to have a day out and kick a bag of goals,” O’Bree said
“He’s doing the work, he wants to be a better player, he’s looking like he’s a good VFL player.”
“He’s just got to consistently do that and really take the game on now.”
With three tight matches (one win against Sydney & a loss against Casey) under the squad’s belt, the lessons from those contests will be crucial heading into finals.
As the VFL season has been shortened to 14 games, there are only five games left until finals - all of which are against sides outside the top eight.
The Bankers are set to play Coburg at Piranha Park this Saturday at 1pm as they look to hold onto their top four spot.