Geelong has dismantled the Northern Blues in the wet at Preston in round twelve of the Peter Jackson VFL season. The Cats held the Blues to just three goals for the match winning 14.12.96 to 3.7.25.
It was an important clash for both sides with the Blues clinging to their spot in the eight with the Cats just outside and waiting to pounce. Played in heavy rain at times, the Cats jumped out of the blocks booting six goals to one to open up an almost match winning lead at quarter time - 6.4.40 to 1.3.9.
Cat's forward Josh Walker providing a highlight in the first quarter with the goal-of-the-day from a soccer style overhead kick that would have done any World Cup striker proud. Cat’s fans were on their feet when Lincoln McCarthy snapped truly during the quarter.
McCarthy was returning to footy after a long layoff with injury and was providing his teammates with plenty of inspiration early.In the second quarter Geelong continued to show-off their wet-weather skills and extended their lead at half-time to 57 points.
Their AFL contingent with the likes of Billie Smedts, Jackson Thurlow and Brad Hartman revelled in the conditions as the bigger bodies of the Cats worried the Blues around the packs. Jack Hollmer was lively up forward for Geelong as was AFL rookie listed player Nick Bourke, both booting two first-half goals.
Tom Bell and Nick Graham were doing their best to keep the Blues competitive however AFL regulars Jeff Garlett and Jarred Waite struggled to have any influence. The rain continued in the third term making scoring difficult for either side.
Half-way through the quarter Graham goaled for the Blues after a 50-metre penalty, it was their first since the fifteen minute mark of the first quarter. The goal ended a run of ten unanswered majors by the Cats.
The Blues were better defensively in the quarter limiting Geelong to just two goals, the margin 63 points at the final change.The fans who braved the conditions had little to cheer about again in the final term with only another three goals scored.
Geelong running out easy 71-point winners to keep their finals hopes alive. Major goal kickers for the Cats were Bourke and Daniel Gibbs, both with three, while for the Blues Tom Wilson kicked two.
Better players for Geelong included Hartman (20 disposals), Mitch Brown in defence, Smedts, Thurlow (19) and skipper Dominic Gleeson (31). For the Blues Graham led the way with 29 disposals, Bell (23), ex-Murray Bushranger Nick Holman continues to impress and Andrew McInnes tried hard.
The win keeps the Cats within a whisker of the top eight and they face second placed and in form Footscray at home in round thirteen. For the Northern Blues, they drop out of the eight and return to Preston City Oval again to take on sixth placed Collingwood.