VFL Review – Round 12

Updated: July 4, 2015
Geelong ruckman Dawson Simpson has officially joined the GWS Giants Picture: ARJ GIESE.
Geelong ruckman Dawson Simpson was involved in an engrossing battle with Casey Scorpion Mark Jamar. Picture: ARJ GIESE.

Geelong ruckman Dawson Simpson was involved in an engrossing battle with Casey Scorpion Mark Jamar. Picture: ARJ GIESE.

THE finals aspirations of Geelong’s VFL side have been dealt a blow after the Cats crashed to an eight-goal loss against the Casey Scorpions at Cranbourne on Saturday.

Despite fielding 12 AFL-listed players – including triple premiership player Jimmy Bartel in his comeback game from 10 weeks on the sidelines – the Cats were no match for the Scorpions, who triumphed 14.9 (93) to 6.9 (45) in the wintery conditions at Casey Fields.

The loss now leaves Geelong three games outside the top eight and coach Paul Hood said it was a disappointing performance.

“We were just outplayed in every area. Our performance wasn’t good enough,” Hood said.

“We didn’t deal with the level of pressure that Casey were able to bring and the pressure we brought to them didn’t affect them that much.

“We just weren’t as ‘up’ as the opposition. We didn’t execute as well and Casey, starting with the wind, got them up and about.

“We just couldn’t keep the ball inside (our forward) 50 and perhaps we didn’t help that by having a player behind the ball kicking into the wind.

“But it was really difficult to keep the ball down our end, which is something we’ve got to keep working on.”

The Scorpions kicked the first six goals of the match and, despite fighting back to trail by 21 points at the main break, the Cats never looked threatening.

Bartel, in his first VFL appearance since 2004, was the Cats best with 28 touches – 19 of those contested – while Jarrad Jansen continues to push his claims for an AFL call-up with 21 disposals and a goal.

“Jansen looked like he was going to have an impact. He had a pretty good day – but we couldn’t have him everywhere,” Hood said.

The Cats even used the 192cm Jansen as a marking target up forward to try and generate some scoring momentum.

“He’s not going to be a big, stand-under-the-ball key forward, but his ability to fight in the air and compete on the ground can probably make him pretty valuable in time,” Hood said.

“We’re trying to give him a chance to play midfield and forward and he’s developing in both areas at the moment and doing well. He’s working really hard at his craft and hopefully the chance for him is not too far away.”

The experience of playing alongside a player the caliber of Bartel was also something to savior for the Cats’ youngsters and VFL-listed players, Hood said.

“He’s a class above, as you would expect, and really helped out,” Hood said.

“I’m sure it’s a day some of our young guys will remember and hopefully it spurs a few on to keep working at their games.

“We tried to work him through a few different areas to give him best preparation for when he plays in the AFL next week.

“We didn’t need him to play out the entire game so it was good to get that 80 per cent into him.”

There were also encouraging signs from midfielder George Horlin-Smith in his first match since hyperextending his knee a month ago. Horlin-Smith had 20 possessions and six clearances, while Dean Gore also made a solid return after two months on the sidelines with 19 touches.

Defender Jake Kolodjashnij continued his solid form while ruckman Dawson Simpson had a fascinating battle with Casey’s Melbourne-listed big man Mark Jamar. Simpson had 38 hitouts to Jamar’s 34.

Of the VFL-listed players, Brenton Rees (16 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances) and Tom Ruggles (15 touches and five tackles) impressed.

The Cats travel to Avalon Airport Oval next Saturday to take on Werribee, which  moved back inside the top four after scoring a 58-point win over the Coburg Tigers at Avalon Airport Oval on Sunday.

After consecutive defeats before the bye, Werribee flew out of the blocks to lead by 27 points at quarter-time and by almost seven goals at the main break.

Like in its past two losses to Collingwood and the Northern Blues, it was the third quarter that Werribee struggled in as the Tigers allowed Coburg to close the gap to 23 points heading into the final term.

But the Tigers slammed home seven final quarter goals to run out comfortable winners 15.18 (108) to 7.8 (50).

Ben Brown, dropped by North Melbourne this week, responded with four goals in a solid performance, while Josh Porter and Ben Speight both chipped in with two.

In his 50th appearance for Werribee, defender Jake Wilson was outstanding while Jye Bolton, Matt Hanson and North Melbourne’s international rookie ruckman Eric Wallace were also dominant.

It was Wallace’s second senior appearance at Werribee after switching from North Ballarat this season.

Twitter: @GreenBradley

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