VFL Review – Round 17

Updated: August 9, 2015
Jordan Cunico looks to send Geelong into attack in its VFL loss to North Ballarat. Picture: ARJ GIESE


Jordan Cunico looks to send Geelong into attack in its VFL loss to North Ballarat. Picture: ARJ GIESE

Jordan Cunico looks to send Geelong into attack in its VFL loss to North Ballarat. Picture: ARJ GIESE

GEELONG has been held to its lowest score of the season in a disappointing 47-point loss to North Ballarat that’s effectively ended the Cats VFL finals hopes.

Cats coach Paul Hood admitted there “wasn’t a lot of positives” to come from the 11.10 (76) to 4.5 (29) loss at Ballarat’s Eureka Stadium.

First year draftee Jordan Cunico continued his solid late season form on a wing while big man Nathan Vardy spent some important time in the ruck and Dean Gore “showed a bit in the second half”, but Hood conceded the Cats were “just outplayed.”

It was a low-scoring affair for three quarters before the Roosters took control of the game late in the third term to lead by 19 points heading into the last break.

They then stormed away with six goals in the fourth quarter to run out comfortable winners.

North Ballarat’s efficiency in the last quarter was the difference. The Roosters scored six times from just nine entries into their forward 50m whereas the Cats took the ball inside 17 times but could only manage three scoring shots.

“North Ballarat set up with numbers back and kept their defence really solid and we couldn’t break it,” Hood said.

“We were poor with our ball use in the last quarter and that left ourselves open to be scored against and North Ballarat really capitalised on our turnovers and scored – and that was disappointing.

“The inside 50 numbers for the day are fairly even (46-45 in North Ballarat’s favor) but we were beaten pretty comprehensively off the back of poor defence and poor ball use.”

Cunico had 23 possessions and eight marks while Billie Smedts, back from the AFL side, was busy with 22 touches, five marks, four tackles and three clearances and Josh Cowan (21 disposals) continues to step up his output since returning from injury.

After missing two months following knee surgery, Hood said Cunico’s form has built over the past three games.

“He’s had a good month and is setting himself up for a good finish to the year and a big pre-season and a good year in 2016,” Hood said of the 19-year-old midfielder.

The Cats are back at Simonds Stadium next Saturday morning to take on top side Box Hill Hawks.

Meanwhile Werribee’s late season surge has continued with the Tigers moving a step closer to securing a spot in the top four after continuing their giant-killing run with a 28-point victory over Essendon at Windy Hill.

They sit in fifth spot on the ladder but the 15.13 (103) to 11.9 (75) victory seals Werribee’s spot in the finals for the fifth straight year.

With a bye next round, the Tigers face Williamstown (away) and reigning premiers Footscray (home) in their final two matches which will determine if they get the double chance or face an elimination final in the first week of the finals.

After an even opening term, a seven-goal second quarter by Werribee saw the Tigers take charge. They led by 27 points at the main break and withstood a determined third quarter performance by the Bombers before kicking away.

Big man Majak Daw kicked three goals in another solid performance while Josh Porter, Dylan Reid, ruckman Eric Wallace, Matthew Munro and the consistent Isaac Conway all chipped in with two each.

Defender Nathan Laracy, captain Michael Sodomaco, Matthew Brett and James Hussey were prolific for the Tigers.

Twitter: @GreenBradley

Bendigo Bank