Geelong flexed its muscles to celebrate Joel Selud’s 350th match in style with a 28-point win over the Western Bulldogs at GMHBA Stadium.
The Cats went eight goalless in the third quarter before winning 14.10 (94) to 9.12 (66) in an ominous message for the rest of the contest.
As a result, Chris Scott’s side stayed top of the AFL ladder with a 15-4 record, while the ninth-seeded Dogs’ finals hopes fell to 10-9.
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There were no late changes for either side, with Brandan Parfitt (Geelong) and Lachlan McNeill (Western Bulldogs) named on medical appointments.
Quarter-by-quarter match report
The first quarter
Jemara Ugle-Hagan picked up where he left off last week with his first goal of the tournament, Jason Johansson struck the next to get the Dogs off to a good start.
Mark Blicavs went for a soft tag to Marcus Bontempelli to start the game and as the Cats utility went forward the star midfielder didn’t follow, instead Tim English scored from the back of the play.
But the Dogs had all game in the opening period behind Bontempelli’s strong quarterback.
“It looks like he’s trying to do too much and not doing both jobs effectively,” the Geelong great told Channel 7 of the Blickavs.
Luke Beveridge’s side kicked the next two goals, with Channel 7’s Luke Darcy saying, “It’s a good start for the Western Bulldogs.”
Geelong got a goal through Patrick Dangerfield in the quarter to create two more chances in the period.
But it was the dogs who had the first word to take 19-points to the quarter from 4.3 (27) to 1.2 (8).
“Caught Geelong off guard,” Leong great Jonathan Brown said at quarter time. “They fix it around the race and between the ground. They have to start going up in clearance and say, ‘Let’s just get to work.’
“You might be overwhelmed by the occasion (Joel Selwood’s 350th match), it’s a big occasion, this guy is arguably the greatest Geelong player ever.” They wanted to release him, so maybe they were a little tight.”
The Dogs continued their strong play in the second quarter as Ugle-Hagan scored his second goal to extend their lead to 26 points.
“A young man taking a chance,” Channel 7 caller Jason Bennett He talked about the previous election 1.
The Cats looked to build some momentum midway through the second period when Tyson Stengel found himself open at half forward before the Cats found Tom Hawkins wide open at full forward.
But Hawkins put away the shot, which Bennett called “the botched goal of the year.”
Moments later, Bontempelli got in late with a sloppy grab on Mitch Duncan and nearly floored him with a punch.
The Cats found life late on with back-to-back goals through Brad Close and Isaac Smith as they generally got on top of the game.
The Dogs led by 11 points at half-time, 6.5 (41) to 4.6 (30).
A lucky drop free for Geelong helped Tyson Steagle score the first goal of the third quarter, while Hawkins scored the next to see the hosts take their first lead of the night.
The Cats continued to push when Hawkins scored the next goal from long range to extend the lead to seven points.
“The alarm bells are ringing in the Bulldogs coaches’ box, the league leaders are making their move,” Bennett said.
Cam Guthrie made it four Cats goals in a row after finishing on the run, while Klose added another as the home fans erupted.
“When cats that are resistant,[do]stick their tails out like that, you need to take a break. All of a sudden they seem to be able to score at will,” Darcy said.
“The Cats are on fire … five unstoppable goals this quarter.”
Grayan Myers kept the Geelong Avalanche going, nailing a powerful shot from the boundary line to make it six goals in a row.
“The real X-factor,” Bennett said of Myers. You could say the same about everyone involved in its construction – Close, Stengel, Meier, their biggest opposites. Too many weapons in front of cats.”
“They’re raiding everywhere,” Darcy added.
It was all one-way traffic for Geelong’s complete dominance in the third period, with Cameron and Stengel kicking two more goals.
The Cats shot 23 percent inside 50s overall, but 50 percent in the third period (eight goals inside 50s, 16 inside 50s) in an impressive burst.
“It’s a powerful message,” Darcy said.
The Cats took a 36-point lead in the period, 12.8 (8o) to 6.8 (44).
Gary Rohan (concussion) fell for Brandon Parfitt at the last break.
While the Bulldogs had their chances early in the fourth quarter, they couldn’t score, the Cats came down the other end and made Cameron pay with a fast break goal.
Tempers flared at quarter-time after Jonathan Seglar was awarded a 50-metre penalty after a late collection of Cody Weightman, which led to the Dogs’ first goal since the second period.
Beveridge’s side finished strong in the final two goals to end the fourth quarter with a win, but this was a night for Geelong to celebrate as it remained a clear game in the first place.
3. Headwood broke many records on Milestone Night
Joel Selwood, take a bow.
Not only Geelong’s but the game’s all-time legend, the Cats skipper broke a number of records on a special night and became the club’s first player to reach 350 games.
But the biggest win saw the 34-year-old break the record for most captaincy in VFL/AFL history (160).
Selwood was ahead of Essendon’s Dick Reynolds (159), Carlton’s Stephen Kernanhan (139) and John Nicholls (126), Brisbane’s Michael Voss (129) and North Melbourne’s Wayne Carey. (124)
He also became the player to reach 350 games in the space of a few days (15 years, 120 days), ahead of Carlton legend Craig Bradley (15 years, 127 days).
“Football is a team game but it’s played by individuals who put their blood, sweat and tears into the cause,” Pius legend Nathan Buckley said of Selwood on Fox Footy, where the Cats squad was embraced by fans in special scenes after the game.
“And to be able to be recognized on that stage on his own accord without his teammates is pretty special.”
Selwood’s football resume stacks up for anyone, with three flags, six All-Australian jumpers, bravery player of the year and three best and fairest winners.
The only thing that eludes him is winning the Premiership title, a feat he is most likely to achieve in the 2021 season as the top-flight Cats fly.
“From a leadership point of view, it’s all about being a premiership captain,” said triple premiership-winning Lions Jonathan Brown.
“They are in good shape for this year.”
Saints great Nick Riewoldt added: “As obviously hungry for that, that’s a carrot.” That’s why he still drives the team as strong as he does.
“What a great leader he was.”
2. Cats ‘cruel’ eighth goal sends ‘powerful message’ in third
Well, that was terrible.
A relentless Geelong kicked eight unanswered goals in a dramatic and decisive third quarter to ultimately be the difference on the night.
Channel 7’s Luke Darcy called the Cats’ quarterback a “powerful message”.
Geelong got off to a slow start on the night before clawing back the deficit in the second quarter, but it was the third term where they really exploded.
In addition to conceding eight goals to none, Geelong dominated the disposal count (101-74), clearances (12-7), marks (35-25), inside 50s (18-8), contested possessions (35-28). And most importantly, the scoreboard (50-3).
Tyson Stengel (two goals, eight goals, four marks, two inside 50s) and Patrick Dangerfield (eight disposals, four contested possessions, two clearances) were particularly good in the flash, Bombers great Jobe Watson said on Channel 7, the latter “led the charge .”
“His strength around the ball, he’s got real speed and he seems to be out of the game,” he said.
Indeed, it was complete dominance and one-way traffic in his terrifying statement to the rest of the league, proving why the Cats are ladder leaders and premiership favourites.
Geelong simply could do no wrong, scoring goal after goal in all parts of the field with the fans in the Cattery in a frenzy.
“The machine is going down,” said Channel 7 analyst Jason Bennett.
1. Where to the dogs?
So where does this loss leave the Bulldogs?
Luke Beveridge’s side looked on from the sidelines, scoring four goals to nil in the first quarter as the GMHBA Stadium appeared to be in on the action.
And we know how dangerous the club can be, so the Dogs had reason to be tired heading into September, after finishing outside the top four last year and beating Melbourne last week.
But they may not feature in the finals now, with St Kilda taking the Dogs’ place in the top eight, albeit with a healthy percentage of 109.4.
They have a relatively friendly home run facing the Dockers (Marvel Stadium), GSS (Marvel Stadium) and Hawthorns (UTAS Stadium).
Everything is now in front of the dogs, which is a big drop compared to expectations for 2022 of something more than eight.
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