Geelong extended their unbeaten run to eight matches with a statement against Carlton on Saturday night at the MCG – 12.13 (85) to 8.7 (55).
The Blues went into quarter-time with a slim lead, but the Cats flexed their muscles to come home victorious with Sam de Kong putting in another inspirational performance in defence.
Carlton host Greater Western Sydney at Marvel Stadium next week, while Geelong travel to Adelaide to face Port Adelaide.
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There were no late changes for either side, with Josh Honey (Carlton) and Jed Bews (Geelong) named medical subs.
Rhys Stanley scored the game’s first goal after a goal line marker.
Some desperate defending from Sam Walsh stopped Jeremy Cameron in his tracks, but Geelong continued to surge forward and were soon rewarded with a Tom Atkins goal.
Carlton had some poor entries going into the forward 50 but Charlie Curno put one up with a dribble for the first goal of the night.
A superb handball from Cameron opened the half for the Cats and Tyson Stengle finished the game.
Curno scored his second goal of the night a few minutes later.
Some good work in traffic from Patrick Cripps earned the Blues their third goal.
A goal for Jesse Motlop just before quarter-time gave the Blues the lead heading into quarter-time.
Tom Hawkins scored his first goal of the second season through some forward-half cleverness but was matched by Curno at the other end.
The Cats began to take the lead in the proceedings, although the Blues had plenty of football, with Max Holmes and Hawkins hitting majors.
The wind began to pick up significantly, with changing conditions causing some unusual changes on both sides.
Tyson Stengel missed a layup for the Cats, but Jeremy Cameron’s free was converted.
Geelong went into the break with a 17-point lead, the only casualty being Sam Menegola, who was sidelined with concussion.
The third period opened with a flurry of scoring, with both sides begging for a couple of chances.
George Hewett’s goal in the 12th minute reduced the deficit to 2 goals.
Although replays appeared to show that Patrick Dangerfield had caught the ball rather than himself, the turning point came when Sam Docherty slotted home a 50-metre penalty.
That free kick put Zach Guthrie in the goal area and the ball went wide.
“This is brutal,” Nathan Jones told Channel Seven.
It was a dramatic change when Holmes scored the next goal before a sensational battle with Jeremy Cameron on the touchline.
That goal put the Cats up by 29 points at three-quarter time.
Carlton missed a couple of chances early in the term and effectively proved the final straw when Grayan Meir scored at the end of the second.
3) Run the house heaters
It’s eight straight for Geelong and it will be asking a lot for them to get out of the top flight with a draw – the Blues were currently the last remaining team in the top eight.
Melbourne still face four more top eight teams, with the Lions and Dockers entering the round with three matches against top eight teams.
That, and a further three games at the GMHBA Stadium, means the Cats are in a good place going into September under Chris Scott.
Actually doing that has been a challenge for Cats on the move, but this looks like a golden opportunity from the looks of it.
For Carlton, they are not alarm bells, but they are strong ones, with matches against Brisbane at the Gabba, Melbourne and Collingwood still to come, with the final match looming large.
The Giants and Crows shouldn’t cause too much trouble over the next two weeks, but it’s time for the Blues to settle down as they haven’t had back-to-back wins since Round 10.
2) Stengel Bolsters hire the case of the year
There’s no shortage of candidates to recruit for the year, so it could come down to whichever (if any) Premiership wins the trophy at the registration deadline.
Geelong is well and truly in that conversation and is led in part by Tyson Stengel.
The former Richmond and Adelaide player has been huge this season and was once again crucial to the Cats’ forward thrusts in the big game.
Stiegle finished with just one goal, but had six assists on 17 shots.
“Talking about Geelong and their development as a football club, they’re obviously playing a slightly different brand. The growth of the staff, the staff, has been huge,” Nick Riewoldt told Fox Footy.
“That small forward role, I think you’re hoping Gary Ablett Jr. can play that kind of role for a few years, Gray Myers has succeeded.
“That was a bit of a missing link for them. He is the best batsman in the 50 in the tournament, he has completed himself and will press forward.
It’s a great football story going on with Tyson Stengle.
As for cats in general?
“Give him the cup, this year is different,” says Nick Riewoldt at Best On Ground.
“Now they’re clearly number one.”
1) Blues still a one-trick pony?
When asked about the side’s competitive career in recent weeks, Michael Voss has been vocal in saying he can’t be the be-all and end-all.
But as their career has changed in recent weeks, so has their winning record.
It was another night where they ultimately lost the tournament and lost the game overall. This convinced Jonathan Brown that his former teammate was hiding the truth.
“Tonight they are strangled. There’s more experience across the board in the Geelong team, there’s no doubt about it,” he told Best On Ground.
“They look back at work. They must win in mid-bbs, control you in mid-buses and clearances.
They got hammered in that part of the game tonight and that’s one stick, they’ve got big bulls in the middle…they should be able to win those contests.
They recap Carlton v Geelong on our blog below.
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