Cats dismantle struggling Tigers in AFL
Geelong have surged into second spot on the AFL ladder with a comprehensive 38-point win over Richmond, driving another dagger into the reigning premiers’ finals hopes.
Patrick Dangerfield, Cam Guthrie and Tom Hawkins were at the heart of the Cats’ dominance in the second quarter as they piled on five unanswered goals to set up the 15.5 (95) to 8.9 (57) victory at the MCG on Sunday.
It was Geelong’s second big win over the Tigers in as many meetings this season – following a 63-point thrashing in round eight – after being overrun in the second half of last year’s grand final.
Geelong have surged into second spot on the AFL ladder with a comprehensive 38-point win over Richmond, driving another dagger into the reigning premiers’ finals hopes
But there was a sour note for the Cats, who had Joel Selwood substituted out of the game during the third term after the skipper copped a corked thigh in an early collision with Mabior Chol.
Dangerfield finished with 28 disposals, 18 contested possessions, seven clearances and a goal as best afield, with Guthrie (34 disposals and seven clearances) also influential.
Hawkins and Esava Ratugolea kicked four goals each as key figures in attack, while medical substitute Quinton Narkle had 12 disposals and eight clearances in less than half a game after replacing Selwood.
Geelong comfortably won contested possession (143-116) in a telling statistic that highlighted their dominance around the ball.
‘When the heat was on early, our work in the contest against their mids was a real highlight, and that contributed to the way we defended as well,’ coach Chris Scott said.
‘The defenders did a really good job but the pressure on the ball needed to be strong because when they (Richmond) do get the momentum and surge the ball forward, they can be really hard to stop.
‘We understand that we’re in the fight for the top few spots on the ladder against some good teams, so beating a team like Richmond is important, but trying to find a way to play our best footy really is the priority, and I thought we took some steps there again tonight.’
Daniel Rioli impressed in his new role across half-back for Richmond with eye-catching dash and distribution, and youngster Rhyan Mansell showed glimpses of his potential, but the Tigers had few winners on the day.
Captain Trent Cotchin fought hard to finish with 19 disposals and six clearances, while Jack Riewoldt and Jake Aarts kicked two goals each.
The first half was a demolition job, with Richmond held to just 1.4 (10) in their lowest tally at halftime in more than four years as the Cats built an unassailable 41-point lead.
The Tigers launched a brief challenge after the main break but were wasteful in front of the big sticks.
‘We didn’t execute the fundamentals of the game that well,’ Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said.
‘There were some times where we were out offensively but just couldn’t hit the kick or handball and it’s been a common theme throughout this year, to be perfectly frank.’