Western Bulldogs 1.1 6.2 8.5 11.9 (75)
Geelong 3.5 6.9 9.9 14.11 (95)
Geelong shrugged off a hungry Western Bulldogs with 20 points to spare at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
For the majority of the match it was a tight and low-scoring contest, which eventually came to suit the Western Bulldogs as they surged, dominating the clearances and, on many occasions, almost snared the lead.
It came predominantly through the brilliance of Steve Johnson, with the forward being the clear best-on-ground without kicking a goal; his 36 disposals, 14 marks, five inside 50s and four rebound 50s vital in midfield.
He even found the time and space to pull off blind turns and lookaway handballs in successive contests in the last quarter, capping off a stellar game.
Johnson was the standout of a host of Cats to play well, including power forward Tom Hawkins with three goals and three goal assists, while Paul Chapman also kicked two amongst 27 possessions through the midfield.
Corey Enright also used his experience and composure to great effect off half-back, recording 21 disposals at 90% efficiency, with nine marks.
It was on the outside where the Cats did the damage, as they hurt the Dogs kicking long over the contests where players such as Steven Motlop, who kicked three goals and showed some fantastic talent in a great display, were able to rove and goal.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Western Bulldogs, who dominated the clearances and came close to taking another scalp after a few good weeks.
Matthew Boyd was their best with 34 disposals and six clearances but in particular, it was youngster Mitch Wallis’ game that was the most impressive.
Son of former Bulldog Steve, Wallis tallied 24 disposals, 10 of them contested, at a remarkable efficiency of 96%. Amongst those were five clearances and five tackles in a great display. He also kicked a goal.
If it weren’t for a few errors late in the last, he could have been in the Bulldogs’ best few in a victory, but supersub Zephaniah Skinner and Liam Jones both missed goal chances in the last quarter, as did Jordan Roughead, who kicked 0.3 for the night.
But regardless, the loss leaves them 11th on the ladder pending the upcoming results of the rest of the round.
Geelong’s win puts them eighth as they begin their ascent up the ladder in a desperate push to defend their premiership.
3) – Johnson (Geelong)
2) – Chapman (Geelong)
1) – Corey Enright (Geelong)
Geelong: Hawkins 3, Motlop 3, Chapman 2, Mackie, Selwood, West, T Hunt, Bartel, Podsiadly
Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 3, Higgins 3, Dickson, Jones, Wallis, Liberatore, Skinner
Geelong: Johnson, Chapman, Corey, Enright, Scarlett, Selwood, Motlop, Mackie
Western Bulldogs: Boyd, Griffen, Liberatore, Murphy, Hargrave, Minson, Austin
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Geelong: Trent West replaced by Jonathan Simpkin at three-quarter time
Western Bulldogs: Patrick Veszpremi replaced by Zephaniah Skinner in the third quarter
Umpires: Pannell, McInerney, Mitchell
Official crowd: 29,118 at Etihad Stadium