GEELONG 5.3 11.9 11.13 18.15 (123)
ST KILDA 3.2 6.5 9.12 11.15 (81)
Geelong have survived a third quarter slump and held of St Kilda to win by 42 points effectively ending the saints finals run.
The Cats came in as favourites and produced a first half that was worth of that title. However, after the half the came out as a different and far less impressive team. They were unable to kick a goal in the third quarter as the Saints closed the gap.
After a poor start the Saints took it up to the Cats in the second half but terrible accuracy meant that they could never pass them. In the end Geelong were too good and pulled away.
Geelong were yet again led by Tom Hawkins who continued his brilliant form. He equalled his personal best of six goals and would have kicked more if not for a lack of supply in the third quarter.
He was accompanied by Corey Enright who was one of the few to put in a four quarter effort. His desperate defending helped keep the Saints at bay. In the midfield James Kelly was the best of the bunch with his 27 disposals and 11 tackles.
As for the Saints Lenny Hayes continued to defy any sign of aging gathering 26 disposals, 15 contested. Steven Milne was also at his opportunistic best kicking four goals to make up for St Kilda’s struggling talls.
Geelong, true to their form of recent weeks started the game strong. Taylor Hunt started red hot kicking the first two goals. St Kilda pulled two back against the flow before the Cats asserted their authority with another three, two of which went to Hawkins.
In the second quarter Milne opened the scoring but it was Hawkins who took the game by the throat adding two more while monstering the St Kilda defence. Yet again the Saints kept in touch through their small forwards Milne and Saad but then the Cats stepped up. They kicked the last four of the half and victory looked certain.
The balance of the game changed after half time. Geelongs ascendency all but disappeared as their dominate defence turned to water and their forward line became impotent, unable to kick a goal.
The Saints pounced on the weakened Cats constantly sending the ball forward but their inaccuracy cost them. St Kilda kicked 3.7 for the quarter meaning that they were still behind at the final change.
The first goals of the last was all important and the Saints not only snatched that but the second as well putting them within a point. Just as Geelong looked like they were to be overrun, they flicked the switch and piled on the last seven goals of the game showing that they have plenty left to say in 2012.
3) Tom Hawkins
2) Corey Enright
1) James Kelly
Geelong: Hawkins 6, T Hunt 2, West 2, Motlop 2, Podsiadly 2, Stokes, Murdoch, Mackie, Chapman
St Kilda: Milne 4, Saad 3, Geary, Armitage, Goddard, Schneider
Geelong:Hawkins, Enright, Kelly, Duncan, J Hunt, West
St Kilda: Hayes, Milne, Goddard Gram, Saad
Geelong: T. Hunt (broken nose)
St Kilda: Blake (ankle) replaced in the selected side by Stanley; McEvoy (broken nose), Stanley (ribs)
Geelong: Jonathan Simpkin replaced Joel Corey at three-quarter time
St Kilda: Adam Schneider replaced Justin Koschitzke during the third quarter
Official crowd: 38,169 at Etihad Stadium