Cats rally to swat aside dogged Lions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats rally to swat aside dogged Lions

By Guy Hand 03/05/2008 07:02:55 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane gave Geelong the fright of their lives before the premiers rallied late for a 27-point win in their AFL match at Skilled Stadium.

Without late withdrawals Jonathan Brown and Brownlow Medallist Simon Black, the Lions still matched the competition benchmark throughout before the Cats' class and depth eventually told.

The Cats' 15.15 (105) to 11.12 (78) victory keeps the premiers unbeaten in their opening seven matches of the season.

But the Lions face several weeks without midfield ball magnet Black, whom coach Leigh Matthews revealed has the beginnings of the chronic groin complaint osteitis pubis.

While Brisbane were hampered by losing Black and Brown (quadriceps), Geelong also lost a star before the bounce with midfielder Gary Ablett withdrawing with a calf injury.

And the Cats struggled early - Brisbane opening up a three-goal lead in the second quarter as midfielders Jared Brennan, Jed Adcock and Tim Notting launched the Lions forward at every opportunity.

The Lions dominated the early inside 50s but wasteful kicking - at one stage in the second term Brisbane were 6.8 to Geelong's 5.2 - cost them the chance to open up a match-winning lead.

That allowed the Cats to graft their way back, with Mathew Stokes kicking two goals and Cameron Mooney one in the second quarter to give Geelong a four-point halftime lead.

The teams went goal for goal in the third quarter until the Cats pinched a break in time-on.

Goals to Steve Johnson and Jimmy Bartel helped Geelong to a five-point lead at the final break.

Brisbane threatened to make things interesting when young forward Mitch Clark kicked his third goal early in the final term to level the scores.

But goals in quick succession to Johnson and Paul Chapman gave the Cats some breathing space, before a running goal at the 20-minute mark to Andrew Mackie opened up an unassailable 20-point gap.

Geelong were best served by midfielders Bartel and James Kelly, with Bartel growing in importance and prominence as the match went on to finish with 27 touches and two goals despite receiving a bad cut to his head in the third quarter.

Cats defender Matthew Scarlett was also important, limiting in-form Lions forward Daniel Bradshaw to one goal.

Brisbane had plenty of heroes of their own, with Brennan spectacular at times and underrated defender Joel Patfull outstanding on the dangerous Mooney.

Geelong coach Mark Thompson lamented his side's first quarter as "terrible", but was pleased with how his side bounced back.

"I liked the fact we reset our goals and to play that sort of footy for the last three quarters was a real positive in our eyes," Thompson said.

Matthews said he was proud of his understrength side's efforts in matching the premiers.

"When so much of your leadership isn't there, it's easy to emotionally give it away. This team's got a belief that if it does the right things it's capable of competing against anybody.

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