Cat attack puts Dogs back in their box - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cat attack puts Dogs back in their box

By Sam Lienert 19/07/2008 07:09:03 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade is thankful the finals are still seven weeks away after reigning AFL premiers Geelong showed just how much his side needs to improve to challenge for the flag.

The Cats emphatically demonstrated they remain the competition's benchmark, with a devastating 14-goal second half carrying them to a 19.17 (131) to 10.10 (70) win at Skilled Stadium.

With top spot on the line, Geelong entered the game seemingly vulnerable, missing injured midfield stars Gary Ablett and Cameron Ling, but instead showcased their depth and talent in all areas.

Reigning Brownlow Medallist Jimmy Bartel and fellow gun midfielder Joel Corey took up the slack, taking control after half-time, while Max Rooke slotted nicely into Ling's tagging role, keeping Adam Cooney relatively quiet.

Veteran defenders Matthew Scarlett and Darren Milburn roamed the backlines to constantly sweep the ball away, with the Cats keeping the Dogs to by far their lowest score of the season.

In attack, key forward Cameron Mooney was outstanding as a lead-up marking target and kicked three goals, while late inclusion Ryan Gamble made the most of his chance with four majors and classy half-forward Steve Johnson snared three.

It continued imperious form from the Cats, who have notched huge wins in their past five games.

Eade said the eight goals to one last quarter was "embarrassing" and acknowledged the Dogs needed to make up a lot of ground.

"I said coming into the game that we'll know where we're at, obviously we know where we're at and there's a fair bit of work to do, but the good thing is there's still seven weeks left," he said.

He said the lop-sided result would dent his side's confidence, but noted Geelong was in top form, while the Dogs had been in a lull.

"The trick for us now is to come out of that bit of downward slump that we've had the last four or five weeks and be able to come again, I've got no doubt we can do that," he said.

While Cats coach Mark Thompson was full of praise for his players, he said there was no point getting carried away.

"There's no one out the back doing handstands, I can tell you," Thompson said.

"We are very much focussed on Hawthorn and our next game and if we happen to meet the Bulldogs again, which is probably likely, we'll use some parts of this game.

"But we won't get total confidence and go in thinking we can't lose, because that's just stupid."

He was delighted with the midfield's response to the absence of Ablett and Ling.

"It's great to win, to beat the second side by so much with Ling and Ablett out, it just goes to show that the structure and our processes are pretty good down here at Geelong," he said.

Meanwhile, Thompson said Ablett might return for Friday night's MCG blockbuster with the Hawks, despite rumours aired on Friday that his ankle injury could sideline him for much longer.

"If it's not next week it will be the week after," he said.

"I was staggered when I heard all the rumours and I was hoping it wasn't true and I'm glad it wasn't."

Bulldogs skipper Brad Johnson injured his ankle early in Saturday's game but Eade said he was not expected to miss any football.

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