Geelong despatch another challenger - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Geelong despatch another challenger

By Adam Cooper 24/08/2008 06:24:22 PM Comments (0)

The winning coach wasn't satisfied and the loser wasn't despondent.

Geelong's comfortable, 33-point victory over North Melbourne at Skilled Stadium failed to reach the heights a first-versus-fourth clash promised, and left both with a bit each way before a likely qualifying final in a fortnight.

The Cats despatched another would-be challenger on cruise control for most of the day, apart from seven goals in the second term.

Geelong's 17.13 (115) to 13.4 (82) win was their 12th in succession, 20th from 21 games this campaign and 39th from 41 games since North won at Skilled in round five, 2007.

But North will get another shot at the Cats in the first week of the finals provided they can beat lowly Port Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday.

North coach Dean Laidley made it clear he would not read too much into the result as, apart from Hale, few Kangaroos played at their peak, although they did match Geelong's efficiency in attack when they got the ball forward.

Laidley refused to discuss the prospect of another qualifying final against Geelong - following last year's embarrassing 106-point loss - by putting the focus on beating the Power.

"I'm not going to be a smarty-pants, but we've got to get over Port Adelaide," he said.

"There were lots of good efforts, there's still some improvement in us because of the talent we've brought into the side.

"We missed Matty (Campbell) today and there were some really good performances, but also there were some performances that weren't up to the standard required."

For most of the game Geelong were in control, but they were guilty of over-using the ball, poor field kicking and an inability to stop Hale, both by Harry Taylor and then Matthew Scarlett.

"It wasn't our best game of footy, it wasn't our worst, it was a workmanlike effort against a pretty good team and a pretty good result," said Cats coach Mark Thompson.

"It was just a quiet, dull day.

"I thought North Melbourne were pretty good, pretty honest, they turned up and they played (but) we just seemed to have their measure for all of the day."

Geelong's Paul Chapman and Cameron Mooney both kicked four goals, while 200-gamer Brad Ottens rucked well and booted three.

In a side that amassed almost 100 more disposals, Geelong's Jimmy Bartel and Joel Corey had field days with 37 each, while tagger Cameron Ling did a great job shutting out North star Brent Harvey.

Ling collected 29 disposals and kicked two goals and kept the Brownlow Medal favourite to 22 touches.

Geelong's Max Rooke is likely to be scrutinised by the match review panel for his heavy bump on Sam Power in the second term, which resulted in the North player being assisted from the ground.

Geelong's win was their fourth over a finalist from the past six games, after victories over the Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn and Sydney in just over a month.

While the Hawks and Bulldogs have endured flat patches after they secured the double chance, Geelong have maintained winning form throughout.

Thompson was keen for his side to keep that going in the final round, even against struggling West Coast.

"I know they haven't got much of a team, but we want to give them the hardest day they've ever had in their lives," he said.

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