Cats start slowly before blowing away Tigers

Cats start slowly before blowing away Tigers

GEELONG has tightened its iron grip on top spot on the AFL ladder, Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Ablett starring in a 67-point smashing of Richmond at the MCG.

The Tigers scored the first two goals of Friday night’s clash to lead by 11 points at quarter-time, but in a stunning blitz the Cats slammed through the next 11 majors to storm to a 16.8 (104) to 5.7 (37) win.

The AFL’s score review system was in the spotlight again with the Tigers’ Jack Higgins appearing to be robbed of a clear goal in the third instance of review confusion in two weeks.

The goal would have stopped a run of five unanswered majors to Geelong in the second quarter but it mattered little in the final wash-up.

Ablett was loudly booed by the Richmond home crowd early in the match, but with many Tigers fans departing the stadium early, the remaining Cats fans cheered every time he touched the ball in an impressive 24-disposal, two-goal display.

Dangerfield’s class stood out, the Brownlow Medal winner finishing with 38 possessions and a goal, with Mitch Duncan (34) and Tim Kelly (32) also in the thick of the action as the Cats’ midfield sliced through their opposition after the first break.

Tom Hawkins was the leading goal kicker on the ground with four, with Gryan Miers also impressive with three.

Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin (23 touches) and Dustin Martin (26 and a goal) led the charge as they pressured Geelong into early mistakes, leading the tackle count 32-14 at quarter-time.

Martin and debutant Patrick Naish booted goals as the Cats failed to kick a major in a quarter for the first time this season.

But Geelong flipped the game on its head.

Chris Scott’s men led by 30 points at halftime and stretched that advantage to 57 before Tom Lynch scored his only goal of the night.

But it was his side’s only major in an eight-goals-to-one term, the Cats leading by 74 points before easing to the finish line.

Geelong were two games clear of second-placed GWS heading into round 12 and improved to 11-1 with the result, while Richmond slipped to a 7-5 record.

Both sides finished with injury concerns, the Cats’ Esava Ratugolea out with a hamstring issue in the third quarter and Richmond’s Nick Vlastuin out with a rib problem.

Geelong will next enjoy their bye round, while the Tigers must back up for a clash with the Crows at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night.

© AAP 2019

GEELONG 0.2 7.4 15.8 16.8 (104)

RICHMOND 2.1 2.4 3.6 5.7 (37)

Goals: Geelong: T Hawkins 4 G Miers 3 E Ratugolea 2 G Ablett 2 G Rohan M Duncan P Dangerfield R Stanley T Kelly. Richmond: D Butler D Martin J Castagna P Naish T Lynch.

Official Crowd: 65,214 at MCG.