Steven Motlop is looking to build on his breakout season last year. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Michael Dodge
Last Five Meetings
Round 11, 2012 – Geelong Cats 97 d Carlton Blues 85
Round 9, 2011 – Geelong Cats 102 d Carlton Blues 100
Round 21, 2010 – Geelong Cats 121 d Carlton Blues 79
Round 5, 2010 – Carlton Blues 104 d Geelong Cats 68
Round 19, 2009 – Carlton Blues 97 d Geelong Cats 62
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The Cats have certainly cut it fine the past couple of weeks. After running down the Hawks in their opening match of the season, Geelong gave North Melbourne a 41-point head start before finally clicking in to gear and stealing a four-point win. When they put a four-quarter performance together it will be scary, but in both matches so far they’ve been down by three goals at the first break , so it will do Chris Scott’s stress levels no end of good if they start far better this week.
Even with two kids – Levi Casboult and debutant Sam Rowe – playing as key forwards, Carlton managed to go blow for blow with its great rival Collingwood last Sunday for three quarters. The ‘Pies showed their resilience kicking seven goals in the final term to get home by 17 points , but there were some promising signs for the Blues. Much like Geelong, Carlton still needs to find a way to play consistent footy over an entire game.
The Cats get the super-skilled Steve Johnson back, as well as athletic young half-forward Jordan Murdoch, although tough midfielder James Kelly is out with a calf injury. For the Blues, Heath Scotland returns from a two-game club-imposed suspension, while Shaun Hampton adds some size up forward and in the ruck at the expense of Casboult.
(Cats) Steven Motlop – Tom Hawkins has been well held by Michael Jamison when these teams have lined up, with the ‘Tomahawk’ kicking just four goals in his past five matches against the Blues. Luckily for Geelong its small forwards have picked up the slack, with Steven Motlop and Travis Varcoe making big contributions in the last two clashes. Motlop kicked a couple against North, and his pace and skill are likely to give Carlton’s sluggish backline plenty of problems.
(Blues) Jeff Garlett – Carlton’s small forwards kept the scoreboard ticking over against the Magpies as Jeff Garlett and Chris Yarran bagged three goals apiece. With Eddie Betts out for a couple more weeks with a jaw injury, Garlett will be crucial if the Blues are to kick a winning score. His pressure inside the forward 50 is outstanding and he blanketed Collingwood with eight tackles last weekend.
Considering the Cats have dominated most teams in the competition the past few years, Carlton has a relatively good record against them. Even though Geelong has won the last three, just two points separated the teams in 2011 and last year’s victory was by two goals . It will be tough to bounce back from the deflating loss to Collingwood while Geelong must feel as though it can win from any situation at the moment. Cats by 19 points
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