Cats Try To Claw Back Form

Source: Hearald Sun/heraldsun.com.au
Joel Selwood has been his usual inspirational self for Geelong this season. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last Five Matches

Elimination Final, 2012 – Fremantle 96 d Geelong 80 at MCG
Round 1, 2012 – Fremantle 105 d Geelong 101 at Patersons Stadium
Round 2, 2011 – Geelong 89 d Fremantle 78 at Patersons Stadium
Semi Final, 2010 – Geelong 135 d Fremantle 66 at MCG
Round 3, 2010 – Fremantle 125 d Geelong 118 at Patersons Stadium


Form

     Rd 9       Rd 10       Rd 11       Rd 12       Rd 13   
Geelong    W  W  W  B  L
Fremantle    W  W  B  W  W

Geelong seemed to be going on its merry way after coming off the bye when it was 52 points up against Brisbane midway through the third quarter. It was nothing short of remarkable to see the previously hapless Lions produce a withering comeback kicking eight goals in the final term to triumph by five points . As much as the home side’s better players started getting their hands on the ball more, Geelong’s effort also reeked of a side which spent a bit too much time relaxing down on the Gold Coast leading in to the game.

The mid-season holiday is well and truly over now with Fremantle on the horizon. The Dockers have allowed just 174 points, or an average of 43 per game, over their last four starts. Even the previously free-scoring Kangaroos were held to a gobsmacking four goals for the game last Sunday. It’s not pretty football, but you can be sure Ross Lyon really doesn’t care.

Freo’s hopes of repeating their upset in last season’s elimination final have increased greatly with the suspension of Cats star Steve Johnson for two weeks. Former Gold Coast Sun Josh Caddy comes in as a direct swap. You can probably expect more suspensions to come out of this game given the number of players reported in contests of late between these teams.


Key Men

(Cats) Joel Selwood – With Steve Johnson rubbed out for a fortnight, a lot of the creativity and spark goes out of Geelong’s midfield. It also means opposition teams can focus even more on Joel Selwood . He put in his usual hard-working effort in the loss to the Lions finishing with 31 touches, and he has been by far the best ball-winner in recent times when these teams have met, averaging the same number of disposals over the past three games. If only you could get suspended for pinching, then Selwood may not have had to worry about Ryan Crowley paying him any attention on Saturday.

(Dockers) Luke McPharlin – You’ve got to love it when the best players in their respective positions go at each other and that’s what you’ve arguably got with last year’s All-Australian fullback Luke McPharlin going head-to-head with Tom Hawkins , who was picked at full forward in the same squad. McPharlin is rarely beaten one-on-one and he has the ability to find his own ball, as well, as evidenced by the 24 possessions and 13 marks he picked up against North last weekend. Hawkins was kept goalless in the finals clash last year, and the Dockers will go a long way towards winning if they can repeat that effort.


Prediction

Fremantle won both matches against Geelong last year, and only a fool would suggest they haven’t improved even further this year in Ross Lyon’s second year at the helm. Up until the latter stages of the third quarter against Brisbane last week, you could say the same about Geelong, but there must now be massive question marks over Chris Scott’s side. The Cats struggled to down the Suns and Giants in consecutive weeks, then inexplicably collapsed against Brisbane. The only other time they have come off a loss this year, the Cats destroyed Port in Adelaide the next week. Expect them to bounce back in front of the Geelong faithful. Geelong by 12 points .

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