Cats Shoot For Top Spot

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Steve Johnson returns to the in-form Cats side this weekend. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Round 6, 2012 - Geelong 119 d Melbourne 76 at Skilled Stadium
Round 19, 2011 – Geelong 233 d Melbourne 47 at Skilled Stadium
Round 10, 2010 – Geelong 121 d Melbourne 67 at Skilled Stadium
Round 16, 2009 – Geelong 117 d Melbourne 71 at Skilled Stadium
Round 6, 2009 – Geelong 111 d Melbourne 68 at MCG


Form

  Rd 11    Rd 12    Rd 13    Rd 14    Rd 15 
Geelong

W

B

L

W

W

Melbourne

L

B

L

W

L


Geelong could scarcely have been more impressive in disposing of Hawthorn last weekend. The Cats dominated the middle, stifled the Hawks’ forwards, and the club’s kittens stepped up when it mattered most. After holding Fremantle to just 44 points the previous week, the Cats held the Hawks to just four goals at the final break before Hawthorn surged in the fourth term. A return of 1.13 in the second and third terms was horrible on the scoreboard, but the team’s ability to hold the free-flowing Hawks in check meant the Cats got the chocolates for the 11th straight time against the premiership front-runner.

After three games with Neil Craig, Melbourne doesn’t quite have its mojo back (you could argue it never had mojo to lose in the first place), but the Demons are certainly playing a better brand of football than they were the first three months of the season. Importantly against the Swans, they prevented a blowout by putting in a four-quarter effort, which kept the margin to 31 points .

As if the Demons’ challenge wasn’t great enough, mecurial Geelong champion Steve Johnson returns, as does pacy Travis Varcoe after three months out with a shoulder injury. Joel Corey will miss this week after he was concussed late against the Hawks, while Corey Enright (foot) and Allen Christiansen (hamstring) are both out of the squad.


Key Men

(Cats) Jordan Murdoch – Geelong has plenty of forwards and midfielders who hit the scoresheet on a regular basis, and they can add another one following Saturday night thanks to the performance of youngster Jordan Murdoch. After spending most of his time in the backline last season, the speedster showed he probably belongs up forward after his three-goal effort against the Hawks. He showed plenty of composure in front of goal in the final term, and matches like this against the Dees should give him an opportunity to cement his spot in the senior side leading in to the finals.

(Demons) Dean Terlich – He didn’t move in to the backline until his final season in the SANFL last year, but Dean Terlich has proved to be one of the Demons’ few shrewd recruiting moves in the past few years. Considering Melbourne’s defence has been under the pump in just about every game this year, he has showed plenty of composure at times, and has a knack for finding the ball, too. He has averaged 26 touches and eight marks since Neil Craig took over, and he was close to his team’s best in each of those games.


Prediction

No doubt the Demons have improved the past three weeks, but this is the real litmus test. Geelong was simply superb against Hawthorn and if the Cats go anywhere near full throttle, it will be a long day for Neil Craig’s side. In saying that, Geelong has allowed the Suns and Giants to be in touch at three-quarter time in matches this season, while they let Brisbane somehow come back from 52 points down to win by five at the ‘Gabba late last month. Surely that won’t happen here, but if Melbourne shows the same level of endeavour it has of late, it may not be and out and out massacre. Geelong by 65 points .

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