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Cats crack in to stay undefeated

April 20, 2024 10:40 pm in by
Ollie Henry (left) and Jack Bowes celebrate a goal in Geelong's 26-point win over the Brisbane Lions. (Albert Perez/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

Geelong have won the wrestle at a drenched Gabba to record their best season start in 11 years as the Brisbane Lions’ AFL woes deepened.

The Cats’ 9.9 (63) to 4.13 (37) win on Saturday came in relentless, heavy rain, the visitors slow out of the blocks but dominant with five of the six second-half goals.

The grand finalists were unbeaten at the Gabba for the entirety of last season.

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But they are now 0-3 at the venue in this campaign and 2-4 overall, while the Cats (6-0) are clear on top in their best start since 2013.

The Lions kicked the first two goals but missed their chance to turn that dominance into a telling lead, hitting the post three times and managing just two majors after the 13-minute mark.

Jaspa Fletcher will be ruing his decision to play on after Callum Ah Chee had marked at the top of the goal square, striking the upright from point-blank range.

They then gave away three free kicks with poor discipline while chasing the game in the final quarter, the Cats with all the answers.

Both teams had to change plans at halftime, with Lions ruckman Oscar McInerney and Cats defender Tom Stewart both subbed out of the game with concussion from head knocks.

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McInerney’s absence forced Joe Daniher into full-time stoppage duties, Josh Dunkley showing his versatility to pitch in.

Tyson Stengle (two goals) and Jack Bowes (20 disposals) looked comfortable in the wet, as did ever-present Lion Dayne Zorko (27 disposals, two goals), Jarrod Berry (29 disposals) and tough defender Noah Answerth (24 touches).

Geelong big men Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins were each held goalless, but the Cats won anyway.

The Lions had the top-six ball-winners but were unable to handle the Cats’ set-up, the visitors deploying an extra man in defence to stifle Brisbane’s approaches.

Irishman Mark O’Connor’s hard tag on Lachie Neale was aided by the rain, but he also managed to sneak forward and kick a rare goal of his own.

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Brad Close then held his nerve with a set shot to create a match-high seven-point Geelong lead at the final break.

Harris Andrews then conceded a 50-metre penalty, arriving late and slowing Gryan Myers, who fumbled the ball.

Myers then booted the visitors clear in a crucial moment, the Cats kicking two more in quick time to put the result beyond doubt.

(C) AAP 2024

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