Cats overcome late outs to see off Crows

March 22, 2024 10:55 pm in by
Geelong celebrates a Gryan Miers goal in the 19-point win over Adelaide. (James Elsby/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Geelong’s attacking ace Tom Hawkins has kicked four goals and produced a game-busting burst in a spirited 19-point away win over Adelaide.

Hawkins slotted three goals in a dozen minutes after the Crows briefly hit the front in the third quarter of Geelong’s 14.12 (96) to 11.11 (77) victory at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

The 35-year-old’s match-turning feats were decisive in Geelong banking consecutive wins to open their season.

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Adelaide now has two losses ahead of a testing trip to Fremantle next weekend.

Hawkins, in his 349th AFL game, was dominant while Tom Stewart (28 disposals, 11 marks) was superb in his 150th.

Gryan Miers was another stand-out with three goals and 26 possessions, Jeremy Cameron kicked two goals, skipper Patrick Dangerfield collected 23 disposals against his former club and Max Holmes (24 touches) was creative from halfback.

Adelaide’s Darcy Fogarty, Izak Rankine, Taylor Walker and Chris Burgess kicked two goals apiece.

Midfielder Matt Crouch gathered a match-high 38 disposals, and Rory Laird (29 touches) was also busy, but the Crows were always playing catch-up after being jumped by Geelong in the opening quarter.

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The Cats swung two late changes with influential duo Mitch Duncan (family reasons) and Tom Atkins (undisclosed injury) absent.

But after Adelaide’s Jake Soligo kicked the first goal of the game, the visitors kicked four consecutive goals, including two from Miers.

That scoring spurt created a match-high 26-point lead late in the quarter, and the Cats held a handy 6.3 to 3.2 quarter-time advantage.

The tide turned in general play, but only slightly on the scoreboard, as Adelaide logged a whopping 24 inside 50s but could only muster 2.3 for the second term.

Geelong led 7.5 to 5.5 at halftime, but the advantage rapidly disappeared in the third quarter as Adelaide’s Fogarty snapped one goal and helped create another for Walker to tie the scores.

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And when Rankine snapped accurately 10 minutes into the term, the Crows held a one-point lead.

Enter Hawkins: the big Cat snared three of four Geelong goals in a game-turning 12 minutes.

Hawkins’ spree was punctuated by a ground invader who ran into contested play.

Once discovered, Adelaide’s Matt Crouch grabbed him, the culprit escaped and tried to flee, only to be literally collared and brought to ground by Crow Ben Keays.

Hawkins soon logged his fourth goal and his team led by four goals at three quarter-time, 12.7 to 8.7.

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The 44,758-strong pro-Crows crowd sniffed a comeback when an early Walker goal was followed by another from ruckman Reilly O’Brien to leave the hosts 16 points down with seven minutes left.

But misses from Fogarty – who from 10 metres out slammed the ball into a goal post – and Walker followed before Miers and Brad Close iced the win with goals in the last 90 seconds.

(C) AAP 2024