Danger hamstrung as Cats fight off Blues charge

April 27, 2024 8:10 pm in by
Geelong captain Patrick Dangerfield flies for mark early in the win over Carlton. (Marcel Berens/Sports Media)

Star forward Jeremy Cameron kicked five goals as Geelong held off a fast-finishing Carlton to extend their unbeaten start to the AFL season with a pulsating 13-point win at the MCG.

But the Cats lost captain Patrick Dangerfield to a suspected hamstring injury in their 18.10 (118) to 15.15 (105) victory in front of 87,775 fans on Saturday night.

Dangerfield (16 disposals, one goal) was explosive out of the middle before he was forced off early in the third quarter as Geelong (7-0) went a game clear on top of the ladder.

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It was Dangerfield’s second game back after he sustained a separate hamstring injury in round two.

The injury-ravaged Blues (5-2) were strong in the contest, but slipped to their second defeat of the season.

Carlton trailed by 33 points midway through the final term but rallied with four goals in time-on to trim the margin to eight points, before Cameron shut the gate with his fifth major from a set shot.

Cameron was well supported in attack by Zach Tuohy and Ollie Henry, who kicked three goals each, while fellow tall Tom Hawkins was well held by Jacob Weitering.

Max Holmes (26 disposals), Mitch Duncan (24) and Gryan Miers (22) were all busy for Geelong, and Cam Guthrie (27) was influential in his long-awaited return from injury.

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Carlton ruckman Marc Pittonet continued his strong form with 19 disposals, 28 hit-outs and a career-high 11 clearances, while midfield stars Patrick Cripps (29 touches, two goals) and Sam Walsh (31 disposals) fought hard.

There was a pre-match blow for the Blues when goal-sneak Orazio Fantasia withdrew because of illness, paving the way for 19-year-old speedster Jaxon Binns to debut as the substitute.

Guthrie marked his comeback with an early hanger over Matthew Cottrell and Geelong led the wasteful Blues 5.2 to 2.8 at the first break, despite Pittonet’s dominance in the middle.

Cameron reached the 600-goal milestone with his second of the night when he accepted an expert Hawkins hit-out from a boundary throw-in and snapped truly, contributing to the Cats’ 19-point lead at halftime.

Dangerfield’s injury was a huge blow, but Geelong were still 11 points clear at the final change after Henry booted a controversial goal when his off-the-ball hold on Zac Williams went unnoticed by the umpires.

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The Blues registered the first three scores of the last quarter, but they were all behinds, and Tuohy punished his former club with his third major on a fast break.

It was the first of four straight Cats goals that looked to have put the game beyond Carlton’s reach.

But Geelong had to withstand one final surge, and Cameron stood up when needed in the dying stages.

(C) AAP 2024