Geelong was embarrassed last week by the team they defeated in last year’s Grand Final, but they responded well to kick off Round 17, thrashing the Bombers 20.14(134)-10.7(67).
The win was more than just a positive sign for the Cats, they’ve been up and down all throughout 2012, but it was the performances of the role players, not often seen when things aren’t going well for the Geelong stars, that paved the way on Friday night.
Jimmy Bartel was out completing the second and final week of his suspension, Stevie Johnson was subbed out after a red hot first half with a groin injury and Joel Selwood was unusually quiet.
But the out of form and role playing guys decided to silence Geelong’s detractors. Tom Hawkin’s looked dangerous as the big, dominant forward target and kicked five goals. Billie Smedts, a defining game for the second year player, showed some commendable courage and kicked three second half goals. Harry Taylor was threatening all night, going forward and kicking two goals while racking up 19 possessions at 89% disposal efficiency and Tom Lonergan played a nice role down back.
The Cats dominated from the onset, kicking the first four goals before Essendon sprung to life with the next two in the final five minutes of the quarter.
In the second, both teams traded goals, but when Hawkins found himself on the end of a third straight Geelong free moving up the right wing, his goal turned the favour of the match for good. The Cats, deep in defence, used the middle corridor to perfection which resulted in a Motlop goal before Duncan buried another after the half-time siren.
Hawkins booted a quick one after the major break and Chapman was gifted a second when second gamer Mark Baguley committed a shocking turnover in the back 50. A brief stretch saw ruckman Tom Bellchambers kick two goals in a minute, Essendon’s first goals in over a quarter of action, but the game was already over.
An 11 goal second half propelled the former giants to a crushing defeat of a team one place ahead on the premiership ladder.
Tough follow up games for teams in Round 18; Geelong takes on Adelaide while Essendon get the Hawks in another Friday night matchup.