K rock Football

Cats overcome slow start to tame Lions

GEELONG has recorded its most impressive win of the AFL season, overcoming early injuries to Mitch Duncan and Quinton Narkle to come from behind and beat Brisbane by 27 points at the SCG.

Hamstrung duo Duncan and Narkle failed to return to the field after quarter- time, while the Lions looked set to capitalise on that advantage and run away with the game after cruising to a 22-point lead in Thursday night’s second term.

But the Cats’ prime-movers Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Ablett ignited an epic comeback and the Cats booted nine goals in a row to triumph 11.7 (73) to 6.10 (46).

Lions hard nut Mitch Robinson hurt his thigh in the third term and took no further part in the contest, while teammates Cameron Rayner (leg) and Hugh McCluggage (shoulder) played on after painful knocks.

The turnaround was nothing short of remarkable and the bulk of the damage came in the premiership quarter, when Geelong won the clearances 14-6 and kicked 7.3 to 0.1.

The Cats’ productive third term represents the highest score from any side in any quarter this stop-start season, coming a fortnight after the same team managed seven goals in a scrappy win over Melbourne.

The entertaining burst suggests the game is not in the sorry state which many believe.

The stirring comeback should also ensure Chris Scott’s team are billed as genuine premiership contenders when they head west for a clash with Collingwood in Perth, having clambered over the Lions and into second spot on the ladder.

Former Sydney star Gary Rohan, playing at his former stomping ground for the first time since being traded in 2018 to Geelong, booted two goals during the third quarter and was one of many Cats who helped to wrestle momentum back late in the opening half.

Powerhouse forward Tom Hawkins, whose duel with Harris Andrews was always going to be pivotal, started to get the better of the young gun after halftime.

Hawkins finished with three goals, including a gift when Lions defender Brandon Starcevich turned the ball over straight to him, and helped to set up many others.

Jed Bews enjoyed some crucial one-on-one victories over Charlie Cameron, who had tormented the Cats in recent clashes, while Mark Blicavs also stood up in defence for the ‘home’ team.

Dangerfield (26 disposals and eight clearances) was the leading contender for best-on-ground honours but underrated midfielder Sam Menegola, whose hurried shot started the Cats’ run of nine-consecutive goals, and recalled Sam Simpson were also influential.

There was a weird feeling about the game from the moment both teams, uprooted to Sydney as the league attempted to beat a path through COVID-19 restrictions, ran out to an SCG lit up in blue and white.

From the outset, it was on, as you would expect from two top-four sides, and Rohan set the tone with two bruising first-quarter collisions, likely to be scrutinised by the match review officer.

Rohan was reported after clattering Starcevich in a marking contest, while he nailed Ryan Lester with a high bump.

(C) AAP 2020

GEELONG 1.4 3.4 10.7 11.7 (73)

BRISBANE LIONS 1.6 4.8 4.9 6.10 (46)

Goals: Geelong: T Hawkins 3 G Ablett 2 G Rohan 2 S Menegola 2 B Parfitt E Ratugolea. Brisbane Lions: C Rayner 2 C Cameron E Hipwood H McCluggage L Neale.

Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Craig Fleer, Leigh Fisher, John Howorth.

Official Crowd: 1,311 at SCG.