K rock Football

Cats tune-up for finals with big win over Blues

BIG guns Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Ablett have tuned up for the AFL finals in style as Geelong locked in a guaranteed top-two finish with a commanding 68-point win over Carlton at GMHBA Stadium.

Dangerfield booted a game-high four goals to go with 34 possessions, Ablett had three goals and 28 disposals and youngster Quinton Narkle (27 possessions) was almost as good as the headline duo as the Cats won 19.15 (129) to 8. 13 (61).

Despite heavy rain falling for much of Saturday’s match, Geelong’s winning score was their biggest since they kicked 21.7 (133) in a 44-point win over the Western Bulldogs back in nine.

The Cats will claim the minor premiership if Richmond beat Brisbane on Sunday.

If the Lions win the MCG clash, the Cats will slip to second spot.

Recalled ruckman Rhys Stanley gave the home side the best possible start on Saturday, directing the opening centre bounce of the match straight to Dangerfield who goaled from long range with only 11 seconds on the clock.

Dangerfield dominated the opening quarter as the Cats took a 25-point lead into the first change.

The only downside for the Cats came when midfielder Mitch Duncan damaged his left shoulder in a heavy tackle, although he returned to the fray after having the joint strapped up.

The rain started falling during the quarter-time break, but if anything it only exacerbated the gulf in class between the two teams.

The Cats continued to dominate, booting seven successive goals before Patrick Cripps and Marc Murphy kicked successive majors at the other end to temporarily stem the bleeding.

But it only served to sting the Cats back into action as they kicked the last three goals of the quarter including one to Zach Tuohy after the halftime siren which pushed the margin out to 51 points.

Carlton was much more competitive in the second half, winning the third term by 10 points, although the Cats regained supremacy in the last term.

Carlton was best served by co-captain Cripps, who had a game-high 35 possessions, while he received good support from Rising Star favourite Sam Walsh and Murphy.

Blues onballer Ed Curnow went off in the third quarter with an Achilles injury and did not return.

Despite the heavy loss, the 17th-placed Blues clearly improved in the second half of the season under David Teague, winning six of their final 11 games, compared to a sorry 1-10 record under his sacked predecessor Brendon Bolton.

© AAP 2019

GEELONG 5.4 12.5 14.6 19.15 (129)

CARLTON 1.3 3.8 6.13 8.13 (61)

Goals: Geelong: P Dangerfield 4 G Ablett 3 L Dahlhaus 3 Z Tuohy 2 C Guthrie E Ratugolea G Miers M Duncan Q Narkle R Stanley T Kelly. Carlton: H McKay J Deluca L O’Brien M Kennedy M Murphy P Cripps S Walsh Z Fisher.

Umpires: Shaun Ryan, Shane McInerney, Andrew Mitchell.

Official Crowd: 31,699 at GMHBA Stadium.