K rock Football

Big men solid in Cats VFL win

Wylie Buzza stretches for a mark in Geelong’s VFL practice match against Collingwood. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

GEELONG’s pre-season was given a solid boost on Friday afternoon, triumphing over Collingwood in a VFL practice match at Olympic Park.

In what was a scrappy contest, it was the Cats who rose to another level in the final quarter, outlasting the home side by 17 points, 10.11 (71) to 7.12 (54)

Geelong was the cleaner of the two teams, an area which coach Shane O’Bree believed grew better as the game went on.

“We couldn’t get the ball centre forward enough, but when we did all game we scored,” he said.

“In the second last quarter, we won the centre bounces, had more stoppages, got it in our forward 50 and scored.”

Mature-age recruit Darcy Fort continued to push for an AFL debut and was at his most effective down forward, finishing with three goals while also rotating through the ruck alongside Zac Smith and Wylie Buzza.

“Forty was really good. He competed well, followed up well, took some marks and got some goals,” O’Bree said.

Geelong was energetic early in the contested clash, but it was Collingwood who had the majority of the play across the second quarter, with AFL youngster Ben Crocker among their best.

However, the Pies were wasteful in front. This was highlighted when they had three repeat attempts on goal within minutes before Campbell Hustwaite proved broke through.

Fringe Cats Jordan Cunico and Quinton Narkle continued to set the scene around the contest, and before long the Cats worked themselves back into the match with goals to Smith and Fort giving them the edge by half time.

O’Bree’s side continued to link up better in the second half and looked cooler in crucial moments, though the Pies continued to threaten with a number of goals to keep them in reach of the lead.

But it was the final quarter where Geelong put it all together. With thunder and lightning looming over the precinct, Fort converted a snap early in the term to give his side a buffer, before the Cats rolled over the Pies with a further three goals to seal the match.

Lachie Henderson was solid in defence for Geelong, with the 29-year-old leading a young backline featuring Jamaine Jones, Zach Guthrie and Irish recruit Stefan Okunbor.

Jones, in particular, was dynamic as a rebounding defender.

“Jamaine’s only had a post-Christmas go at playing at a defender, and he just looks more confident as a defender,” O’Bree said.

“We know he can play forward; he’s played AFL as a high-forward, so it’s good for him to have that flexibility.”

Geelong will play one final practice match before the start of the VFL season, facing Casey Demons at Avalon Airport Oval next Saturday morning.

Twitter: @tom_king79

GEELONG                 2.3       4.3       7.6       10.11   (71)

COLLINGWOOD       1.1       2.7       6.9       7.12     (54)

Goals: Geelong: Fort 3, Capiron 2, Narkle, Smith, Guthrie, Brownless, Buzza

Collingwood: Cameron 2, Daicos, Hustwaite, Bosenavulagi, Goldsack, Wellings