K rock Football

Cats cough up four points

Geelong veteran Shaun Higgins won plenty of the ball in the Cats’ loss to Richmond. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

GEELONG has missed a chance to climb back into the VFL top-eight after surrendering a 27-point three-quarter time lead to Richmond at GMHBA Stadium.

The Cats appeared set to claim their seventh win before the Tigers stormed home with an eight-goal to one final term to claim a 16.7 (103) to 13.11 (89) victory.

“We thought we had the game under control and knew what they were going to do,” coach Shane O’Bree said.

“That was keep the ball off us, use the shorts, go through the middle, and go quick when they can.

“To the Tigers’ credit, they did that a couple of times, and they got a couple of centre bounce breaks, and a couple of free-kicks against us.

“You only need three or four goals in a row and the momentum shifts, and a bit of panic sets in, and you can’t get it back.

“All the stats, and the way we played for three quarters, we should have put them away.”

Geelong’s team featured 11 AFL-listed players, with midfielders Cooper Stephens and Quinton Narkle gathering 28 and 24 disposals, respectively.

In his first game since Round 7 of the AFL season and first VFL game for the Cats, Shaun Higgins collected 21 possessions.

Francis Evans, Shannon Neale and Esava Ratugolea each kicked two goals.

“I thought our midfield group was solid on the day,” O’Bree said.

“The contested ball, the clearance numbers, and our effectiveness going forward, I thought those boys led the way.

“Cooper, Higgo, Narkle and Jye Chalcraft as a midfield group, I thought they did a really good job.”

The loss – Geelong’s second-straight since the bye – leaves the Cats in 13th position, two points outside of the top eight ahead of a trip around the Bay to Frankston for a meeting with Dolphins on Saturday night.

“Before the last bye, we were in a pretty good spot, and we knew this block of five games was going to be challenging because we’re playing a lot of teams in the top eight or fighting for a similar spot,” O’Bree said.

“The three quarters of footy that we did play really well was exciting footy, and we know we’re good enough.

“So, we’ll keep chipping away, keep working hard, and it’ll turn.”

Twitter: @tom_king79