K rock Football

Cats outclassed by Borough

Ryan Abbott contest a bounce against Khan Haretuku in Geelong’s VFL elimination final loss to Port Melbourne. (Geelong Cats Image)

GEELONG was dumped from the VFL premiership race with a 40-point thumping from Port Melbourne in Saturday’s elimination final at Adcon Stadium.

AFL-listed young gun Jordan Clark re-injured his troublesome left elbow, and defender Ben Jarvis was reported for rough conduct as the Cats bowed out with a 12.15 (87) to 7.5 (47) defeat.

It was an abrupt end to the season for Shane O’Bree’s side, which had produced a strong run of form in the second half of the year.

“We were clearly beaten around the contest, and Port Melbourne were just too good,” O’Bree said.

“We fumbled, and when we tackled them, they still had the ability to get the ball to their teammates and go forward from there.

“They were way better than us, and it was a really good lesson for our group.”

Geelong went into the match confident of advancing to the semifinals after comfortably beating Port Melbourne on the same ground earlier this month, but the Borough came to play in a high-intensity finals contest.

Charlie Constable (35 disposals), Sam Menegola (27) and Sam Simpson (25) all found plenty of the ball. However, the Cats’ midfield unit was outmuscled.

Simpson and Constable were two of Geelong’s best, with ruckman Ryan Abbott and defender Lachie Henderson also strong performers.

Key forward Wylie Buzza was the Cats’ only multiple goalkicker with two.

Port led by just seven points at the main break despite having more than double Geelong’s amount of scoring shots.

The weight of numbers eventually told as the Borough kicked eight goals to three after half-time, powered by strong displays from Eli Templeton (25 disposals) and Tom O’Sullivan (24).

They kicked two goals each, as did Jordan Lisle and Matthew Signorello.

Cats AFL regular Clark returned from an elbow injury but hurt the joint again late in the first quarter and required treatment.

He moved to an unfamiliar role deep in attack for the third quarter before sitting out the last.

“He got a knock early … I don’t know how bad it is,” Cats VFL coach Shane O’Bree said.

“He wasn’t right to keep playing, so we didn’t play him (in the last quarter).”

Tempers flared midway through the final term when Jarvis flattened Blake Pearson with a crude bump.

He was reported on the spot, rubbing salt in the Cats’ wounds with the result beyond doubt by that stage.

Pearson stayed down for a few moments but was able to get up to take the resulting free kick.

Despite the finals exit, O’Bree was pleased with his young side’s development across the season.

The Cats lost four of their first five games but dropped just three matches for the rest of the home-and-away season to charge into the top eight.

“I think the majority of our first-year players are more advanced and that probably showed in the way we played,” O’Bree said.

“We played some really good team football and it showed the development of the young guys.

“It complemented a few more of the experienced players that we had, too.”

The loss completed a disappointing day for Geelong, which lost a VFLW elimination final in the curtain-raiser.

Twitter: @shayne_hope 

PORT MELBOURNE  12.15 (87)

GEELONG  7.4 (47)

Goals; Port Melbourne: J. Lisle 2, M. Signorello 2, T. O’Sullivan 2, E. Templeton 2, B. Pearson, I. Conway, H. Johnson, M. Wooffindin

Geelong: W. Buzza 2, J. Clark, O. Brownless, B. Jarvis, D. Fort, L. Fogarty

Best; Port Melbourne: E. Templeton, M. Wenn, E. Phillips, J. Blair, H. Hooper, S. Lange

Geelong: S. Simpson, C. Constable, R. Abbott, W. Buzza, B. Jarvis, L. Henderson