K rock Football

Confidence booster for Cats

Geelong celebrates its final round win over Essendon. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

HARD-working midfielder James Parsons continued his strong run of form as Geelong tuned up for its VFL finals campaign with an impressive 41-point win over Essendon at GMHBA Stadium.

There were seven lead changes during the first half, and the Cats led by just nine points at the main break but kicked five goals to one after half-time to register a fifth win from their past six matches.

Small forward Jackson McLachlan kicked three majors and was at the top of a list of nine goalkickers in a good spread for Geelong in the 13.16 (94) to 8.5 (53) victory.

“Today was a real grind, but I think the boys finished their work off a bit better than last week and the scoreboard probably reflected that,” Geelong coach Shane O’Bree said.

“The last few weeks we’ve played against quality opposition and I thought we should’ve won the Williamstown game, but it was more our ball use than anything.

“Today we made inroads on what we wanted to work on from last week.”

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Parsons was at the forefront of the Cats’ dominance around the contest, kicking two goals from 31 disposals, as fellow AFL-listed ball-winners Charlie Constable (29 possessions), Scott Selwood (29) and Sam Menegola (24) shared the workload.

“That midfield group is a very good VFL midfield group,” O’Bree said.

“All of them probably deserve an opportunity at AFL level, but it hasn’t happened for them.

“Parso has been in good form all year with his ability around the contest and to break out of the contest.

“He hits the scoreboard and has a connection with the ruckmen. All those boys were pretty good today, but particularly Parso.”

Ruckmen Ryan Abbott and Zac Smith did well against Essendon, as did tall forward Darcy Fort (two goals) and co-captain Aaron Black in defence.

The win meant Geelong finished the home-and-away season in sixth spot on the ladder.

The Cats are now eyeing a shot at premiership glory ahead of an elimination final showdown with Port Melbourne.

“We’re pretty confident with where we’re at,” O’Bree said.

“Playing Port Melbourne at Port Melbourne in the first round of the finals is always a difficult challenge, but I think we’ve prepared well and we’ve played the right teams going into a finals campaign.

“It will be a good test, but I’m pretty confident with the team we’ve got.”

Twitter: @shayne_hope

GEELONG  3.1, 8.5, 10.12, 13.16 (94)

ESSENDON  3.0, 7.2, 7.5, 8.5 (53)

Goals; Geelong: J. McLachlan 3, D. Fort 2, J. Parsons 2, N. Kreuger, J. Jones, J. Tarca, J. Kennerley, W. Buzza, S. Menegola

Essendon: M. Day 2, J. Ridley, D. Landt, T. Smith, D. Myers, A. Heppell, M. Baguley

Best; Geelong: J. Parsons, S. Menegola, S. Selwood, A. Black, D. Fort, Z. Smith

Essendon: J. Ridley, A. Heppell, D. Landt, D. Myers, B. McNiece, J. Long