K rock Football

Injuries take shine off VFL win

Oscar Brownless embraces Scott Selwood following Geelong’s nine-point VFL win over Casey Demons. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

GEELONG is counting the cost of a gritty nine-point VFL win over Casey on Saturday after losing Zach Guthrie and Nathan Kreuger to suspected serious leg injuries.

The AFL-listed pair had to be carried off the field by trainers before half-time, leaving the Cats two men short in a dour slugfest fought out on a waterlogged playing surface.

Neither side was able to make the most of a strong breeze favouring one end of the ground as Geelong ran out a 5.18 (48) to 5.9 (39) winner, strengthening its hold on a top-eight spot.

AFL star Sam Menegola was in the thick of the action on his return from a knee injury, racking up 26 disposals and 11 tackles in an impressive display.

But the Cats will now nervously await the results of scans on Kreuger and Guthrie over the weekend.

“Both injuries didn’t look the best from the footage,” Geelong coach Shane O’Bree said.

“Did the conditions have something to do with it? I think we’ve definitely got to look into that because it’s pretty bloody wet out there and I don’t think that’s right for AFL boys.”

Athletic 20-year-old Kreuger, who had been used in key positions at both ends of the ground during his first season with Geelong, hurt his left knee late in the first quarter.

Impressive defender Guthrie had been mounting a strong case for AFL selection in recent weeks, but hurt his right ankle during the second term.

O’Bree said the club would raise concerns over the Casey Fields playing surface with VFL officials.

“It got ticked off, but I don’t think they’ve ticked it off properly,” he said.

“We were surprised with how wet the ground was.”

Menegola said the condition of the ground made it hard for AFL-listed players to put into practice elements of the game style that their clubs are trying to implement.

“It makes it hard when the game is not allowed to open up,” he said.

“And I think it probably makes it hard for the VFL to get crowds here because it’s not a great spectacle. I was a little bit disappointed in it.

“I can only speak personally, but I wasn’t worried about my safety. It was just more that it was so soft and so muddy on the whole ground.”

Casey held Geelong scoreless in the opening term and led by 22 points at the first break after winning the toss and kicking with the wind.

But the Cats outscored Casey into the breeze in the third quarter to wrest momentum from the home side and outlasted their opponents in the final term.

Quinton Narkle put Geelong in front for the first time with a clever goal early in the last quarter and finished with two majors in his best display of the season.

Narkle (30 disposals) and Charlie Constable (29) were the Cats’ main drivers in the midfield with Menegola, while ruckman Ryan Abbott cracked the half-century with 50 hit-outs in a dominant ruck display.

Experienced midfielder Scott Selwood had 15 disposals and kicked two goals from the midfield despite playing sore after a heavy hit to the ribs a week earlier.

He received another big knock during the final quarter of a physical affair against Casey and was forced from the field momentarily, but returned to kick the sealer in the dying stages of the match.

“He copped a whack last week and he was a bit tender,” O’Bree said.

“I don’t know whether he got another knock or not, but it was good for him just to push through the game. It was a great effort after last week with how sore he was.

“It was a great goal at the end of the game and his running ability got him into a good spot.”

Geelong has a bye next week before a tough run towards September, with three of its remaining four opponents currently sitting in the top eight.

Twitter: @shayne_hope

GEELONG  0.0, 1.7, 3.10, 5.18 (48)

CASEY DEMONS  3.4, 3.5, 4.7, 5.9 (39)

Goals; Geelong: Q. Narkle 2, S. Selwood 2, J. Jones

Casey Demons: D. Keilty, J. Kennedy-Harris, J. Briggs, T. Smith, M. Lefau

Best; Geelong: Q. Narkle, J. Jones, S. Menegola, R. Abbott, C. Constable, W. Buzza

Casey Demons: T. Freeman, J. Hutchins, J. Kennedy-Harris, J. Munro, O. Baker, T. Smith