K rock Football

McCarthy “building nicely”

Linc McCarthy gets his kick away in Geelong’s 34-point win over Williamstown. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

SMALL forward Lincoln McCarthy continues to build nicely towards a long-awaited return to AFL level after producing another solid performance in Geelong’s VFL victory over Williamstown today.

McCarthy had 19 touches and kicked a goal as the Cats scored a 9.17 (71) to 5.7 (37) victory over the Seagulls at GMHBA Stadium.

In his third game back after being sidelined for more than a year through injuries, McCarthy was one of Geelong’s prime playmakers in attack as the Cats bounced back from two narrow defeats to consolidate their spot inside the top eight courtesy of the 34-point win.

Geelong VFL coach Shane O’Bree is pleased at McCarthy’s progress.

“Who knows if he gets a game this week or in coming weeks but he’s building nicely,” O’Bree said of the South Australia.

“He still could finish off his work a bit more and he’s working on that side of his game.”

Half-forward James Parsons responded strongly to his omission from the Cats’ AFL side with 30 possessions, seven marks, six clearances and kicked a goal.

“I thought `Parso’ (Parsons) started really well,” O’Bree observed. “He probably could have hit the scoreboard a bit better but his work all day was pretty good playing multiple positions.

“All year the boys have been great in coming back (to VFL from AFL level) and understanding what they’ve got to work on and play their role.”

Jordan Keras (35 touches, eight tackles, five clearances), Sam Simpson (28 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and captain Tom Atkins (23 possessions, 11 tackles) benefitted from the ruck combination of Zac Smith and Ryan Abbott.

Ryan Gardner kicked the opening goal of the game and O’Bree is encouraged by his willingness to embrace a switch from defence to attack to boost his prospects of an AFL call-up.

“He embraced it and he played with enthusiasm and enjoyed it and looked influential when we went forward,” O’Bree said of the Tasmanian, who’s in his third year at the Cats.

“He created a contest and got after it. Where ‘Gards’ is at, we don’t want to get to the stage where we haven’t tried multiple positions with him and give him a real crack.

“We’ve got to try these things and see what those players can give us – he hasn’t been the only one (we’ve played in different roles).”

O’Bree was thrilled to keep the attacking Williamstown to under 40 inside 50’s and just five goals for the game. Irishman Mark O’Connor and Timm House marshalled the defence supported by Campbell Floyd and Sam Siggins.

“All the themes we went in with pre-game we implemented really well,” O’Bree said.

“Around the contest and clearances it was always going to be a battle against Willy, they’re very good at it and have a lot of experienced players.

“In pure stats they might have beaten us there (Geelong won contested possessions 148-147) but I thought we battled away hard and kept trying to change things up as a midfield group and probably wore them down in the end.”

The Cats travel to Melbourne next Saturday to take on the battling Northern Blues at Ikon Park.

Twitter: @GreenBradley

GEELONG  2.5, 4.7, 8.11, 9.17 (71)

WILLIAMSTOWN  0.3, 3.4, 5.5, 5.7 (37)

Goals; Geelong: Buzza 2, Miers 2, McCarthy, Gardner, Parsons, Simpson, Tsitas

Best; O’Connor, House, Keras, Atkins, Abbott, Parsons

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