Hamish McIntosh congratulates Jimmy Bartel on his fourth goal
MILESTONE man Jimmy Bartel has propelled Geelong to a 38-point win over a gallant Adelaide at Simonds Stadium on Thursday night.
The Crows hit the front early in the last quarter but the Cats responded with the final six goals of the match to claim an 18.11 (119) to 12.9 (81) win in Bartel's 250th match.
Geelong skipper Joel Selwood was brilliant, shrugging off any concerns about a hamstring problem to lift the team while Bartel thrilled the home crowd in the second quarter with three goals. Bartel finished the night with four goals.
Adelaide was brave but buckled under the Cats' tackling pressure in the last quarter. Geelong also ramped up its rotations to turn what looked to be shaping up as a bob of the head finish into a runaway win.
"For our guys to really grit their teeth and find a way was really encouraging, especially with some players that we can't be sure are Geelong players just yet," Scott said.
He said Lincoln McCarthy – in his second game for the club – Jared Rivers – in his second season at the club and Hamish McIntosh – in his second life as a footballer – all earned their horizontal stripes as Geelong players on the night.
"Hamish McIntosh probably became a Geelong player tonight. He's had to fight hard to earn the respect of his teammates," Scott said.
He did it, and I think Lincoln McCarthy did it. Little things like Jared Rivers' mark in the last quarter ... Rivs' a little bit more advanced than those other guys, but I think he's a player our guys love playing with."
The Crows would have lost no admirers with their performance, particularly after a bummer of a summer on the injury front.
This was a quality game reserved for the top end of town between two teams who should fight for finals spots.
The ball flung from end to end with Geelong's midfield generating its forays forward while Adelaide was able to rebound hard from deep in defence.
It was the usual suspects thriving for Geelong with Selwood, Steve Johnson and James Kelly providing the midfield drive while Bartel finished their good work up forward.
Bartel's three goals set the game alight in the second quarter. He found space inside 50 and showed that neither the summer or the passing of time had dimmed his skills.
His second goal was exceptional as he gathered the ball, laconically drifted on to his left foot – non-preferred it must be said – and guided the ball through the goals like a master lawn bowler on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
Josh Caddy also lifted after quarter-time and kept battling despite receiving a cut above the eye that required seven stitches at half-time.
The Cats replaced George Horlin-Smith with Dawson Simpson before the match to accompany Hamish McIntosh. Geelong subbed Simpson late in the third quarter, with Mark Blicavs replacing him in what might become standard practice for the Cats.
Leading the charge for Adelaide were lower profile players Sam Kerridge, Matthew Wright and Matthew Jaensch, who took advantage of the Cats' focus on shutting down Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane to win the ball regularly.
Daniel Talia and Ben Rutten were an excellent defensive combination - spoiling, marking and distributing.
James Podsiadly did not have a great influence in his first game for Adelaide against his old club while Eddie Betts – who joined the Crows from Carlton – was cheeky and exciting at times but did not dominate.
However the Crows did enough to hang in there when Geelong threatened to break the game open late in the second quarter.
From midway through the third quarter they looked to be running the Cats down and when Dangerfield – who has the gait of an Olympic sprinter rather than a marathon runner – kicked a goal early in the final quarter they hit the lead.
"It felt like they swarmed us [with] their ability to pressure us at the contest. [It] was something we could not handle at times and the team that pressures the opposition the longest typically wins and Geelong pressured us for longer than we could pressure them tonight," Sanderson said.
Geelong has not built a record of two losses at the venue since 2007 on skill alone. It dug in and got the job done.
Geelong's Josh Caddy after an accidental kick to the head from teammate Joel Selwood. Picture: AFL Media
GEELONG 6.0 11.3 12.7 18.11 (119)
ADELAIDE 5.3 9.5 11.8 12.9 (81)
Geelong: Bartel 4, Brown 3, Selwood 2 Duncan, Hawkins, McIntosh, Caddy, Simpson, Enright, Murdoch, Stokes, Johnson
Adelaide: Johnston 3, Betts 2, Dangerfield 2, Grigg, Smith, Jacobs, McKernan, Jaensch
Geelong: Selwood, Johnson, Kelly, Bartel, Mackie, Stokes, Caddy
Adelaide: Wright, Kerridge, Mackay, Grigg, Jacobs, Talia
Geelong: Caddy (cut head),
Geelong: Mark Blicavs replaced Dawson Simpson in the third quarter
Adelaide: Jarryd Lyons replaced Brad Crouch in the third quarter
Reports: Lewis Johnston (Adelaide) for rough conduct on Steve Johnson (Geelong)
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Shane Stewart, Matthew Leppard
Official crowd: 23,622 at Simonds Stadium