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Cats creamed as Dockers dominate

Highlights: Geelong v Fremantle The Cats and Dockers clash in round two
Steve Johnson and Michael Johnson fight for the ball at Simonds Stadium - ${keywords}
Steve Johnson and Michael Johnson fight for the ball at Simonds Stadium

FREMANTLE has consigned Geelong to the tail of the ladder with a 44-point thumping of the Cats at Simonds Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Dockers had too much class around the stoppages in the end for Geelong, winning 15.14 (104) to 9.6 (60) on the back of a seven-goal third quarter.

It was the Cats' biggest loss at home since 2006.

Nat Fyfe, David Mundy, Michael Barlow and Stephen Hill were clinical, working Geelong over with their hard running.

Cats run out of puff

Coaches praise Fyfe

The battle inside the contest was fierce with Joel Selwood, Cam Guthrie, Josh Caddy and Steve Johnson breaking even, but it was the Dockers' ability to spread and share uncontested possessions that hurt the Cats.

The absence of Steve Motlop hurt – he was suspended by the club during the week for drinking on Good Friday ahead of the Easter Monday game against Hawthorn – as did the absence of ball-winning midfielder Jimmy Bartel, who was forced out with concussion.

It was the right call: Scott

Mundy gathered 15 disposals in the second quarter and Fyfe kicked two goals to tilt the game Fremantle's way, with the former ending the game with 39 disposals and Fyfe kicking three goals and picking up 36 touches.

Although Geelong challenged early in the third quarter with Caddy and Selwood trying to lift the team, Fremantle found answers quickly to bang on five unanswered goals and take a 41-point lead into three-quarter time.

Fremantle's willingness to run created opportunities for overlap handballs and decisive entries inside 50.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said the Dockers had worked on that area during the week.

"The Port Adelaide game our effort was really good, but our efficiency inside 50 (was poor)," Lyon said.  

"We worked on it during the week. I thought we were a lot better at finding targets inside 50. 

"It was just a bit of accuracy that could have made it (the margin) more, but we'll take that improvement."

 

Geelong insiders said this week the team needed to win more of the ball, but the Cats lost the disposal count 321-409.

Cats coach Chris Scott said the team's inability to run the ball forward with system hurt its chances.

"The differential around the ground ball wasn't huge," he said.

"It was more the quality of that ground ball use and the use in congestion. They were much cleaner than us."

Aaron Sandilands dominated at stoppages although Dawson Simpson tried hard and the Dockers were able to nullify the impact of Tom Hawkins, Mitch Clark and Rhys Stanley, with a disciplined extra man making them fight against two opponents whenever they were in a marking contest. 

Michael Johnson won the honours against Hawkins and had good support from Paul Duffield and Garrick Ibbotson, while Harry Taylor battled hard in defence for the Cats.

Cory Gregson, in just his second game, was another bright spot, with his pressure inside 50 a feature.

Geelong's forward pressure was much improved on the week before against Hawthorn, but basic errors were critical in separating the two teams.

Fremantle had the ascendancy in most of the basic statistics, dominating possession and inside 50s (55-41), with the Cats only winning the tackle count (72-61).

Nat Fyfe puts a blindfold on Mark Blicavs. Picture: AFL Media

After two matches Fremantle look flag contenders, with all the parts operating efficiently and a knee injury to second ruckman Zac Clarke the only negative on the day.

By contrast Geelong appears a team with new parts on every line that are finding it hard to click into place. 

It is the first time the club has lost the opening two rounds since 2004.

Stanley's debut meant six players – adding Clark, Cory Gregson, Nakia Cockatoo (who started as a substitute), Darcy Lang and Jed Bews – had not yet played 10 games with the Cats as they recast their team. 

GEELONG 2.2 6.2 8.4 9.6 (60)

FREMANTLE 3.3 7.8 14.9 15.14 (104) 

GOALS
Geelong: Stanley 2, Hawkins 2, Clark 2, Duncan, Guthrie, Horlin-Smith
Fremantle: Fyfe 3, Barlow 3, Hill 2, Pavlich 2, Mayne, Walters, Taberner, Pearce, Ballantyne 

BEST
Geelong: Selwood, Taylor, Caddy, Kelly, Enright
Fremantle: Mundy, Barlow, Fyfe, Hill, Sandilands, Johnson, Pavlich, Duffield 

INJURIES
Geelong: Taylor (head)
Fremantle: Clarke (knee) 

SUBSTITUTES
Geelong:
Nakia Cockatoo replaced Dawson Simpson in the third quarter
Fremantle: Matt De Boer replaced Matt Taberner in the fourth quarter 

Reports: Billie Smedts (Geelong) reported for rough conduct on Lee Spurr (Fremantle) 

Umpires: Rosebury, Findlay, Ryan 

Official crowd: 23,723 at Simonds Stadium