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Match report: Crocked Cats shock Dockers

Peter Ryan  June 25, 2017 3:50 PM

Highlights: Geelong Cats v Fremantle The Cats and Dockers clash in round 14
AFL 2017 Round 14 - Geelong v Fremantle

James Parsons celebrates one of his last-quarter goals

A WOUNDED Geelong has stormed home for one of its most memorable victories, defying injuries that saw the Cats down to one man on the bench for the last quarter, for a two-point win over Fremantle.

Fremantle's Michael Walters missed a snap shot kick for goal with a second to go from 20m out to allow the Cats to hold on, just. 

WATCH: The last two minutes

It was the fourth game for the round decided by less than a goal, with Geelong winning 10.14 (74) to Fremantle's 11.6 (72).

It was a massive escape for Geelong, which won despite losing its skipper Joel Selwood to concussion in the first 45 seconds of the game and then being down to one fit player on the bench after Tom Stewart and Darcy Lang were injured.

Full match coverage and stats

While conceding Geelong did not play the way it wanted to, Cats coach Chris Scott was pleased his players never gave up.

"One thing you can't accuse our players of, right at the moment, is giving up. When things were going against us we just found a way to stay in the game," he said. 

"We think it was a win full of merit, not in terms of skill execution, but in terms of will and mental application."

The Cats looked done when Fremantle, which was without its own injured skipper Nat Fyfe, kicked seven unanswered goals in the first 20 minutes of the second quarter to open up a 34-point lead and then held the Cats at bay in the third quarter to take a 19-point lead into the last term.

However two goals to James Parsons within the first four minutes of the last quarter brought Geelong back in touch and then Tom Hawkins put the Cats in front at the nine-minute mark before the game settled into a classic arm-wrestle.

Five talking points: Geelong v Fremantle

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said he was pleased with the Dockers' competitiveness, but conceded they tired. 

"That is AFL footy. That is the filter. You have got to be able to go as hard from first to last," Lyon said.

From that point on neither team kicked a goal as the Cats blew chances to seal the game, with Rhys Stanley missing a sitter, Hawkins missing a set shot, and Mitch Duncan failing to convert keeping the Dockers in touch.

The Cats then looked to have the game in their keeping but Jordan Murdoch missed a kick to Dan Menzel, and the Dockers went from end to end to almost pull off a last-gasp victory.

The Dockers, fielding their youngest team for the season and with two players playing their first game, were brilliant for most of the contest.

WATCH: Walters brilliance falls short on final siren

Nick Suban blanketed Patrick Dangerfield for three quarters before the champion took hold in the last quarter – only to be let down by his kicking – and Lachie Neale won the ball in tight.

David Mundy was cool while Conor Blakely dominated across half back and the Hill brothers, Brad and Stephen were excellent.

However Geelong, which has only lost one of its past 16 games at Simonds Stadium – and only seven times in the past 79 matches – kept persisting despite fumbling all day.

The Cats backline stood tall with Tom Lonergan and Zach Tuohy brilliant. Tuohy kicked two important goals and Menzel kicked three.

The win keeps Geelong in third spot and puts the Dockers back among the fray.

MEDICAL ROOM
Geelong: Cats skipper Selwood was knocked out in the first 45 seconds after clashing heads with Fremantle's Hayden Ballantyne. He was ruled out from the game with concussion. Stewart copped a knock to the face in the second quarter to finish his afternoon and may have suffered bone damage. Lang rolled his ankle and played on briefly despite being proppy before putting on his tracksuit.

Fremantle: Hayden Ballantyne kicked Tom Hawkins' calf during the first quarter and hurt his foot. He was treated on the bench before returning to the ground at quarter-time.

NEXT UP
Geelong has a huge game against Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium. A win would go a long way to cementing a top-four spot, while Fremantle return home for a must-win game against St Kilda.  

GEELONG           2.0    4.5    7.9     10.14   (74)
FREMANTLE       1.1    8.3    11.4   11.6    (72)

GOALS 
Geelong: Menzel 3, Tuohy 2, Parsons 2, Motlop, Menegola, Hawkins
Fremantle: Tucker 3, Ballantyne 2, Walters 2, B.Hill, Neale, McCarthy, Suban

BEST 
Geelong: Dangerfield, Tuohy, Lonergan, Menzel, Duncan
Fremantle: Neale, Blakely, Walters, B.Hill, Weller, Darcy, M Johnson

INJURIES 
Geelong: Selwood (concussion), Stewart (eye), Lang (leg), S Selwood (hamstring tightness)
Fremantle: Ballantyne (foot), B.Hill (leg)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Hay, Harris, Pannell

Official crowd: 29,928 at Simonds Stadium