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Match report: Cats down Dees after the siren

Highlights: Geelong v Melbourne The Cats and Demons clash in round 18

A GOAL after the siren from defender Zach Tuohy has handed Geelong a come-from-behind win for the ages against Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night.

Tuohy's conversion from a contested mark with less than 10 seconds remaining capped a final-term blitz from Tom Hawkins, who kicked four of his seven goals in the last quarter to celebrate his 30th birthday in style.

CATS CLING ON Full match coverage and stats

It leaves the Demons without a win against a top-eight side for 2018, left to rue a dominant start to the match to fall 14.14 (98) to Geelong's 16.4 (100).

 

'LIKE A PORK CHOP' Match-winner Tuohy relives his moment

Veteran Gary Ablett was immense in the final term, collecting 14 disposals and five inside 50s, turning back the clock to his vintage best after a season of intense scrutiny.

The Demons looked set to hold on late when Tom McDonald kicked his fourth major to give the visitors an eight-point buffer with less than seven minutes on the clock.

Having already bridged a 23-point lead at the final break, the Cats then answered back through Hawkins before Jay Kennedy Harris missed the chance to seal victory.

Demons ruckman Max Gawn was forced from the ground in the last 90 seconds under the blood rule, watching on as the Cats won crucial one-on-one contests in their defensive half.

Daniel Menzel was found loose on the wing and his risky kick into the corridor paid dividends by finding the man of the moment in Hawkins. His handball ended with Mitch Duncan, who hit Tuohy with a perfectly weighted pass. The Irishman duly nailed the shot from 30 metres out to send the 30,125-strong crowd into raptures.

Cats star Gary Ablett celebrates with Zach Tuohy after the latter's kick to win the game. Picture: AFL Photos

 

"There would be occasions where teams are in those kinds of situations and they turn up their toes," Geelong coach Chris Scott said of the dying stages.

"But you can't say that about our group and I would've been saying that even if we didn't get the result.

"It does set you up for something special if you have that in a group because it's very hard to manufacture if it's not there organically."

A WIN FOR THE AGES Five talking points

The loss leaves Melbourne with just one win from its past 10 visits down the highway and in a battle to play finals for the first time in 12 years with a difficult run home to come.

"Clearly they're shattered," coach Simon Goodwin said of his players post-game.

"We came down here to win and we didn't. That's the reality of it."

"There's lots of things in the game, the little things become the moments and the moments become the big things. Ultimately when you go through a game like that, a lot of the little things add up."

The Demons let slip a golden opportunity to move into the top four. Picture: AFL Photos

Midfield dynamo Clayton Oliver amassed 40 possessions, including 20 contested as newfound stopper James Harmes threatened to blanket Joel Selwood (16 possessions) out of the contest.

Harmes temporarily moved to Dangerfield in the third quarter after the superstar Cat had dominated the first half with 21 disposals, before resuming his battle with Selwood.

 

Winning the inside 50 count by 14, the Demons opened up their three-quarter time buffer off the back of a frantic defensive style of game.

With the lead changing six times at the start of the third term, the Demons kicked the final four goals as Geelong looked down and out.

Rhys Stanley got the better of Max Gawn in the final term, the pair splitting the overall ruck honours after Gawn looked set to repeat his round one dominance against the Cats.

The return of Lachie Henderson for his first game of the season released rookie Jack Henry to play forward, giving Hawkins yet another key forward partner.

 

MEDICAL ROOM

Geelong: The Cats appeared to have got through unscathed.
Melbourne: Beyond Max Gawn's costly blood rule in the final moments, the Demons picked up no major injuries.

NEXT UP
Geelong hosts Brisbane at GMHBA Stadium in Chris Scott's 400th match as player and coach, fittingly against the club where he won two premierships as player. It is the one of three Cats home matches in their final five. The Demons will travel to Adelaide Oval to face the Adelaide, buoyed by their win at the venue against the Crows last season.

GEELONG           2.1          5.3          8.4          16.14 (100)   
MELBOURNE      2.3          5.8          11.9        14.14 (98)

GOALS
Geelong: Hawkins 7, Dangerfield 2, Tuohy 2, Jones, Duncan, Henry, J Selwood, Kelly
Melbourne: T McDonald 4, Garlett 2, Melksham 2, Brayshaw, Spargo, Jones, Hogan, Gawn, Petracca

BEST
Geelong: Hawkins, Dangerfield, Kelly, Stewart, Blicavs, Ablett, Stanley
Melbourne: Oliver, T McDonald, Harmes, Petracca, Lewis, Brayshaw

INJURIES
Geelong: Nil
Melbourne: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Brown, Nicholls

Official attendance: 30,125 at GMHBA Stadium