Oliver Henry (left) and Brad Close celebrate a goal during round eight, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

REIGNING premier Geelong has withstood the challenge of a plucky Adelaide to claim its fifth-straight win, although the 26-point victory came at a cost with skipper Patrick Dangerfield injured.

The Cats extended Adelaide's winless run at GMHBA Stadium - which dates back to 2003 - to 13 straight games with the 14.14 (98) to 11.6 (72) victory on Saturday afternoon.

Dangerfield had a first-half team-high 16 disposals before being subbed out early in the third term with an apparent left hamstring injury.

Coleman medal leader Jeremy Cameron booted three goals for Geelong, taking his season tally to 33, while defenders Tom Stewart (24 disposals with a game-high nine intercept possessions) and Mitch Duncan (20 disposals) bossed the game across half-back.


Geelong marginally won the disposal count (335-332), but was able to maintain control in possession, highlighted by winning the marks count 90-76, leading to more inside 50s (53-46).

CATS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats

Both sides came into the game with 4-3 records, occupying seventh and eighth spots on the ladder, and the Crows made Geelong work for the four points, putting in a persistent performance led by captain Jordan Dawson with a game-high 29 disposals.


Rory Laird had 21 touches along with 14 tackles and the crafty Izak Rankine booted two goals with 21 disposals.

After a tight opening term, Geelong surged with five of the first six goals inside 15 minutes in the second quarter to open up a 26-point lead but Adelaide kept coming, closing within nine points but never regaining the lead.

Max Holmes appeared to have sealed the game after Laird gave away an uncharacteristic off-the-ball free-kick allowed Geelong to open up a four-goal lead with 6min 32sec to play, but Luke Pedlar and Taylor Walker booted quick goals to narrow the gap again. Recruit Ollie Henry kicked a goal with a clinical finish with 2min 54sec remaining after Tom Hawkins' layoff, before Tanner Bruhn kicked the sealer.


Adelaide dominated early with the game's first seven inside 50s, but like last week against Collingwood, were unable to capitalise, trailing by two points at quarter-time. The game came to life in the second term, with 10 goals collectively for the quarter, with highlights from Hawkins' textbook left-to-right set shot from the boundary along with Cameron's right-foot snap.

Cameron grabbed his third in the third quarter with an expert left-foot finish after demanding a handball after Mitch Knevitt's strong mark as the Cats led by three goals at the final change. Adelaide kept pushing, with Rankine snapping truly from a tough angle, but Geelong had all the answers.

Crows let Stewart roam free again
Tom Stewart dominated this fixture last year, claiming the three Brownlow votes after 40 disposals and 16 marks roaming free off half-back in a seven-goal win, leading to some criticism of Crows coach Matthew Nicks for not putting any attention into him. With that in mind, it was expected Ben Keays, who thwarted Nick Daicos' influence last week, would go to Stewart but Nicks opted against that. Luke Pedlar was Stewart's nearest opponent for most of the game, but the four-time All Australian regularly got free. Stewart's influence was a big part in deciding this contest, finishing up with 24 touches and 502m gained.

Josh Rachele (left) and Tom Stewart compete for the ball during round eight, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Captain v captain
Respective captains Dangerfield and Dawson have been two of the AFL's best players over the past month and they were matched up on each other at times in the first half. Dangerfield's explosiveness was on show with 11 second-quarter disposals including a trademark burst leading to Sam Simpson's second goal. But the Cats' skipper's afternoon ended early with his injury, while Dawson went on to have 28 disposals with six inside 50s. But Dawson's availability for next week may also been in some doubt, after a sling tackle on Holmes in the second quarter which will be looked at by the match review officer. Dawson did seem to pull out of the tackle which may help his case.

Patrick Dangerfield (centre) chats with Brodie Smith (left) and Jordan Dawson during round eight, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Winning away is Adelaide's big test of growth
A lot was made of the Crows' record in Geelong in the lead-up to this game, but that's largely irrelevant to this current crop. Geelong have won 51 of their past 59 games at GMHBA Stadium, so there's no shame in the loss, especially against the reigning premiers. Arguably, it was an honourable defeat. But for this Crows outfit to advance and become true top-eight contenders in 2023 they do need to start winning games on the road. Three of Adelaide's four wins this year have been at Adelaide Oval, while two of its three away wins last year were against the bottom two. After playing five of their opening seven games in Adelaide, the Crows' progress will be measured by upcoming trips to face the Western Bulldogs (Mars Stadium) and Gold Coast (TIO Stadium).


GEELONG          2.6    8.8    10.11   14.14 (98)
ADELAIDE         2.4    6.4     8.5      11.6 (72)

Geelong: Cameron 3, Simpson 2, Atkins, Smith, Miers, Hawkins, Knevitt, Blicavs, Holmes, O.Henry, Bruhn
Adelaide: Walker 3, Rankine 2, Pedlar 2, Sloane, Hinge, O'Brien, Sholl

Stewart, Cameron, Holmes, Duncan, Blicavs, Ratugolea
Adelaide: Dawson, Rankine, Walker, Laird, Soligo, Murphy

Dangerfield (hamstring)
Adelaide: Murray (concussion)

Oliver Dempsey (replaced Patrick Dangerfield in third quarter)
Adelaide: Matt Crouch (replaced Nick Murray at half-time)

Crowd: 21,415 at GMHBA Stadium