YOU CAN’T count them out yet. 

Facing a fourth straight loss for the first time since 2006 – when Tom Hawkins was playing for Melbourne Grammar and Chris Scott was still playing for Brisbane – Geelong has reignited its season with a backs-to-the-wall 22-point win over the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night. 

With Patrick Dangerfield, Cam Guthrie, Mitch Duncan, Esava Ratugolea, Rhys Stanley and Max Holmes all watching on from the wrong side of the fence, the reigning premiers head to the bye 6-6 after levelling the ledger with a 15.7 (97) to 10.15 (75) victory at Marvel Stadium. 

BULLDOGS v CATS Full match coverage and stats

The margin was a straight kick or less at quarter-time, half-time and three quarter-time, before Geelong kicked the final six goals of the game to resuscitate its season.  


After losses to Greater Western Sydney, Fremantle and Richmond, Geelong is back in the top-eight after holding the Western Bulldogs goalless in the fourth quarter. 

And it was four-time All-Australian defender Tom Stewart and Coleman Medallist Jeremy Cameron who inflicted the most damage under the roof. 

Stewart controlled the game behind the ball, finishing with 28 disposals, 10 marks and 699 metres gained, while Cameron was everywhere, accumulating 22 touches, seven marks and two goals to draw level with Charlie Curnow in the Coleman Medal race. 


Before it fizzled late, it fizzed for most of the first three quarters. 

Aaron Naughton outmuscled a masked Sam De Koning to pluck the first contested grab of the game at the top of the square and put the Dogs on the board inside a few minutes. Ed Richards nailed a goal on the run from outside 50 to make it two from two, making Geelong pay for early turnovers. 

But then Stewart intervened to steady the ship, thwarting attacks down back before Tom Hawkins kicked two goals in two minutes to make it five each at quarter-time. 


Despite the absence of their three best midfielders, Geelong matched the Western Bulldogs in the midfield across the first half. Mark O’Connor spent plenty of time following Marcus Bontempelli around Marvel Stadium and Jeremy Cameron quickly looked more like Jeremy Cameron than in the past three weeks. 

In a week where the opening game of the NRL’s State of Origin series was held at the Adelaide Oval, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan timed an entrance off the bench to perfection to nail Tanner Bruhn in a crunching hit that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a maroon jersey. And it summed up the intensity of the first half.


The Western Bulldogs kicked the first two goals of the third quarter and looked poised to put some distance between the two sides, but Gary Rohan kicked a goal on the run before Tanner Bruhn converted a set shot to put Geelong back in front. 

And that was that. 

Geelong's dominance of the Western Bulldogs continues. The Cats have now won 17 of 19 games since 2009, including the past five games.


Irish barrels
Zach Tuohy launched one of the longest bombs of 2023 to date when he nailed a textbook torpedo early in the first quarter that nearly hit the roof and reached the centre circle after playing on from a kick in. It landed in Ed Richards' hands and found its way to Bailey Williams who launched a long range shot, but missed. Tuohy immediately went for another torpedo but shanked the second attempt, much to the disappointment of the crowd. He kicked a clever goal by the end of the quarter and then nearly threaded the needle from the boundary. So much for not growing up with a Sherrin. 


Hamstrung hound
Ed Richards is set for time on the sidelines after hobbling off the ground in the third quarter with a hamstring strain. The 23-year-old had put his name in the All-Australian conversation following a strong first half of the season, but now the Dogs have further issues at half-back, following the hamstring injury to Jason Johannisen last month. Could it result in mid-season rookie draft recruit Caleb Poulter playing sooner rather than later? 

Ed Richards and Tom Liberatore after the round 12 Western Bulldogs and Geelong clash at Marvel Stadium, June 3, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Young Cat falling on his feet
Mitch Knevitt's stocks are rising. The second-year Cat might not get the round 12 rising star nomination but he won’t be far off one if he maintains this form. Knevitt collected 17 touches, eight contested possessions and seven tackles, showing further growth in just game nine.

WESTERN BULLDOGS    5.4    8.7    10.12    10.15 (75)
GEELONG                       5.2    8.5    12.6      15.7 (97)

Western Bulldogs: Weightman, Ugle-Hagan, Treloar, Smith, Richards, O'Donnell, Naughton, Macrae, Lobb, Daniel
Geelong: Hawkins 2, Cameron 2, Rohan 2, Tuohy, Stewart, Stengle, Miers, Knevitt, Close, Bruhn, Blicavs, O.Henry

Western Bulldogs: English, Daniel, Liberatore, Dale, Treloar, Macrae
Geelong: Stewart, Cameron, Miers, Blicavs, Tuohy, Atkins, Knevitt

Western Bulldogs: Richards (hamstring),
Geelong: Rohan (nose)

Western Bulldogs: Lachlan McNeil (replaced Ed Richards in the third quarter)
Geelong: Sam Simpson (replaced Jon Ceglar in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 41,944 at Marvel Stadium