Tyson Stengle and Jeremy Cameron celebrate during the round four match between the Western Bulldogs and Geelong at Adelaide Oval, April 06, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

GEELONG watched on last September after going all the way in 2022, but now it looks destined to return to the month that matters most after remaining unbeaten to start 2024. 
But only just.

DOGS v CATS Full match coverage and stats

Backing up from an Easter Monday game that finished 45 minutes later than scheduled due to a severe weather warning delay, the Cats survived a late fightback from the Western Bulldogs to win by just four points in a pulsating finish on Saturday night.

With two trips to Adelaide in two weeks and two games in six days, the Cats did what they needed to do to depart South Australia 4-0 to join Carlton as one of only two undefeated sides to start the year.


Geelong has played finals in 11 of the 13 seasons Chris Scott has been at the helm, but despite that phenomenal record, the Cats arrived on the starting grid last month as one of the great unknowns of this season. 

They look like a known commodity, yet again.

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Woodville-West Torrens product Tyson Stengle made the most of his chances to kick four goals back in his home state, while Jeremy Cameron roamed all over the Adelaide Oval, finishing with 27 disposals, eight marks, 662 metres gained and 2.4.


Geelong led for all but five minutes of the game and threatened to blow the Bulldogs away at different stages, leading by as much as 28 points late in the third quarter. But Luke Beveridge’s men sensed the fatigue on the opposition and kept coming for the entire 120 minutes. They never stopped. 

The Dogs kicked the final three goals of the game and had all the momentum at the end, with Bailey Williams reducing the margin to under a kick with less than a minute left and Ed Richards streaming through the centre square when the siren sounded to confirm the 14.11 (95) to 14.7 (91) Geelong win. Near, but not near enough. 


Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli and veteran star Tom Liberatore were the two clear standout players on Adelaide Oval, almost willing the Dogs to a memorable win on the road. 

With Patrick Dangerfield and Cam Guthrie missing, Liberatore dictated terms at stoppage, amassing an unbelievable 19 clearances (equal No. 3 all-time) and 28 contested possessions (equal No. 4 all-time) in an inside masterclass that you can’t teach, finishing with 35 disposals, nine tackles and a goal. 

In a week where the 31-year-old inked a one-year extension for a 15th season, Liberatore produced a performance that shows he still has plenty left in the tank.


Bontempelli was almost as good, finishing with 35 touches, 14 contested possessions, 10 tackles, seven clearances and a goal in a dominant display that underlined his status as one of the best players in the land.

But despite those two, the Cats will head back to Kardinia Park 4-0 for the first time since 2017, suddenly back in contention once again under the two-time premiership coach.  

In or out? 
When it happened, it didn’t seem like it was going to matter. But in a game decided by less than a kick, it mattered. Tyson Stengle appeared to mark the ball over the line in the third quarter. the goal umpire paid it a behind and Ed Richards ran out of the square ready to launch the ball out of defence. But then the decision was referred to a review, which paid the mark. Tyson Stengle kicked his third to make it 22 points then added a fourth shortly afterwards. It ended up being a telling moment. 

Tyson Stengle prepares for a kick on goal after a score review during the round four match between Western Bulldogs and Geelong at Adelaide Oval, April 06, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Wrong way, Ryley
Ryley Sanders made a great start to the game and might end up collecting the round four Rising Star nomination, but the 2023 pick No. 6 had a moment he will want to forget when he burst out of stoppage, took two bounces and streamed towards goal – in the wrong direction – before realising just in time. The Tasmanian finished with 23 disposals, 11 contested possessions, six tackles and five clearances at Adelaide Oval. 


No room for Macrae in 22
After spending a month in the VFL, veteran midfielder Jack Macrae was recalled last week but started Saturday night as the sub. The three-time All-Australian has been on the outer to start 2024 and didn’t get on the ground until late in the third quarter, replacing Caleb Daniel, who has struggled to replicate his brilliant best so far this year. Macrae collected six touches in 23 per cent game time and no longer has an immediate spot in the Bulldogs midfield, as he previously had for more than 200 games.


WESTERN BULLDOGS    2.1     6.3     11.5     14.7 (91)
GEELONG                       3.3     7.6     13.9    14.11 (95)

Western Bulldogs: 
 Darcy 3, West 2, Weightman 2, Ugle-Hagan 2, Liberatore, Gallagher, Bontempelli, Williams, Treloar
Geelong: Stengle 4, Cameron 2, Bowes 2, O.Henry 2, Holmes, Z. Guthrie, Dempsey, Close

Western Bulldogs: Liberatore, Bontempelli, Jones, Darcy, Treloar, Sanders
Geelong: Cameron, Miers, Stewart, Stanley, Stengle, Bowes, 

Western Bulldogs
: Nil
Geelong: Nil

Western Bulldogs
: Jack Macrae (replaced Caleb Daniel in the third quarter)
Geelong: Mark O’Connor (replaced Jhye Clark in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 45,970 at Adelaide Oval