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Chapman drags gutsy Cats over the line

Highlights: Cats v Roos Geelong and North Melbourne clash in round three of the 2013 NAB Cup
Geelong Cats Tom Hawkins marks in front of North Melbourne's Scott Thompson during the 2013 NAB Cup round 03 match between the Geelong Cats and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Simonds Stadium, Geelong. (Photo: Greg Ford/AFL Media)
Tom Hawkins was in strong form against North Melbourne

GEELONG has defeated a courageous North Melbourne by 12 points in their round three NAB Cup match at Simonds Stadium, but the margin was not enough to propel the Cats above Carlton and into the pre-season Grand Final.

The Cats led by 21 points two minutes into the third quarter, fell six points behind early in the last term, then rebounded to defeat the previously unbeaten Kangaroos 0.14.12 (96) to 0.12.12 (84).

Veteran midfielder Paul Chapman was the hero for the winners. He was the leading possession-getter on the field with 22 and also spearheaded his team's victory by kicking three goals in the final quarter.

It was a brilliant turnaround for the 31-year after he had to be subbed out of Geelong's round two victory over Adelaide due to quad soreness.

Click here for all the best match pics

Burly sharp-shooter Tom Hawkins, who had an entertaining duel with North defender Scott Thompson, also booted three majors, while Joel Selwood, James Kelly and Steve Johnson led the way in the midfield.

Brad Scott's men were gutsy to say the least. Having played in oppressive conditions in Townsville a week ago, they were forced to again confront extreme heat.

The temperature was 37 degrees at the first bounce, hovered around 36 for most of the match, and was still 34.8 when the final siren sounded.

As a result, both teams were allowed six men on the bench (no subs) and the cap of 80 interchanges was lifted.

North finished the game with 126 rotations, while the Cats tallied 103.

Small forward Lindsay Thomas was impressive in attack for the Kangaroos, booting three goals, while Ryan Bastinac, Daniel Wells and Jack Ziebell won plenty of the ball in the midfield.

Roos skipper Andrew Swallow appeared to roll his ankle during the third quarter, but he returned and finished with a team-high 19 touches.

Emerging giant Daniel Currie did his chances of playing in round one no harm. He toiled manfully against Geelong youngsters Josh Walker and Mark Blicavs, winning 39 hit-outs and gathering 11 possessions.

What it means: Having gone into the game without big forward James Podsiadly, gun midfielders Jimmy Bartel and Mitch Duncan and defenders Harry Taylor and Jared Rivers, the Cats demonstrated they have plenty of depth on their list. They also looked fast, with Steven Motlop and Travis Varcoe showing great creativity through the middle and up forward. Geelong finished its NAB Cup campaign with three wins and a loss, as did the Roos. A victory would have put North Melbourne into the NAB Cup Grand Final. But given 20 of his players battled through blistering heat two weeks in a row, senior coach Brad Scott wasn't overly concerned at missing the big game. By pushing the Cats all the way, the Kangaroos produced further evidence that they have learned plenty from the competitive training sessions they had against Geelong at Simonds Stadium during January and early February.

What they said: "With the weather conditions, I thought both teams handled themselves really well. A lot of players got game-time that needed to and hopefully they recover well and there's no side-effects down the track. We'd have to be careful with training loads, for sure, so it will take a lot out of them." – Geelong assistant coach Shane O'Bree

"Our commercial guys are crying out there at the moment (about missing the NAB Cup Grand Final). And we wanted to win. We absolutely gave it our best and we came up just short. I thought we won the ball really well against a good contested ball side, we defended well for parts … but we were able to score as well. Geelong are very, very difficult to beat down here. While not rapt with the way we went, I wasn't devastated either." – North Melbourne coach Brad Scott

Fantasy snapshot: Paul Chapman might be getting on in years, but the Geelong veteran still has plenty to offer fantasy coaches. His 22 touches and three goals equated to 83 points. Steve Johnson, who gathered 20 possessions and laid nine tackles was worth 86 points, was the best fantasy performer for the Cats. North Melbourne ruckman Daniel Currie, who will cost fantasy coaches only $102,700, is certainly a player to watch. His 11 possessions and 39 hit-outs tallied up to 77 points. With fellow big man Todd Goldstein out of favour (he played for North Ballarat in the VFL curtain-raiser at Simonds Stadium), Currie looks set to make his AFL debut in round one of the home and away season. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy hub

GEELONG                          0.3.6    0.8.6    0.10.8    0.14.12  (96)
NORTH MELBOURNE    0.3.2    0.6.2    0.10.8    0.12.12  (84)

North Melbourne: Nil

Chapman 3, Hawkins 3, Murdoch 2, Motlop 2, Walker 2, Selwood, Varcoe
North Melbourne: Thomas 3, Daw, Petrie, Black, Adams, Bastinac, Swallow, Harper, Hansen, Ziebell

Johnson, Selwood, Kelly, Hawkins, Murdoch, Walker, Corey
North Melbourne: Swallow, Cunnington, Ziebell, Thomas, Currie

North Melbourne: Swallow (ankle)
Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Ryan, Harris, Gleeson

Official crowd: TBA at Simonds Stadium
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs