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Geelong smashes misfiring Magpies in final-tune-up

Travis Varcoe of the Cats looks for options during the 2013 NAB Cup round 04 match between the Geelong Cats and the Collingwood Magpies at Simonds Stadium, Geelong. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Travis Varcoe - one of the Cats' best - in action against Collingwood during the practice match at Simonds Stadium
GEELONG will take plenty of confidence into round one after belting Collingwood in the final tune-up for 2013.

It kicked 20 goals to run out winners by 51 points against a disappointing Collingwood at Simonds Stadium.

Geelong was 47 points in front at half-time and was dominating the game with 35 inside 50s to Collingwood's 22.

The second half was more even on the scoreboard with the Cats outscoring the Magpies by just four points - but they always looked in control.

Geelong coach Chris Scott was very pleased with what he saw.  

"Forty-one scoring shots is certainly a good attacking performance, and we thought we were pretty good defensively as well," Scott said.

"We gave away four or five free kicks that resulted in goals: we've got to clean that up a bit. In front of goal we were a bit wasteful, but it was overwhelmingly positive today, even though it was NAB four."

The Cats have a bunch of young players well schooled in the Geelong way who look capable of keeping the 2011 premier in contention again this season.

While the game obviously lacked the usual intensity, the Cats would have been pleased to have 14 goalkickers, no injuries and most players showing good form.

Geelong's young midfield was well on top of the Magpies' star-studded centre square combination, and kept winning the ball out of the centre at will.

The lack of defensive pressure allowed the Cats to score at will, either finding tall targets or slicing through the middle on fast counter-attacks.  

Josh Caddy was noticeable in the middle, working hard at the stoppages and being smart enough to get into space forward of centre to kick a couple of goals.

Scott said Caddy took another step forward today to round off an impressive pre-season.

He looks to be a fine acquisition and will help address the Cats' weakness at the stoppages in 2012.

Collingwood's midfield failed to fire, giving away free kicks early and then losing some system.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said they were given a lesson in close and their lack of intensity was disappointing.

He said the players were reminded what happens when they play with less than 100 percent effort.

"For the most part to have 41 scoring shots and to be scored against at 66 percent was less than ideal. Most of our discussion post-match was around that," Buckley said.  

The Cats would have been heartened with the effort of Marc Blicavs in the ruck, given their big man stocks are depleted ahead of round one.

He is yet to play a game but he could get his chance in the opener.

Scott said Blicavs gives the team another dimension and despite his relative lack of experience looked as though he belonged.

"Along with a few of our younger, quicker players who haven't played a lot of AFL footy, he just gives us another dimension," Scott said. 

"We're a long way from deciding exactly what our best look is in there, but there's some chance he's a part of that…even when our big guys come back."

He took on Darren Jolly at the centre bounce and was very mobile around the ground, kicking a goal and getting into dangerous spaces.

Jimmy Bartel kicked two goals in the first quarter playing forward and could be a threat inside 50 given his marking power and strength on the ground.

Collingwood's tall forwards battled hard and made the most of limited opportunities.

Quinten Lynch kicked four goals up until three quarter time and then left the ground with what was a corkie. Travis Cloke and Brent Macaffer kicked two goals each.

The Magpies were missing Ben Reid's marking power in defence and could not quickly transfer the ball to the flanks. It tried to run the ball through the middle but Geelong punished their turnovers.

Although playing a close to full strength team in preparation for round one, the Magpies were without Luke Ball, Alan Didak, Dale Thomas, Lachlan Keefe, Clinton Young, Alex Fasolo and Paul Seedsman.

Only Seedsman and Young can be expected with any confidence to be available in round one although those battling injury are hoping to make their way back in the early rounds.

Buckley, however, remained positive about the pre-season overall. "If you take today out of the equation we feel we have progressed to where we need to be," he said.

"We are happy with the work we've been able to get into the players. We feel like we've worked on the right areas of our game and we'll be a work in progress to continue to put that together as the season goes on."

Paul Chapman was missing with a thigh injury. Trent West remains touch and go while Scott said it was pretty safe to say that Hamish McIntosh and Nathan Vardy would not play.

Collingwood expects to play Marley Williams and Ben Hudson in the VFL practice match on Saturday against the Cats, but Andrew Krakouer will be absent. Geelong will play James Kelly and Steve Johnson. Both Kelly and Johnson are serving a suspension in round one.

Geelong plays Hawthorn on Easter Monday while Collingwood takes on North Melbourne on Easter Sunday.

GEELONG                      4.7    12.10   15.17    20.21 (141)
COLLINGWOOD           3.1     5.5       11.8      13.12 (90)

Geelong: Podsiadly 3, Bartel 2, Brown 2 Caddy 2, Christensen 2, Hunt, Duncan, Blicavs, Varcoe, Mackie, Murdoch, Stringer, Selwood, Schroder.
Collingwood: Lynch 4, Macaffer 2, Cloke 2, Swan 2, Pendlebury, Beams, Sinclair.

Geelong: Caddy, Bartel, Selwood, Motlop, T.Hunt, Varcoe
Collingwood: Lynch, Beams, Brown, Pendlebury

Geelong: Nil
Collingwood: Quinten Lynch (leg)
Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Meredith, Chamberlain
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs