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Cats cruise as Dees break unwanted record

Highlights: Geelong v Melbourne The Cats and Demons clash in round 16
George Horlin-Smith of the Cats (left) and Mitch Duncan of the Cats celebrate during the 2013 AFL Round 16 match between the Geelong Cats and the Melbourne Demons at Simonds Stadium, Geelong on July 13, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Cats George Horlin-Smith and Mitch Duncan celebrate a goal on Saturday against the Dees
GEELONG has continued its mid-season surge by cruising to a 68-point victory over Melbourne at Simonds Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In cold and wet conditions, with the new lights on for the entire afternoon, the Cats kicked the first three goals of the game and were never headed from there, winning 13.20 (98) to 4.6 (30). 

It was Geelong's third win in succession, its 13th for the season and its ninth on the trot against Melbourne.

The Demons were competitive early. In fact, they led the inside-50 count 8-5 at 15-minute mark of the first quarter.

But they rarely went forward after that. By the mid-point of the last quarter, the Cats had 62 inside-50s to 16.

Melbourne's final tally of 19 inside-50s was a new record low; breaking the previous mark of 20, set by the Brisbane Lions against Fremantle last season.

The Dees also notched their equal-lowest score in over 70 years of visits to Simonds Stadium.

When all that is taken into account, Geelong probably should have won by a lot more.

Joel Selwood led the way for his team in his 150th game. The Cats' skipper gathered eight possessions in the first quarter and finished with 30.

Back after serving his two-match suspension, mercurial midfielder Steve Johnson, who was tagged by Daniel Nicholson, was the leading ball-winner on the ground.

Johnson had the Sherrin on a string during the second quarter, when he picked up 15 disposals, and ended the game with 38, although at only 34 per cent efficiency.

James Kelly and Josh Caddy were other leading lights in the midfield.

Caddy also kicked two goals, as did James Podsiadly, Tom Hawkins, and George Horlin-Smith, who came into Geelong's line-up when Mathew Stokes pulled out due to groin soreness.

In his first game since suffering a serious shoulder injury in round three, speedster Travis Varcoe eased his way back into footy with eight touches.
Harry Taylor held things together down back until he was switched to the forward line in the third term. At the same time, the Cats continued their experimentation by playing ruckman Mark Blicavs in a key defensive post on Jack Watts.

"I don't think there's a whole lot you can glean from the game, to be honest," Geelong coach Chris Scott said. "We did what we needed to do, and I'm pleased from that perspective.

"We've got to acknowledge that our players did read the conditions well and brought the right attitude to the game and implemented those basics well."

In their fourth game under interim coach Neil Craig, the Demons fought hard but were outclassed in most positions on the ground.

Former Geelong player Shannon Byrnes was their most dynamic contributor.

Byrnes, who played in two premierships with the Cats, registered Melbourne's first goal with a 50m bomb on the run. He also slotted a brilliant right-foot snap from near the boundary in the third quarter.

Nathan Jones and Matt Jones battled hard, while Colin Garland continued his great season with a solid performance in the backline.

"If I had to be critical of our club today, it would have been that we did not adjust to the conditions with the way the ball should be moved," Melbourne coach Neil Craig said after the game.

"So, anyway, that's we've experienced and that is part of our development as a club.

"Capacity to change our game in the way we executed was poor, so we tried to use the handball too much rather than the kick."

After a very impressive showing against the Sydney Swans last weekend, big forward Jack Fitzpatrick was brought back to earth by the terrible conditions. 

He was subbed out during the third quarter after managing only one kick, one handball, one mark and five hit-outs.

Melbourne will head north to host the Brisbane Lions at Darwin's TIO Stadium next Saturday night.

Geelong will be aiming to further entrench itself in the top two when it travels to Adelaide to meet the Crows at AAMI Stadium next Sunday.

The Cats are expecting to regain Stokes (groin), star defender Corey Enright (foot) and veteran midfielder Joel Corey (concussion) for the trip to South Australia.

Cat Steven Motlop and Demon Dean Ken battle for possession in the wet on Saturday. Photo: AFL Media

GEELONG           4.5   7.10   11.12   13.20  (98)
MELBOURNE     1.2    2.4      3.5       4.6     (30)
Geelong: Horlin-Smith 2, Caddy 2, Hawkins 2, Podsiadly 2, Stringer, Duncan, Smedts, Motlop, Johnson
Melbourne: Byrnes 2, Dawes, Howe
Geelong: Selwood, Johnson, Kelly, Caddy, Podsiadly
Melbourne: Byrnes, M. Jones, N. Jones, Garland
Geelong: Nil
Melbourne: Nil
Geelong: Cam Guthrie replaced Andrew Mackie in the third quarter
Melbourne: Sam Blease replaced Jack Fitzpatrick in the third quarter
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Ryan, Hosking, Wenn
Official crowd: 23,172 at Simonds Stadium
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs