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Ruthless Cats destroy struggling Saints

Highlights: Fremantle v Adelaide Freo and Crows clash in round 18
Tom Hawkins of the Cats in action during the 2013 AFL Round 18 match between the Geelong Cats and the St Kilda Saints at Simonds Stadium, Geelong on July 27, 2013. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Geelong's Tom Hawkins tries to take a one-handed mark against St Kilda

GEELONG has rebounded from its shock loss to Adelaide in emphatic fashion, belting St Kilda by 101 points at Simonds Stadium on Saturday night.

The Cats, who were without suspended star Jimmy Bartel, kicked the last 15 goals of the game as they prevailed 21.11 (137) to 5.6 (36).

Chris Scott's men held the Saints to just five behinds in the second half, and the final inside-50 count, which was 63 to 26 in the Cats' favour, told the story of their dominance.

"We were disappointed with the way we played in patches last week, and we thought tonight was a more consistent effort," Scott said following the match.

But Geelong will be without Dawson Simpson for a number of weeks after the much-improved ruckman suffered a suspected medial ligament strain at the opening bounce of the second term.

"The bad news is there appears to be something significant there," Scott explained. "It's really hard to speculate at this point. I guess we can confirm that it's not an ACL and it's not a PCL either."

On the positive side, Cats forward James Podsiadly is in the box seat to win mark of the year after taking a brilliant grab over teammate Tom Hawkins just before half-time.

Although Podsiadly produced the most spectacular moment of the match, Hawkins did more damage on the scoreboard.

Hawkins booted three goals in the second quarter and ended the contest with five, while Steven Motlop, who had an at times fractious duel with St Kilda defender Jarryn Geary, chipped in with four.

Motlop won a stack of the ball in general play as well. He had 15 disposals in the first half and finished with 29.

Click here to vote for the best three Geelong players from the game

Tireless skipper Joel Selwood and midfield maestro Steve Johnson - back after his third suspension of the year - were among the other key ball-winners for Geelong.

With Simpson injured and Mark Blicavs being rested for the weekend, Nathan Vardy, playing his first AFL game since round 11, carried the bulk of the rucking load.

Vardy impressively handled his greater than expected workload, ending the night with 16 touches, seven marks and 19 hit-outs.

St Kilda enjoyed its best patch in the opening quarter when it twice led by 11 points. But after scores were level at the opening change, the Saints fell away badly.

Ball-magnet midfielder Jack Steven was St Kilda's best player. He had 22 disposals to his name by half-time and tallied 36 in the end.

Tom Lee and Nick Riewoldt both finished with two goals.

"For a quarter or a bit we probably hung in there, aided by a little bit of a breeze," Saints coach Scott Watters said. "But we have no excuses. 

"They were very, very good tonight. They are a premiership contention type of side, so that was a really strong lesson for us tonight."

Not only are the Saints languishing in 16th place on the ladder, they also have plenty of injury concerns.

Key defender James Gwilt was subbed out in the second quarter after suffering a medial ligament strain, while Riewoldt's influence was curtailed by a leg injury in the third term.

Things don’t get much easier next weekend, as St Kilda has to travel north to Brisbane to play the Lions at the Gabba.

The Cats, who are once again a game clear in second place on the ladder, take on North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium next Friday night.

Steven Motlop tries to break away from Rhys Stanley during Saturday night's contest. Picture AFL Media

GEELONG      4.1   12.5   16.9    21.11 (137)                  
ST KILDA        4.1     5.1     5.5      5.6   (36)          
Geelong: Hawkins 5, Motlop 4, Selwood 3, Podsiadly 2, Varcoe 2, Johnson 2, Mackie, Vardy, Kelly
St Kilda: Lee 2, Riewoldt 2, Montagna
Geelong: Motlop, Hawkins, Selwood, Mackie, Taylor, Kelly, Vardy
St Kilda: Steven, Montagna, Hayes, Newnes
Geelong: Dawson Simpson (knee)
St Kilda: James Gwilt (knee), Riewoldt (foot), Hayes (hamstring)
Geelong: Billie Smedts replaced Dawson Simpson during the second quarter
St Kilda: Tom Curren replaced James Gwilt in the second quarter
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Hay, Jeffery, Mitchell
Official crowd: 27, 200 at Simonds Stadium