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Ladder-leading Cats leave it late to beat plucky Suns

Highlights: Gold Coast v Geelong Watch the Suns and Cats go head to head in round 10

LAST week it was the Danger Show, but on Saturday night at Metricon Stadium it was the Tim and Tom Show that got Geelong over the line against a feisty Gold Coast.

The Suns scratched, clawed and pestered the Cats for three quarters, but in the end Geelong's experience and poise helped it to a 13.13 (91) to 9.10 (64) victory.

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But champion onballer Gary Ablett could again be facing match review scrutiny after appearing to hit Anthony Miles in the jaw late in the third quarter.

The Cats kicked four unanswered goals in the final term, making it nine wins from 10 matches this season and keeping them a game clear of Collingwood on top of the ladder.

But it didn't come easily.

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Missing superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield through injury, Tim Kelly resumed his spot as one of the competition's best players this season, racking up 35 disposals, eight clearances and four tackles.

He got plenty of help from full-forward Tom Hawkins who kicked 4.3 and looked dangerous every time the ball was in his vicinity.

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Manned by undersized Jack Hombsch following an injury to regular full-back Sam Collins last week, Hawkins took seven marks, six of which were contested.

Geelong was terrific in leaving its key target isolated in the forward 50.

With his team leading by just two points at the final change, Hawkins put the game away early in the final term, taking a strong grab in the opening minute and kicking truly from 45m before giving his team breathing space 10 minutes later with another strong mark and set shot.

In his second match at Metricon Stadium since leaving the Suns in 2017, former Gold Coast skipper Ablett had a strong game.

The dual Brownlow medalist was quiet early – being roundly booed with his first possession – but added a touch of class to the contest just prior to quarter-time with a sublime left-foot finish around his body.

He finished with 20 disposals and two goals.

Ablett was sucked into giving away a free kick to Miles late in the third term when he retaliated to the Suns' onballer with a shove to the jaw.

Gold Coast was again gallant.

It went toe-to-toe for much of the night with a Geelong outfit that did not take it lightly.

The Cats won the tackle count 96-88 in the greasy conditions, an indication of how contested the match was.

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For Gold Coast, co-captains David Swallow and Jarrod Witts were outstanding.

Swallow finished with 29 disposals, 12 clearances and a goal, while Witts had 15 and a goal, with his 51 hitouts a big influence in Gold Coast's clearance dominance (55-40).

The Cats looked like breaking away for much of the first half, but Gold Coast kept them within reach, winning around the stoppages and scrapping to halve every contest.

Geelong missed gilt-edged chances to give itself some space early in the second term when Hawkins and Ablett both missed from adjacent to the goals.

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Alex Sexton's lovely set shot from 50m – one of three goals on the night - and a Swallow rove-and-snap gave the home team a fleeting lead before Hawkins kicked his second goal just prior to the main break.

MEDICAL ROOM
Gold Coast: Livewire midfielder Ben Ainsworth hobbled off in the first quarter after his ankle was caught awkwardly under an opponent in a tackle. He returned in the second but came off late in the third once and for all. Ainsworth was wearing a moon boot and getting around on crutches post-match.

Geelong: The Cats appeared to get through unscathed.

NEXT UP
Gold Coast has a difficult task to snap its six-game losing streak, travelling south to play Greater Western Sydney at Giants Stadium on Saturday at 1.45pm AEST. Geelong hosts Sydney at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday at 4.35pm AEST.

GOLD COAST            4.3     6.5     9.8     9.10 (64)
GEELONG     4.3     6.8     9.10     13.13 (91)                  

GOALS
Gold Coast: 
Sexton 3, Ainsworth, Wright, Swallow, Bowes, Martin, Witts
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Duncan 3, Parsons 2, Ablett 2, Atkins, Clark

BEST 
Gold Coast:
  Swallow, Witts, Holman, Martin, Miles, MacPherson
Geelong: Kelly, Hawkins, Guthrie, Selwood, Ablett, Duncan

INJURIES 
Gold Coast:
 Ainsworth (ankle)
Geelong: Guthrie (corked hip)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Findlay, Gianfagna, Dore

Official crowd: 13,144 at Metricon Stadium