Jezza reminds Giants of what they had
Jeremy Cameron was sidelined with a hamstring strain when these teams met in round 21 so this was his first time facing the club he played 171 matches for in nine seasons. The former Giant was lively throughout, starting with missing a chance to kick an easy goal when he was unable to control a bouncing ball in the goalsquare, but booting the first major of the match soon after. The 28-year-old even had an early scuffle with Harry Perryman, smiling as he wrestled his former teammate and fishing buddy to the ground. Cameron might have been upstaged by Tom Hawkins (five goals), but he finished with two of his own and nine score involvements to remind the undermanned Giants of what they had.
CATS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
Injury curse catches up with the Giants
The Giants have been hit hard by injury throughout much of the season and, with Jesse Hogan a late withdrawal with a calf issue, they had 15 players sidelined for the semi-final plus Toby Greene missing through suspension. They have often been able to overcome the injury curse, most memorably when shocking the Cats in round 21 after making eight forced changes, but the lack of healthy personnel and available forwards finally caught up with the Giants. They battled hard and had their chances with 49 inside 50s the equal of the Cats, but a forward line without Greene, Hogan, Brent Daniels and Jeremy Finlayson ultimately didn’t have the firepower to push GWS deeper into finals.
Contested Cats challenge finals record
The Cats might be 1-6 in qualifying finals since their 2011 premiership but they are now also 5-1 in semi-finals in that time. The next historic hurdle for Geelong is its 1-4 record in preliminary finals in the same period, though it at least snapped a losing streak last year when smashing Brisbane. There might be lingering doubts over whether the Cats’ methodical style built around uncontested marks and disposals is suited to finals, but contested ball also seems to determine the outcome of their matches. The five times Geelong has failed to win the count this season it has also lost the match, including against Port Adelaide last week (128-136) and the Giants in round 21 (136-154), but the Cats held up at the coalface this time to win the contested ball (141-135) and the match.
BEST IN THE WEST Scott happy with Cats' form and playing in Perth
Bobby has bouncing ball on a string
Bobby Hill hadn’t played for the Giants since round 17 after returning to Sydney to be with his pregnant partner and then going into quarantine before reuniting with the club, but was recalled to add a spark to a forward line missing Toby Greene and Jesse Hogan. He did just that after flying over Zach Tuohy to bring the ball to ground, tapping it to Matt de Boer who only just kept it inside the boundary then knocked it back toward Hill. The speedy Hill had a lot to do when he slapped the ball forward a couple more times until it crossed the 50m arc, before he gathered it with clean hands and kicked a drop punt from near the boundary to light up the Giants at the start of the second half.
Selwood eyes bigger prize in milestone match
As a three-time premiership winner, six-time All-Australian, three-time Carji Greeves medallist and 10-season skipper, Joel Selwood is already assured of ending his career as a Geelong great. He will also finish it as the club’s games record-holder after claiming the title from former teammate Corey Enright with a 333rd match coming in his 36th final. The 33-year-old has averaged 25 disposals across his career but had a relatively quiet night against the Giants with only 14 touches, however he won’t mind too much if he can draw to within one of Michael Tuck’s record of 39 finals by the end of the season.