GEELONG huffed and puffed and eventually saw off the challenge of Brisbane by 10 points in a gripping contest at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night.

Trailing by a point at the final change, the Cats kicked two goals to one in the fourth quarter to win 11.14 (80) to 11.4 (70) in front of a raucous home crowd.

Tom Hawkins was the hero for the victors, kicking five goals, including the match-sealer late in the last term.

CATS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

The Cats had plenty of contributors on a night they had to overcome the late withdrawals of Tom Stewart (gastro) and Esava Ratugolea (ankle) and then losing Quinton Narkle (ankle) during the third term.

06:36 Mins
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Highlights: Geelong v Brisbane

The Cats and Lions clash in round four

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Isaac Smith (29 disposals) vied with Hawkins for best-on-ground honours, giving Brisbane fits with his hard running and penetrating left boot that netted him a whopping 623m gained.

Patrick Dangerfield overcame a slow start through the attention of Jarrod Berry to force his way into the contest, while Zach Tuohy and Mark Blicavs were also influential.

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The Tom and Jeremy connection pays off early

Jeremy Cameron provides a beautiful pass to Tom Hawkins who finishes in typical style

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It took every bit of the four quarters for Geelong to extend its streak over the Lions at its home ground to 13 straight matches.

The first half saw a total of 13 goals, but incredibly neither team could string two together consecutively as they traded blows.

The Cats were able to transition the ball well from their back half to create chances, and after some gettable misses early on, made Brisbane pay with a five-goal second quarter.

00:33 Mins
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Smith sinks one on the run for fun

Isaac Smith makes it look easy from distance and salutes the Geelong faithful

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Geelong dominated clearances in the third term, but despite an avalanche of inside 50s – it eventually won that count 60-42 – failed to capitalise, and when Charlie Cameron kicked the first of his two brilliant goals, the visitors took the lead.

Weight of numbers eventually won out though as the Cats had 10 more scoring shots, 46 more disposals, 18 more inside 50s and five more clearances.

O'Connor and Neale meet again
From the moment Mark O'Connor was selected to replace his rested skipper Joel Selwood, it was clear he'd tag Lachie Neale. Last year the Irishman did a wonderful job in quietening the Brownlow medallist both times they squared off, but Neale was ready this time. After a quiet start, the Lions ball-winner had seven disposals by quarter-time and 13 by the half, most of his work done close to the contest. He finished with a match-high 30 for the night, that included 11 clearances, to take the points.

Brisbane's Lachie Neale tackles Geelong's Mark O'Connor in R4, 2022. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Cockatoo reported in return to Cattery
This was Nakia Cockatoo's first visit back to Geelong since he left the Cats 18 months ago and it's fair to say it was a mixed bag. Cockatoo finished with nine disposals and was also reported for a third-quarter incident with Rhys Stanley. With Stanley bending over to pick up a bobbling ball early in the term, Cockatoo came towards him with a head of steam and made contact. He was reported for rough conduct and now faces a nervous wait to see if he'll be cited by the Match Review Officer.

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Cockatoo placed on report for contact to Cat

Nakia Cockatoo goes in the book for collecting Rhys Stanley in this contest

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Battle of the big forwards
If you like watching big forwards go to work, this was the match for you. While Hawkins (5.3) was making the most of his chances at one end, Dan McStay and Joe Daniher were keeping the Lions in the contest at the other. Each Lion kicked three goals and combined for 18 marks between them. It was one of McStay's best games in Brisbane colours, showing clean hands and a cool head in the hostile environment.

GEELONG       2.2       7.6       9.8       11.14 (80)
BRISBANE     2.2       6.3       10.3     11.4 (70)

GOALS  
Geelong: Hawkins 5, Bews, Cameron, Dahlhaus, Narkle, Smith, Stengle
Brisbane: Daniher 3, McStay 3, Cameron 2, Fullarton, Rayner, Starcevich

BEST  
Geelong: Smith, Hawkins, Tuohy, Blicavs, Duncan, Dangerfield
Brisbane: McStay, Neale, Adams, Daniher, Andrews, Rich

INJURIES  
Geelong: Narkle (ankle)
Brisbane: Nil

LATE CHANGES
Geelong: Esava Ratugolea (ankle) and Tom Stewart (gastro) replaced in selected side by Quinton Narkle and Gryan Miers
Brisbane: Nil

SUBSTITUTES  
Geelong: Zach Guthrie (replaced Narkle in the third quarter)
Brisbane: Deven Robertson (unused)