GEELONG has bounced back from its shock defeat to Hawthorn last week, thrashing a disappointing North Melbourne by 60 points at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The Cats were never threatened and registered their ninth consecutive victory against the Roos, 17.19 (121) to 9.7 (61).
The Kangaroos are 1-5 for the season, have lost four games on the bounce, and their average losing margin in 2022 is an alarming 53.4 points.
Geelong’s star forward duo of Jeremy Cameron (seven goals) and Tom Hawkins (four) had a day out, combing for 11 goals, while Zach Tuohy (33 disposals) and Cameron Guthrie (28) were prolific.
Cameron's efforts saw him awarded the RSL Tasmania ANZAC Medal as the player judged best afield during the clash.
The Cats controlled much of the opening term (they were +53 for possessions and +12 for contested possessions), but after majors to Cameron and Brad Close, the Cats were wasteful in front of goal.
KANGAROOS v CATS Full match coverage and stats
Tuohy was creating plenty of drive off half-back and finished the first quarter with 12 possessions, while Geelong debutant Oliver Dempsey did some nice things and had two shots at goals.
The Roos lifted late in the quarter and finally kicked a goal, via Hugh Greenwood, in the 22nd minute, but a late goal to Guthrie was not what the doctor ordered for North, and Geelong went to the first break 17 points in front.
It was the perfect start to the second quarter for North Melbourne, with Luke McDonald snapping a long goal within 20 seconds, but Cameron replied with his second a minute later.
Cameron was particularly busy in the second term, kicking three goals and setting one up for his partner in crime, Hawkins, while Tuohy continued to run amok, and by half-time, the Irishman had racked up 21 touches.
A four-goal to one second quarter saw Geelong take a 37-point edge into the main break.
Like they did in the second quarter, North Melbourne kicked a quick goal to start the third, with Cameron Zurhaar (three goals) registering his first.
The Roos’ joy was short-lived, however, as Hawkins kicked his second minutes later, while his third came after Dempsey’s first, which was well-received by his team-mates and coach.
A six-goal to two quarter handed Geelong a 64-point margin at the final change, and David Noble and co. were staring down the barrel of another hefty defeat.
Incredibly, the Cats had kicked 9.11 to 0.3 from turnovers up until three-quarter-time.
North Melbourne salvaged something from the wreck, winning the final term 5.2 to 4.4, but it has plenty of soul-searching to do ahead of a date with the 4-2 Blues on Saturday night.
Geelong’s star forwards fill their boots at Blundstone
Star Cats duo Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins feasted on North Melbourne’s defence, kicking a combined 11 goals. Cameron booted seven (and should have kicked at least nine) – his best return in the hoops, and a new Blundstone Arena record – and was best afield, while Hawkins added four. Cameron is enjoying a brilliant season, tallying 19 goals from six outings. Hawkins, who has 20 goals for the year, enjoyed an entertaining battle with Ben McKay, and truth be told, the contest was pretty even. When they’re up and about like they were on Sunday, they’re arguably the best one-two key forward combination in the competition.
Debutants show plenty of promise
Both sides would be well-pleased with the debuts of their youngsters, Oliver Dempsey (Geelong) and Paul Curtis (North Melbourne). Dempsey who had plenty of mates in the stands, showed plenty, finishing with 15 possessions and a goal. After a few failed attempts in the first half, the former basketballer, who was taken with pick 15 in last year’s NAB AFL Rookie Draft, kicked his first goal early in the third quarter, much to the delight of his teammates and coach Chris Scott. He has poise, reads the ball well, and has a touch of class. The Cats have found (another) one. Curtis, meanwhile, who was selected with pick 35 in last year’s NAB AFL National Draft, finished with 11 disposals and 1.3. He did some nice things and will no doubt derive great benefit from the outing.
Young Cats defender is darn good
There’s plenty to like about this 21-year-old key backman. Playing just his sixth AFL game, Sam De Koning finished with a career-best 15 touches at 73 per cent efficiency. He had five contested possessions, six pressure acts, four intercept possessions, four contested marks and three rebound 50s. Most importantly, he is more comfortable at the level every week and looks destined to be an integral part of Geelong’s defence for many years to come. A Dandenong Stingrays product, De Koning was selected by the Cats with pick 19 in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft.
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 2.4 4.5 9.7 (61)
GEELONG 3.7 7.11 13.15 17.19 (121)
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 3, Curtis, Davies-Uniacke, Greenwood, McDonald, Simpkin, Ziebell
Geelong: Cameron 7, Hawkins 4, Stengle 2, Dempsey, Close, Guthrie, Selwood
North Melbourne: Davies-Uniacke, McDonald, Simpkin, Horne-Francis, Zurhaar
Geelong: Cameron, Tuohy, Guthrie, Selwood, Smith, Atkins, Stanley
North Melbourne: McKay (leg)
North Melbourne: Eddie Ford (unused)
Geelong: Luke Dahlhaus (unused)
Crowd: 8663 at Blundstone Arena