GEELONG has boosted its top-four hopes after winning back-to-back games for the first time since round four with a 42-point victory over a wasteful Adelaide at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday.
Jeremy Cameron starred with four goals including several brilliant snaps while Tom Stewart patrolled the backline expertly with a career-best 40 disposals and 16 marks, including 17 intercepts.
CATS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats
The Crows, who slumped to their fifth straight loss, won the clearances (51-44) and contested possessions (163-150) but couldn’t make it count, with their inaccuracy not helping as they went down 15.7 (97) to 7.13 (55).
Adelaide got within eight points in the third quarter after four consecutive goals, with two from Darcy Fogarty, but the Cats responded with the next six majors to put the game to bed.
The win improves Geelong's record to 7-4 and moves them marginally ahead of Fremantle – who play Melbourne later on Saturday – into fourth spot on percentage, even without sidelined superstar Patrick Dangerfield.
Cameron's four-goal haul took his career tally to 498, highlighted by a sensational 40m left-foot snap in the third term, arguably bettered by a fourth-quarter major from the boundary.
Gryan Miers contributed three goals as he capitalised on his promotion to the 22 after being the medi-sub last week, while Tyson Stengle also got three majors against this former club.
Cam Guthrie (34 disposals with 20 contested possessions), Brandan Parfitt (30 disposals with 11 contested possessions) and Joel Selwood (24 disposals with 13 tackles) all won plenty of footy, while Tom Atkins had a game-high 17 tackles.
Rory Laird compiled 38 possessions, including 15 in the second quarter, with 14 clearances for the game, while Ben Keays (28 disposals) and Jordan Dawson (27 disposals) were both busy, with ruckman Reilly O'Brien outstanding on his return to the side, having been dropped to the SANFL for the past fortnight.
Fogarty, charged with Adelaide's key forward responsibility in Taylor Walker's absence, impressed with three goals, leading the Crows' third-quarter rally which they couldn’t sustain.
Miers and Cameron arrested the momentum with brilliant back-to-back snaps, before Zach Tuohy's checkside goal opened up a 24-point three-quarter time lead. The Cats added four goals to one in the final term to run away comfortable winners.
Crows' accuracy woes continue
Coming into the game, Adelaide was ranked 18th across the past four rounds for accuracy in front of goal, fluffing their chance at victory last weekend against St Kilda by kicking 9.15 (69). The Crows' woes in front of goal continued from the start against Geelong, with their first six shots on goal all being behinds, including two routine Shane McAdam set shots. They had to wait until the 11th minute of the second quarter for their first major. In the end, Geelong only had two more scoring shots, yet won by 42 points.
SDK set for overdue nomination
Cats youngster Sam De Koning is yet to be nominated for the NAB AFL Rising Star award but surely that's coming this round after an outstanding display in defence. The rangy 21-year-old key defender, who has played 10 of 11 games this season, hauled in nine marks for 11 intercepts with 19 disposals. De Koning reads the play naturally, with his reach enabling him to bring down unlikely marks, with his ability to intercept a feature too.
Mixed bag for Crows returnees
It was a mixed afternoon for Adelaide's returning trio Matt Crouch, Reilly O'Brien and Wayne Milera. Crouch, who was dropped in round eight, gathered 26 disposals with nine contested possessions, while O'Brien, demoted in round nine, was arguably their best with 28 disposals, nine clearances and 46 hitouts, both justifying their recalls. Milera hadn’t played at AFL level since round one after two injury cursed years but battled, managing only 10 touches and being caught holding the ball from a mark in a horror moment in the third quarter.
GEELONG 2.4 8.5 11.5 15.7 (97)
ADELAIDE 0.6 3.7 6.11 7.13 (55)
Geelong: Cameron 4, Miers 3, Stengle 3 Hawkins 2, Selwood, Tuohy, Close
Adelaide: Fogarty 3, McAdam, Soligo, Keays, McHenry
Geelong: Stewart, Cameron, Guthrie, Selwood, Miers, Parfitt, De Koning
Adelaide: O'Brien, Laird, Keays, Fogarty, Dawson
Adelaide: Butts (concussion)
Geelong: Quinton Narkle (unused)
Adelaide: Chayce Jones (replaced Butts at three-quarter time)