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VFL Tigers upset by Cats

Lou Gillett,  August 12, 2017 2:09 PM


Shaun Hampson returned for Richmond VFL in Saturday's game against Geelong VFL

The VFL Tigers came off second best in a thrilling contest on Saturday afternoon, going down by seven points to Geelong VFL at Kardinia Park.

After the Cats dominated the opening quarter, the Tigers fought back over the second and third to go within touching distance of the hosts, before taking the lead midway through the final term.

However, a quick succession of Geelong goals saw the Cats hold a narrow one-point lead in the dying stages, before a set-shot on the siren extended the margin.

Jacob Townsend (25 disposals) and Jack Graham (22) were standout performers in an ever-working midfield, while Ben Lennon led from the front with three goals.

Returning ruckman Shaun Hampson played the opening half of the game, and performed strongly with 28 first half hitouts and two marks.

VFL Development Coach Ryan Ferguson said the narrow loss would give the VFL Tigers renewed vigour for the final two matches of the home-and-away season.

“It’s always tough coming down the highway to play the Cats on their own turf,” he said.

“The boys weren’t too happy with how they started the game.

“So next week they’ll really be looking to come out and perform strongly."

The home side got off to a flying start in the opening term, booting four goals to the Tigers’ one to establish a firm lead in the contest.

The Cats were working overtime to limit the Tigers’ opportunity to accumulate contested ball, a hallmark of their success over the course of the season.

Jacob Ballard fought valiantly in the engine room with Graham and Townsend to even up the contest, however Lennon’s first goal would prove to be the only reward they would get from a closely fought quarter.

The second stanza proved to be a closer affair on the scoreboard, with the Tigers reducing the deficit by half with some gritty, direct football.

Despite Geelong ruckman Wylie Buzza goaling early in the term, Callum Moore, Sam Lloyd and Lennon stemmed the flow with consecutive goals, before Sam Dobson reduced the deficit yet again for the hosts.

Hampson was rotating ruck duties with Ivan Maric to terrific effect, and the VFL Tigers began limiting Geelong’s dominance in clearances, a factor that was vital in their opening quarter blitz.

Brandon Wood and Thomas Silvestro began leading the way with hard running across the ground, with Oleg Markov also providing plenty of pace and excitement off half-back.

With only 13 points separating the sides at the main break, it was anyone’s game, and this was reflected in the frenetic and intense way in which both sides attacked the ball at each contest.

Aaron Black wasted no time in opening the Cat’s third-quarter account with a goal in under 50 seconds, however, two quick-fire goals to 23rd man Shaun Mannagh had the Tigers hot on the Cat’s trail.

Tyson Stengle, who had been kept quiet for the majority of the match, then fed off Graham’s clever handball to kick his first in an empty goal square, reducing the margin to a mere eight points at the final stop.

With the final stanza set to be a thriller, the contest that followed did not disappoint, however, the VFL Tigers were unable to breach a stingy Cats defence in an enthralling final few minutes.

Geelong’s Jamaine Jones kicked truly on the run to briefly extend the lead, before Lennon’s third and Lloyd’s second kept a desperate Tigers outfit in touching distance.

Their persistence was rewarded halfway through the quarter, when a weaving Shai Bolton booted his first major, giving the Tigers their first lead for the day.

However, a Sam McLachlan goal to the Cats saw the lead extended again after Todd Elton narrowly missed an effort.

Despite another late Bolton goal, the Cats managed to hold on until the final siren, and put the icing on their narrow victory with a goal to Ben Maloney.

Jayden Short finished well with 21 disposals including 17 kicks, while Ivan Maric continued to perform in Hampson’s absence, recording 14 disposals, four clearances and 25 hitouts.

With a top four spot still well and truly in the equation, the VFL Tigers host Sandringham at the Swinburne Centre next week in their second-last game of the regular season.

Geelong 12.12.84 d Richmond 11.11.77


Geelong: 3 Black, 2 Buzza, 1 Atkins, Capiron, Dobson, Jones, McLachlan, Moloney, Webb.

Richmond: 3 Lennon, 2 Bolton, Lloyd, Mannagh, 1 Moore, Stengle.