Cats crush Saints by 101 points

Geelong have strengthened their hold on an AFL top-two spot and given struggling St Kilda a horror night with a 101-point thrashing but lost ruckman Dawson Simpson to a knee injury.


The Saints lost skipper Nick Riewoldt and key defender James Gwilt to injury during Saturday’s 21.11 (137) to 5.6 (36) belting at Simonds Stadium, in which the Cats kicked the last 15 goals.

Elusive Cats half-forward Steven Motlop starred with four goals and 29 touches, skipper Joel Selwood had three goals and 32 disposals, while Tom Hawkins kicked five majors.

James Podsiadly snared two, including one from a spectacular high-flying mark late in the second quarter.

The Cats had already regained second spot when Essendon’s percentage took a hit with their belting from Hawthorn on Friday night, but Saturday night’s comprehensive victory further bolstered their advantage over the Bombers.

The only blight for Geelong, who were rebounding from last weekend’s fade-out loss to Adelaide, was the injury to Simpson, who had to be stretchered off after landing awkwardly when he contested the opening bounce of the second quarter.

Geelong were hopeful it was only a dislocated kneecap and not ligament damage, which would mean a much longer absence.

Riewoldt ended the game a spectator after limping off with what appeared a left foot or ankle injury in the third term.

The Saints’ threadbare defence, already missing Sam Fisher and Sam Gilbert, was also further hit, when James Gwilt was subbed off with a knee injury midway through the second term.

It helped the cause of Cats key forwards Hawkins and Podsiadly.

But it would have been a tough night for the Saints’ defence anyway, given Geelong’s midfield dominance, particularly after quarter-time.

The Cats entered their attacking 50m arc 63 times to the Saints’ 26 for the match.

Selwood and Steve Johnson were creative in the midfield, Andrew Mackie and Corey Enright provided drive off halfback.

The Saints had started the game brightly, with four goals to two in the first 17 minutes, with Jack Steven, Leigh Montagna and Nick Dal Santo all prominent, but the Saints managed just one more goal for the night as the Cats’ greater depth of contributors told.

Cats coach Chris Scott said the club’s medical staff were confident Simpson hadn’t injured his anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments, meaning he might play again this year.

“The bad news is there appears to be something significant there,” Scott said.

“They won’t know the extent of that until midweek …. they’re still hopeful Daws can play a part in the rest of the season.”

Scott was heartened by the way Nathan Vardy carried the ruck load in Simpson’s absence and by the Cats’ performance generally.

Saints coach Scott Watters said Gwilt was believed to have bone bruising to his knee while injuries to Riewoldt (foot) and Lenny Hayes (hamstring) needed further assessment.

“We have no excuses. They (Geelong) were very very good tonight,” Watters said.

“They’re a side that’s certainly a premiership contention type of side so that was a really strong lesson for us.”

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