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Crows clawed by Cats

Ben Guthrie, AFL Media  June 2, 2017 10:51 PM

AFL 2017 Round 11 - Geelong v Adelaide

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 02: Tom Hawkins of the Cats and Matt Crouch of the Crows exchange words during the 2017 AFL round 11 match between the Geelong Cats and the Adelaide Crows at Simonds Stadium on June 02, 2017 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Geelong has proven it has the credentials to compete with the AFL's best after dismantling ladder-leader Adelaide by 22 points at Simonds Stadium on Friday night. 

Inspired by indestructible captain Joel Selwood, the Cats restricted the League’s highest scoring side to 74 points (well below its season average of 124.1) as they joined the Crows and Greater Western Sydney at the top of the table.

Selwood was simply sensational from start to finish, winning 35 disposals (21 contested), nine clearances and kicking a goal in his team's 13.18 (96) to 10.14 (74) victory - the team's 10th straight victory over the Crows at Simonds Stadium.

The Cats skipper was twice crunched in marking contests throughout the night, as a heavy collision with Crow Andy Otten in the first quarter left him with a sizeable head gash and blood pouring from his scalp. 

Undeterred, the force of the heavy hits spurred the skipper to even greater heights as he led the Cats' midfield to an obliteration of their Crows counterparts. 

Coming into Friday night's clash, Adelaide was the No.1 team in the competition for contested possessions, but it did not live up to that billing  on the road as the Cats' dominance around the ball (164-130) was telling. 

With Geelong comprehensively winning the battle around the ball, Chris Scott's men were able to set up effectively behind the football and keep the Crows to just 51 inside-50s. 

While not matching his spectacular feats of the past fortnight, superstar Cat Patrick Dangerfield was typically influential against his former team, gathering 31 disposals, seven clearances, six inside-50s and kicking three goals.

Ruckman Zac Smith was also crucial in nullifying Crows opponent Sam Jacobs, registering 33 hit-outs and 14 disposals and was a key factor in establishing the Cats' ascendency around stoppages. 

Tom Hawkins had mixed 200th game, as the star forward booted two majors. He undid some of his good work by losing his cool and lashing out at Crow Matt Crouch with a jumper punch which will draw the attention of the Match Review Panel. 

Cats coach Chris Scott said he was proud of his side's commitment to the cause. 

"We knew we needed to play close to our best to have a chance and I thought close to our best was a pretty good way to describe the performance," Scott said.

"It was a good performance on a collective basis."

The Cats led at every change and blew the game out to a game-high 47 points at the 19 minute mark of the third quarter, before the Crows fought back late. 

With Scott Selwood containing Brownlow Medal favourite Rory Sloane (22 disposals), the Crouch brothers again stepped up. Matt was Adelaide's best player with 27 disposals and seven clearances, while Brad finished the game strongly to end his night with a team-high 28 touches. 

The Crows booted the last three goals of the match to make the margin respectable and, to their credit, they fought hard to the end. But Geelong's ability to play its best football on the narrow dimensions of Simonds Stadium again proved to be an important element in its win.

"It was a disappointing night for us," Crows coach Don Pyke said. 

"The damage was done in the first half and the efficiency with which they scored was very unlike us, a few breakdowns there which was disappointing."

NEXT UP
The Cats have a week to rest up over their bye period before taking on West Coast at Domain Stadium on June 15. Adelaide will back up against St Kilda at Adelaide Oval next Friday night, before it has its bye in round 13.

INJURY ROOM
Geelong:
 Joel Selwood was involved in a heavy collision in the opening term with Crow Andy Otten, which forced him to momentarily leave the field with a considerable gash and blood streaming out of the side of his head. The skipper was not down for long and it didn't stop him from being best afield.

Adelaide: Crows defender Jake Lever hurt his right ankle late in the fourth quarter. Asked about the injury after the game, coach Don Pyke didn't have an update on Lever's status. Adelaide is likely to assess the backman during the week.

GEELONG        3.6    9.10   12.13   13.18 (96)
ADELAIDE       2.3    5.5     7.9       10.14 (74)

GOALS
Geelong: 
Dangerfield 3, Menzel 3, Hawkins 2, Taylor 2, Selwood, Motlop, Parsons
Adelaide: Walker 3, Lynch 2, Jenkins 2, Cameron, Betts, Otten 

BEST 
Geelong:
 J.Selwood, Henderson, S.Selwood, Smith, Dangerfield, Stewart, Tuohy
Adelaide: Lever, M.Crouch, Lynch, B.Crouch 

INJURIES 
Geelong
: J.Selwood (cut head)
Adelaide: Lever (ankle)

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Kamolins, Meredith, Harris, Ryan 

Official crowd: 30,468 at Simonds Stadium