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Cats v Dogs NAB Cup Review

Sam Nichols got himself along to the Geelong v Western Bulldogs game down at Kardinia Park. He looks at both teams in depth as well as the AFL Dream Team relevant players from the match. Thanks Sam for sending this in!

Final score
Geelong 11.18.84    Western Bulldogs 9.21.75

Match Recap.

The game down at Simmonds Stadium was initially a very scrappy match, with o score until about 7 minutes into the action. Very heavy traffic around the ball, with both sides applying emphasis on tackling, in particular Geelong, and contested ball, with Western Bulldogs most likely taking parts of the Geelong games style with Brendan McCartney their new coach.


Western Bulldogs were very devoted to a long kicking game plan, pumping the ball down to the tall marking forwards such as Jordan Roughead, who was particularly impressive in the first half. This philosophy was somewhat unsuccessful, most likely because Geelong has two all Australian players in the backline, who are taking intercepting marks all game long. Along with the long kicking, the Bulldogs were possessing the ball very heavily in the first quarter, with Matthew Boyd and Ryan Griffen dominant in the first quarter. The backline seemed to be a bit scrappy, but they were able to hold off the Geelong attack for a half of the game. The three mid-priced backman in which everyone is puzzled over had decent hit outs, with Christian Howard probably having a better performance than both Ryan Hargrave and Brian Lake.  In the last quarter of the match, Western Bulldogs let loose the great Zephaniah Skinner, who was quite outstanding in the way he played. Did not rack up massive numbers, but applied pressure, provided a contest, and had silky smooth skills in about 20 minutes of play. Ayce Cordy also had a strong last quarter, taking a couple of contested marks and a goal.


Geelong’s first half of the game was an improvement on last weeks effort against Richmond, but the did lack somewhat of a polish. The best performers in the first half were Paul Chapman (explained later on), and Tom Hawkins. Nig T-Bone played a half of footy, and although did seem a bit iffy in front of goals (albeit tough shots), he was marking everything against the Bulldog defenders. Joel Selwood led from the front in the second quarter after a quiet first, and Joel Corey was a prolific ball winner, playing a sweeper role across half back. Down by 20 points in the second, the cats dominated the 3rd quarter, going into the last break 20 or so points ahead. The improvement was started from defence, with the marks, run and carry of Andrew Mackie, who was the dominant player until he got subbed off at 3 quarter time. His highlight of the day was a booming goal from 70m out on the run off half back. The second best player for Geelong was Paul Chapman, who returned to his form of 2012 and previous years, finishing the game with very good statistics. The 3rd quarter was probably the best for Cameron Guthrie, who impressed after a disappointing performance against Richmond. He did cough it up a few times, but collected many possessions, and was able to set up plays from half back. With David Wojcinski, Corey Enright, and now Josh Hunt under injury clouds for round 1, I would expect him to be playing a half back role. Youngsters Billie Smedts and Stephen Motlop showed more promising signs, with Stephen Motlop being more likely of the two to play round 1. One more mention is the game of Orren Stephenson. Did relatively nothing in the first quarter, he was subbed off until half time. He returned in the 3rd quarter und in my opinion was the most impressive half he has had all preseason. He was able to give the Geelong midfielders first use of the ball of many occasions, spread across the ground and provided link through the middle of the ground, and his second efforts after the ruck contest were very impressive. I think the first 2 or 3 games he was just struggling to feel the pace, but might be able to lift his performance in the future. Will also note that Jesse Stringer was very impressive when he got subbed on.


Western Bulldogs.

Matthew Boyd – 36 possessions with 20 kicks, 3 tackles. Doesn’t seemed to get tagged, but his disposal was a bit messy so maybe that why. 129 DT points.

Ryan Griffen – Damaging player as always. Finished the game with 12 possessions in little game time. 51 points.

Daniel Cross – Handball happy cross finished with 17 kicks and 13 handballs surprisingly. Link up play through the middle. 117 points.

Shaun Higgins – 24 possession and a goal. Was good, but I can’t take the risk. 96 DT points.

Tory Dickson – Very impressive, with 89 DT points after 15 possessions, 6 tackles and a goal.

Christian Howard – 16 possessions for 74 DT points. Very clean skills all day.

Brian Lake – OK performance, 63 DT points of 13 possessions in limited game time.

Ryan Hargrave – 18 possessions for 59 DT points. Abysmal disposal, and lacked intensity in contests all around the ground. Only seemed interested in fighting.


Paul Chapman – 113 DT points off 29 possession, 4 tackles and a goal. Returned to really good form, and looked injury free which is a good sing.

Joel Selwood – Doing what he had to, 72 DT points off 19 possessions in limited game time.

Tom Hawkins – Really good in a half. 9 possessions and 6 marks for 51 DT points.

Andrew Mackie – Standout before he got subbed off. 91 points off 24 possessions and a great goal. Watch for smokie with Enright, Hunt and Wojo concerns.

Jimmy Bartel – Like Selwood, did what he had to. 86 DT points off 20 possessions.

Cameron Guthrie – Impressive in the second half. 57 DT points off 18 possessions floating around half back. Will get games early!

Billie Smedts – 26 DT points off 7 possessions. Didn’t play much. Iced thumb in 4th quarter. Might struggle for round 1 berth.

Jesse Stringer – Only played 1 quarter, but very impressive. Might get some games with an early rookie elevation.

By Sam Nichols.

Twitter – @nichsa673



  1. Lenny

    March 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Boyd what a gun!

    • Lenny

      March 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      And thanks for the review Sam!

      • RLGriffin

        March 17, 2012 at 11:48 pm

        And thank you for avoiding pointing out which position comment you submitted. It’s near impossible to look past Boyd.

        • Lenny

          March 18, 2012 at 12:05 am

          Yeah I love when someone posts before a first… what is with that shite anyway?

  2. This Is Smelly Pete

    March 17, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks for the review mate.

    Found this a frustrating match from a DT perspective. Didn’t really answer a lot of my Qs!

  3. RandomPickaxe

    March 17, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks for the review, Sam.

    I was mostly interested in Lake and Hargrave, both of whom I had pretty much locked into my team on Friday night. I’m trying hard not to read too much into a NAB Cup performance, but could you offer any insight into why their scores were around the 60 mark? Did they look like they had phoned the whole thing in from the start, or did they both have off days?

    • Samuel Nichols

      March 18, 2012 at 12:10 am

      I think the reason Lake did get a high score was because he didn’t take many intercepting marks like he normally does. That is where he gets a lot of his points form. He also didn;t play that much (that I saw). I would guesstimate about 60% gametime.
      The reason Hargrave got a bad score is because he has no intensity at the ball at all. More interested in fighting. Coughed up the ball all day.

      Hope that helps.

      • Benatration

        March 18, 2012 at 12:28 am

        According to the stats Lake played 93% TOG. Hargrave was no better, he had 94% TOG

        • Samuel Nichols

          March 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

          That surprises me. What website did you use for those stats.

          • kingerzz

            March 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

            it’s on the afl site on advanced stats

  4. Dylan

    March 18, 2012 at 12:19 am


  5. Big Feller

    March 18, 2012 at 1:08 am

    What was the story with Big Will Minson?

    • Samuel Nichols

      March 18, 2012 at 9:06 am

      He played alright. Took some strong marks, did a bit around the ground. He seems to be floating forward a lot and being used as a tall forward. Didn’t kill it but did some good things.

  6. Kevin

    March 18, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Thanks for the review Sam. On what you saw yesterday Lake or Howard? Im concerned about Lake having to play lock down roles in the absence of Williams and Morris.

    • Samuel Nichols

      March 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

      On yesterdays game, deifnetly Howard. He has better disposal, better run and better match fitness at the moments. Lake will probably do good, but might take a few more weeks to get going. 60-40 in Howard’s direction.

  7. Spiff

    March 18, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Thanks Sam. One question answered. Nice work.

  8. Silky Smooth

    March 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    So tempted to start Chappy if he’s injury free, anyone else considering him?

  9. adam200

    March 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    anyone know why simon hogan didnt play?

    • Samuel Nichols

      March 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Not in the team i dont think. As in round 1 team

  10. snorks23

    March 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Great review Sam! Does anyone know why Christensen wasn’t playing? Injury or just omitted?

    • Samuel Nichols

      March 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      He came up sore with a hip complaint after last weeks game. Not sure how serious, but pushed him out of my team.

      • snorks23

        March 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm

        cheers, makes him pretty difficult to select…

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