CATS BEAT BOMBERS AND THE HEAT IN
NOT SURPRISINGLY, GEELONG defeated Essendon by 87 points this on afternoon's hot day in Shepparton, on the sad day that club champion Paul Couch passed away. Leading from start to finish the win was soured further after Jackson Thurlow stretchered off in the third quarter with what looked like a serious knee injury. The 21 year old had high hopes of nailing down a spot in the back six this season after showing promise in 2015 under the tutelage of Corey Enright.
The Bombers who as we know have a depleted squad due to the self-inflicted (or administered) supplements scandal only managed to kick three goals for the day while neither side registered a super goal. For the Cats Nathan Vardy was the leading goal-kicker with four, Tom Hawkins and Josh Caddy next best with two apiece. Down back Jake Kolodjashnij had a much more pleasant time than last week against the Magpies who kicked eleven goals in the third quarter, while the Bombers made plenty of forays forward it made easy pickings for the young defender; Tom Ruggles in his first game for the Cats also did well down back as did former Blue Lachie Henderson.
Patrick Dangerfield led the possessions count with 24, Mitch Duncan the only other on the ground to finish with more than 20. Tom Lonergan started the match but picked up a minor injury to an ankle in the second quarter that saw him leave the field. Cam Guthrie looks the goods again should he stay injury free, Nakia Cockatoo continues to gain confidence and the Zac Smith/Rhys Stanley ruck combination looks exciting.
For Essendon the reinforcement players to take the field included former Cat and Hawk Jonathan Simpkin and Mark Jamar, with decorated Geelong players Mathew Stokes and James Kelly not taking the field.
All in all not much you can take out of the day, except the sorrow of losing Paul Couch and the uncertainty of young Jackson Thurlow's immediate playing future.
CROWD: 5,488 at Deakin Reserve, Shepparton
JACKSON THURLOW'S INJURY
AFL NAB CHALLENGE 2016
ESSENDON BOMBERS V GEELONG CATS
SATURDAY 5 MARCH 2016 14:05 AEST
VALE PAUL COUCH
1964 - 2016
PAUL COUCH PICTURED WITH SON THOMAS IN 2006