Geelong have survived injury scares and tuned up for AFL finals football in ruthless fashion, destroying Melbourne by 111 points in Paul Roos’ last game as coach.
Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood powered the Cats and Tom Hawkins was irrepressible as Geelong ensured a top-two finish with a first-quarter onslaught.
Eight first-quarter goals, 10 in the final term and relentless intensity all afternoon ensured a monster 24.11 (155) to 6.8 (44) win on Saturday at Simonds Stadium.
Hawkins had four goals by quarter-time and finished with six – his biggest haul in two seasons – as the chief beneficiary of Geelong’s midfield dominance.
Sam Menegola (27 disposals and three goals), Daniel Menzel (four goals) and James Bartel (three goals) also cashed in as the Cats blew the margin out.
Dangerfield, with 32 disposals and an record-tying 16 inside 50s, and Selwood (36 disposals) were Melbourne’s main destroyers but both wore heavy first-half hits.
Dangerfield lingered on the turf holding his shoulder after a dumping tackle from Sam Frost, while Selwood came off holding his neck from a midfield pack.
The pair played out the match but Jake Kolodjashnij wasn’t so lucky, limping off in the third term with a calf complaint.
The health of his players might concern Cats coach Chris Scott, but form certainly won’t.
Geelong will enter September with seven straight wins, their latest success locking in a qualifying final at the MCG in the first week of the finals.
For Melbourne, this was a most woeful end to Roos’ tenure.
The Demons had no answer to Geelong’s pressure and couldn’t find a winner inside 50, slumping to one of their worst losses in the three years of Roos’ reign.