Prized Geelong recruit Patrick Dangerfield has showcased his potential to win this year’s Brownlow medal with a first-half masterclass in the Cats’ 12-point loss to Fremantle in their AFL pre-season cup match at Domain Stadium.
Dangerfield tallied 23 disposals and two goals in the first half on Saturday to put Geelong in the box seat for victory in stifling conditions.
But two late supergoals from Danyle Pearce and Lachie Weller took the Dockers over the line, with the home side winning 2.9.11 (83) to 0.10.11 (71) in front of 8624 fans.
Geelong youngster Nakia Cockatoo is almost certain to miss the start of the season after being placed on report for a slinging tackle on Michael Johnson.
Cockatoo pinned Johnson’s arms before slamming his opponent to the ground.
Johnson, whose head made heavy contact with the turf, was dazed and wobbly as he was carried off the ground by two trainers.
The Dockers trailed by 11 points with less than eight minutes remaining.
But two supergoals within the space of a minute changed the game, with Chris Mayne’s late goal making sure of the win.
Star Dockers recruit Harley Bennell put in a strong first-up display.
Bennell, who was grounded by a calf issue over the summer, finished with 17 disposals, three score assists and a goal before being rested early in the final quarter.
Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe recovered from a slow start to rack up 26 possessions, while Stephen Hill was involved in some important moments.
Cats forward Lincoln McCarthy, ravaged by foot injuries in recent years, booted three goals in a promising display.
But veteran Jimmy Bartel failed to reappear following quarter-time after being concussed in a marking contest.
With the temperature hovering around 33 degrees at bouncedown, both teams could have been forgiven for taking it easy.
But the pressure was intense early, with the Cats getting the initial jump before Fremantle reeled them in late in the match.
Both sides entered the match with near full-strength teams.
Ruckman Aaron Sandilands was a notable omission for the Dockers, while the Cats were without captain Joel Selwood, Corey Enright and injured forward Mitch Clark.