Geelong have rejoined the AFL’s top four in staggering fashion, piling on six consecutive goals in the fourth quarter to defeat Richmond by four points at the MCG.
The match was in the balance up until the final siren, with Tigers’ 200-gamer Jack Riewoldt unable to reel in a spectacular mark that would have given him a shot at goal and chance to snatch victory.
The Cats triumphed 10.22 (82) to 12.6 (78) in a bizarre game of football, doing enough in one quarter to rise above Greater Western Sydney and claim fourth spot on the ladder.
They started sluggishly and up until three-quarter time it looked like being their worst performance of the season.
The Tigers held a 35-point lead and all the momentum at the final break, having restricted a fumbling and stagnant Geelong outfit to just 4.13.
Whatever Cats coach Chris Scott said at three-quarter time, it worked.
The Cats took just 20 seconds to work the ball forward to Josh Caddy, who roared with belief after kicking a goal.
It started a run of 15 consecutive scoring shots from Geelong.
Scott’s side remained wasteful in front of the goal posts, managing 6.9 in the fourth term, but created so many opportunities it didn’t matter.
They moved the ball with the sort of pace and precision that had been missing in the first three terms, with Patrick Dangerfield among many Cats to lift.
Cats defender Harry Taylor, who celebrated his 200th game with a clutch goal, was swung forward by Scott late in an act of desperation.
Taylor won a late freekick and converted his set shot, putting the Cats in front for the first time since the opening term.
Tom Hawkins, one of many Geelong stars well below their best in the opening three terms, then kicked a goal off the ground to give his side a nine-point buffer.
Ty Vickery responded with Richmond’s only goal of the quarter to give his side hope but Riewoldt was unable to conjure a miracle.
The triumph extended Geelong’s winning streak over Richmond, which started in 2006, to 12 matches.
The Cats, who face Brisbane and Melbourne in the final two rounds, are well placed to secure a coveted double chance in finals.