Geelong coach Chris Scott has ranked his side’s 44-point win over West Coast as the highlight of their impressive start to the AFL season.
Scott’s words were well founded, coming after the Cats quelled a third-quarter fightback on Saturday to triumph 18.15 (123) to 12.7 (79).
Geelong booted seven goals to one in the second term, overwhelming 2015’s grand finalists with the speed and precision with which they moved the ball.
The Cats grabbed top spot on the ladder and will keep it should North Melbourne suffer an upset loss to St Kilda on Sunday.
They did it largely without Lincoln McCarthy and Nakia Cockatoo, who were hurt in the first quarter at Simonds Stadium.
McCarthy played no further part in the game because of his ankle injury, while Cockatoo was clearly restricted by a knock to his leg.
“It was looking challenging for us,” Scott said after the fifth straight win.
“We hold them in very high regard so any win today we would have been happy with.
“We’ve got improvement left in us – there’s a lot of parts to our game that aren’t going perfectly.”
Midfield maestros Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield were influential, as has so often been the case this season.
Jimmy Bartel, Josh Caddy and Cameron Guthrie all got plenty of ball and used it well, while Steven Motlop booted four goals, three of which were in the second quarter.
West Coast shocked the crowd of 25,429 when they trimmed the Cats’ lead to 19 points in the third term.
The Eagles booted five goals in six-and-a-half minutes, benefiting from Nic Naitanui’s brilliant ruck work.
“We were concerned. When a team has momentum like that it can be hard to arrest,” Scott said.
“That’s a few weeks in a row now that we just haven’t nailed a team when we had the chance.”
Eagles coach Adam Simpson was proud of the fightback.
“But to my disappointment they fell away in the last,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we conceded two goals at the start of the last quarter from stoppages and the game was over.”
Scott doubted whether McCarthy would face Adelaide on Friday night but expected Cockatoo would be fit for the trip to South Australia.
He was likewise confident Rhys Stanley would be cleared, having been reported for rough conduct after bumping Brad Sheppard.
“We’re not worried about it all … our view and I am sure it will be shared by the MRP is that there was no head contact and he will be fine,” Scott said.