Geelong have given their finals chances a boost with a scrappy eight-point win against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday.
The Cats led a largely nondescript contest by 12 points at three-quarter time before holding off the Dogs for the 10.12 (72) to 9.10 (64) win at Simonds Stadium.
With midfield prime mover Joel Selwood out suspended, former Sun Josh Caddy filled the void admirably with 37 possessions and 12 clearances.
Steven Motlop was important throughout but elevated his game late when he kicked his side’s last three goals of the contest.
Luke Dahlhaus was in everything for the Dogs with 37 touches, while Tory Dickson was their most dangerous forward with three goals.
Both sides were intent on getting numbers around the ball, which made for a mostly dour scrap with plenty of stoppages that made it difficult to manufacture clean inside 50 entries.
Dickson’s two goals were important for the Dogs in the first quarter, but they trailed by eight points at the first break.
Caddy’s goal would be Geelong’s only major for the second term but the Bulldogs’ only goal came from Jack Redpath as scoring ground to a near-halt.
The Dogs pressed hard after the restart but failed to capitalise on repeated forward forays only to see Tom Hawkins kick the second of his three goals from the Cats’ first entry at the other end.
Dickson’s third major made for a tense final few minutes but the Dogs couldn’t muster another goal as their losing streak on Geelong’s home ground extended to six games.