Max Gawn competes for the ball over Tom Hawkins as the Cats edged the Demons in the AFL. Image by Michael Dodge/AAP PHOTOS

Australian rules football

Stewart hurt in Cats’ narrow AFL win

2020-06-28 19:12:59

Geelong’s three-point AFL win over Melbourne has come at a significant cost with star defender Tom Stewart suffering a broken collarbone.

The dual All-Australian backman was hurt in an off-the-ball incident involving Tom McDonald, who moved towards Stewart before the pair bumped shoulders in a seemingly innocuous clash during Sunday’s first quarter.

Stewart is expected to miss multiple weeks after coming off second best, while the incident will be assessed by Match Review Officer Michael Christian.

It was a sour note for the Cats on a day when they failed to set the game alight but did enough to outlast Melbourne in a dour 7.5 (47) to 6.8 (44) win.

Geelong, who also had small forward Tom Atkins struggling with a leg injury for most of the day, managed to maintain possession for long periods with a chip-and-mark style of play which frustrated the Demons.

It led to a lopsided 112-52 mark tally, with the Cats taking 105 of them uncontested.

“We’re not coming away from the game thinking, ‘Geez we’re a good side and we’re going to be hard to beat’,” Geelong coach Chris Scott said.

“We’ve got a lot to work on and it was disappointing in the end that we had the game under control in the last quarter and gave them a look.

“I don’t think anyone watching the game would think they’re two teams that are just going to dominate the competition.”

The contest didn’t really come alive until the final few minutes, when Geelong defender Mark O’Connor’s horror turnover in the back pocket allowed Angus Brayshaw to kick his second goal and cut the margin to four points.

Off-season recruit Adam Tomlinson had the chance to win the match for Melbourne in the dying stages but his set shot from 50m drifted just wide.

The Demons suffered a familiar problem in that they were strong in the contest but lacked connection and were inefficient going forward.

Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney and Max Gawn all had an influence around the ball to generate a 32-23 clearance advantage.

Melbourne had eight more inside-50s than their opponents but still struggled to score.

“Clearly, we were inefficient forward of centre and we didn’t do the basics well down the other end either,” Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

“So we were inefficient and we couldn’t get the ball off them for large chunks.

“It’s frustration because there is a lot that’s going right.”

Patrick Dangerfield, Cam Guthrie and Sam Menegola were important contributors for Geelong. The Cats next host in-form Gold Coast on Saturday at GMHBA Stadium.

Melbourne face a trip north to take on Sydney the following day at the SCG.