Cats have last laugh in Stevie’s homecoming

VideoImageAFL: Returning to the Cattery for the first time since Geelong traded him to the Giants; Steve Johnson kicked the opening goal of the match with a ripper.

Steve Johnson and Andrew Mackie exchange words after Joel Selwood’s final term goal. AAP Image/Julian Smith.The moment was huge.As one of the most tensely-fought and entertaining battles of the season neared its thrilling finish, Joel Selwood lobbed a 50m captain’s goal to put Geelong up by 14 points over Greater Western Sydney midway through the last term yesterday.So, Johnson and Mackie, the two triple-premiership teammates and fierce competitors gave each other a gob full as they went back to the GWS back line, and the whole football world loved it.It was Johnson who stole this show early, kicking the first goal of the game with a brilliant trademark snap, as he swooped through a cluster of players.The crowd was half-stunned, half still in awe of one of Geelong’s (former) favourite sons.The cheeky goalkicker celebrated in style, too, in his first match back at Simonds Stadium, holding out his arms to the same Geelong crowd he had thrilled for 253 games.But it was his old side, Geelong, which staved off a third-straight defeat to hold off the plucky challengers by 10 points in dramatic fashion at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.Joel Selwood celebrates his goal in the final term at Simonds Stadium. AAP Image/Julian Smith.Source:AAPAnd Mackie didn’t miss the moment to let his former triple premiership teammate that Geelong was still a force as Selwood produced an immense finish, gathering 12-final quarter possessions.

He might have been shaded by Stephen Coniglio early, but when this game had to be won, Selwood was enormous, with 18 contested possessions and eight clearances for the match.He is a man who lifts for the occasion.Just as excitingly for the blue and white, Daniel Menzel kicked two last-term goals to help seal the win.Perhaps it was fitting that Menzel did the late damage, too, coolly slotting a clutch 50m set shot and the other on the run on an angle, given the highly-skilled but injury-plagued forward had long been seen as the man who was most like Johnson.Tom Hawkins also delivered a long-range bomb after a tough battle with Phil Davis and ruckman Zac Smith answered the call after quarter time. Smith finished with a massive 31 hit-outs and 10 clearances to take the task up to GWS ruckman Shane Mumford.Despite the frenetic pace and high-scoring, this was still a game for the key defenders as Davis largely shadowed Hawkins and the Cats’ big defenders, led by Harry Taylor, did the job on Jeremy Cameron and Co.Daniel Menzel celebrates one of his three goals. Picture: George SalpigtidisSource:News Corp AustraliaBut Geelong’s victory wasn’t without a fight from the Giants, with Lachie Whitfield, Jacob Hopper and Callan Ward all slotting majors in the last quarter to once again show the expansion side can be a genuine top-four threat, and challenge anyone, home or away.Their gun young midfield took the points against the Cats’ onballers early in yesterday’s piece but Geelong overwhelmed the Giants with possession in the end, racking up 28 more forward entries and 10 more scoring shots than the visitors.Yet, 20 minutes into the last quarter, this one was still alive, as young Hopper nailed a clutch set shot to put the Giants within arm’s reach of one of their biggest wins.After recovering from a fumbly start, the Cats steadied in the second term and broke clear for the first time in midway through a dominant third quarter.It was Patrick Dangerfield who lifted magnificently in the engine room as Geelong piled on three-straight goals, including a curling left foot snap from Lincoln McCarthy, to build a 14-point buffer.The Cats were so dominant throughout the third term burst that the Giants weren’t able to penetrate their forward 50m for 15 minutes, as Geelong pressed hard up the ground to keep the ball in attack.AFL: Rory Lobb has taken a strong mark of the year contender, with this courageous effort against Geelong.

Geelong started on the back foot but experienced trio Taylor, Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel were instrument…

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