Undermanned Cats impress in AFL opener


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    Undermanned Geelong were too well-drilled for Sydney, winning their AFL pre-season cup game by 16 points at Etihad Stadium.

    The Cats side featured only eight members of last year’s premiership team, but they kicked two goals to nil in the second half to win 0.4.5 (29) to 0.2.1 (13).

    Earlier on Friday night, Sydney took control after half time in the opening match of the round-robin format to easily beat St Kilda by 30 points.

    New Geelong captain Joel Selwood starred against Sydney with 15 disposals.

    Simon Hogan, who was given time off early last season to deal with depression, also stood out with 11 touches.

    The first three Geelong goals went to players yet to make their senior debuts – Jordan Schroder, Josh Walker and George Burbury.

    Cameron Guthrie was another lower-profile Cat to stand out, especially in the second half.

    Defender Heath Grundy worked hard for the Swans, while co-captain Jarrad McVeigh was Sydney’s best across their two games and had 11 touches against Geelong.

    Geelong key forward Tom Hawkins pulled out of Geelong’s squad on Friday morning and Jimmy Bartel, another member of the team that won last year’s grand final against Collingwood, did not play against the Swans.

    The Cats squad also featured 11 players without senior experience.

    But Geelong steadily took control after a scrappy start, with the scores tied at two goals apiece at halftime.

    In the first game, the Swans kicked six unanswered goals from 15 minutes into the first half to win 0.9.5 (59) to 0.4.5 (29).

    New St Kilda coach Scott Watters had his team playing on and kicking more, but once Sydney settled they were able to catch the Saints on the rebound far too often.

    Swans onballer Jude Bolton starred in game one, while veteran St Kilda midfielder Lenny Hayes was immediately burrowing for the contested ball as he returned from his long injury layoff.

    © AAP 2018

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