Who even cares that he missed?
The Joel Selwood-led Geelong Cats have defeated the Essendon Bombers by 28 points on Thursday night at GMHBA Stadium.
The Cats kicked 15.11 (101) in a free-flowing contest against the Bombers’ 11.7 (73). New recruit Gary Rohan kicked four goals, while Selwood gathered 38 disposals, 11 marks and seven tackles in a convincing display.
After the first quarter, the Bombers were playing catch-up for most of the evening with centre clearances coming freely for both sides. The Cats led the disposal count 405-366, marks 119-64, but the Bombers led tackles 79-50.
Another off-season arrival at Kardinia Park, Luke Dahlhaus, had an impressive game with 25 disposals and a goal in what could be a return to his 2016 premiership form.
Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield gathered 30 disposals and a goal, youngster Jack Henry had 20 kicks and one handball, while Tim Kelly had 28 disposals as well.
Key forward Tom Hawkins led the way in attack with two goals and looked a dominating presence inside 50 alongside Esava Ratugolea’s two majors. Tom Atkins, Jordan Clark, and Charlie Constable also impressed for the Cats.
Dyson Heppell (21 disposals) and new recruit Dylan Shiel (25 disposals) led the way for the Dons in their second loss of the pre-season.
A quiet night by reigning best and fairest Devon Smith (15 disposals) did include an AFL first. A new rule interpretation penalised Smith, who conceded a free kick for trying to take a mark with his studs out.
Although there were highlights from Joe Daniher’s big marking ability, he failed to hit the scoreboard with a major.
The Cats will look to the first Friday night of the season in two weeks time against grand finalists Collingwood at the MCG, while the Bombers will be hoping to gather some form before Round 1 against the Giants – a clash that pits Sheil against his former club.