Geelong has moved to the top of the AFL ladder after launching a stirring comeback to beat the Western Bulldogs by 11 points on the Gold Coast.
- Geelong trailed by six goals at the first break, having failed to kick a major in the opening quarter
- The Cats did not take the lead in the match until the final quarter against the Bulldogs
- Tom Hawkins, Gary Rohan and Gryan Miers bagged two goals each for the Cats
The Cats trailed by 36 points at quarter-time after a goalless first term but rallied to run down the Bulldogs and claim a 10.12 (72) to 9.7 (61) victory in Carrara.
Tom Hawkins, Gary Rohan and Gryan Miers all kicked two goals apiece for the Cats, who moved above Port Adelaide and Brisbane on percentage, although both those teams have played one less match.
Patrick Dangerfield led the possession count for the match with 32 touches and played a key role in the Cats’ comeback.
Mark Blicavs and Rhys Stanley dominated the hitouts for the Cats against Bulldogs ruckman Tim English.
Aaron Naughton kicked two goals for the Bulldogs, who raced to a big lead early with the first six majors of the match, before the Cats’ first goal in the sixth minute of the second quarter by Miers.
Miers kicked a second six minutes later as the Cats began to steadily eat away at the Bulldogs’ advantage.
It was the first time this year the Cats had failed to kick a major in the opening quarter of a match and just their third goalless quarter of the season.
The Cats kept coming in the third quarter, with key forward Hawkins kicking his 34th goal of the season and a late major to Mark O’Connor ensuring the margin was down to 10 points at the final change.
Both teams went goal for goal in the final term, Geelong twice getting within three points of the Bulldogs only for Luke Beveridge’s team to respond.
The Cats finally hit the front for the first time of the night with five minutes to play when Hawkins kicked his second of the match.
Rohan’s second of the final term with less than a minute to play sealed the win as the Cats made it six wins from their past seven matches.
The Bulldogs, whose finals’ hopes remain on a knife edge, ended the match with just two players on the bench after Laitham Vandermeer and Easton Wood both suffered hamstring injuries.