It appeared to be game on at half time, but Geelong’s main men stood up and took control whilst St Kilda were kept goalless in the second half.
The Cats eventual 14.9.93 to 4.10.34 annihilation was built upon their third quarter assault. It was Sam Menegola (9 third quarter disposals), Mitch Duncan (8), Patrick Dangerfield (8), and Joel Selwood (7) blowing the game from the middle and turning a 17 point half time lead into a 41 point three quarter time lead.
St Kilda lead the inside 50s (43-40) but the Cats defensive intercept marking took their smalls out of the game, namely Dan Butler. He's equal third in the Coleman Medal race with 21 goals, but was limited to four disposals and no scores for the night.
Harry Taylor keeps St Kilda's lurking smalls hungry
Dynamic, yet controlled ball movement was Geelong’s hallmark, and they set the tone early with the opening goal of the night. Piercing kicks from the middle of the ground led to Sam Menegola marking uncontested in the forward 50 and slotting a goal from 25 metres as easy as they come. The Cats would finish with superior uncontested possessions (203-152), marks (100-51) and disposal efficiency (77%-65%).
Late Saints inclusion Ed Phillips kicked two first quarter goals within a minute to keep Geelong at bay, but that was short lived.
Gary Rohan and Tom Hawkins kicked a goal each within two minutes of the start of the second quarter, and Rohan finished with three goals for the quarter to lead the Cats to their half time buffer.
At the nine minute mark of the third quarter, Saints smalls Dan Butler and Nick Hind had three disposals between them. It was telling with St Kilda kicking just two behinds for the quarter, and four for the entire half.
Unfortunately for the Saints, when a good team was on top of them for the first time, they crumbled. The game was lost, but they succumbed to the scoreboard and didn’t fightback.
An alarming instance was when Jack Carlisle looked to chip to Brad Hill coming out of their defensive 50. Zach Tuohy intercepted and booted the ball to the top of the vacant square, where an unmanned Mitch Duncan ran in and helped himself.
It capped off a horror night for Jake Carlisle, who was a tier below Tom Hawkins and conceded five goals as a result. Tomahawk's haul has thrusted him to top spot on the Coleman Medal leaderboard, tied with Josh J. Kennedy on 24 goals.
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To rub salt into the Saints wounds, Dougal Howard and Nick Hind both made a meal of set shots from less than 30 metres out late in the game.
St Kilda will be understandably disappointed, they had three notable outs in Paddy Ryder, Zak Jones and Seb Ross. They can’t be brilliant every week, and were met with a far more experienced side.
The worrying signs for the Saints were their lack of fight with their backs against the wall, and inability to score when Dan Butler had no influence on the game. On the bright side, Jack Bytel’s debut turned heads, he racked up 18 disposal and was one of St Kilda’s best.
Sam Menegola was a standout for Geelong 25 disposals, five intercept marks and two goals. Tom Hawkins and Gary Rohan combined for nine of the Cats 14 goals.
Sam Menegola pushed Tom Hawkins for best on ground honours
In the end they’re experience shone through, mincing an undermanned Saints midfield at the coalface and suffocating them with off the charts pressure.