Geelong remain undefeated after their 29-point win over Melbourne, but coach Chris Scott admits that’s more down to good fortune than brilliant form.
The Demons were the superior team for large portions of Saturday’s clash at Etihad Stadium, but paid the price for horrendous goal kicking.
Melbourne, already missing suspended pair Jesse Hogan and Jordan Lewis, lost star ruckman Max Gawn to a hamstring injury in the second quarter but held a 15-point lead late in the third quarter.
The ultra-accurate Cats kicked two goals in a minute to lead by three points at three-quarter time and followed up with the first three goals of the final term to record a 20.6 (126) to 13.19 (97) win in front of 29,733 fans.
Geelong came from behind to score a one-point win over North Melbourne last week after the Roos lost Todd Goldstein and Jarrad Waite to injury.
A 3-0 win-loss record might look good on paper but Scott is far from convinced.
“I think our position is one of realism at the moment,” Scott said.
“It was fortunate for us that Hogan and Lewis missed and then Gawn was out so we’re clear that it’s not our brilliance that has necessarily got us into this position.
“There’s been a fair bit of good fortune as well.
“When the opposition lose two of their best players before the game two weeks in a row I think it’s the height of arrogance to say ‘We’re going well, we’re 3-0’ … especially when they outplayed us for big parts of the game.”
The brave Demons kept their chances alive with a goal to Mitch Hannam seven minutes into the last quarter slicing their deficit to nine points, but crucial errors and continued poor goal kicking were costly.
While Melbourne repeatedly spurned gilt-edged scoring opportunities, Geelong kicked a remarkable 16 goals straight at one stage.
The Cats’ efficiency was evident in the second quarter when the Demons dominated inside 50s 15-6 only to kick 5.7 to Geelong’s 4.0.
“It was frustrating. Clearly you’ve got to kick your goals to win games of footy and we didn’t do that,” coach Simon Goodwin said.
“We had a bad day and I think when you get five or six players missing it becomes the effect where everyone starts to miss and that’s what we saw.”
Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield was quiet in the first quarter but finished strongly, gathering 36 possessions and kicking three goals.
Joel Selwood, the other half of the vaunted ‘Dangerwood’ double act, was also important with 35 disposals and a goal.
Tom Hawkins was the dominant forward on the ground, finishing with five goals, while Daniel Menzel booted four.
Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones worked tirelessly for his 36 possessions, but was one of the many who were wayward in front of goal, kicking three behinds.
Gawn’s initial prognosis is a standard hamstring tear that will sideline him for around four weeks.