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Geelong forward Stewart Crameri in action during the 100-point win over North Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)
GEELONG has produced its most complete performance of the VFL season-to-date with a clinical 100-point victory over North Melbourne in the curtain raiser.
Lachie Henderson, Cam Guthrie and Scott Selwood all got through the game and had an impact as the Cats pushed their top four credentials with a 21.11 (137) to 5.7 (37) victory at GMHBA Stadium.
But there are concerns over forward Stewart Crameri after he was taken to hospital before the game had finished with an eye injury.
Crameri left the ground in the second quarter after receiving a scratch to the eye in a marking contest and went straight into the rooms for treatment. He had kicked three goals at that stage.
“He’d kicked three goals in a quarter-and-a-half and we were getting the ball in nice and deep to him and he was looking really dangerous,” Geelong VFL coach Shane O’Bree said of Crameri.
O’Bree was pleased by the contributions that Henderson, Guthrie and Selwood made as they begin their returns to AFL level after injuries.
All three sat out the majority of the final term. But by that stage the Cats were almost 20 goals ahead.
“They’d love to be playing AFL at the moment but they understand the process,” O’Bree said of the trio.
“Their impact on the game was pretty high.”
It was Henderson’s first game in 261 days and O’Bree said he, Guthrie and Selwood would look to build up their game time in the VFL next week before the Cats’ mid-season bye.
“Henderson and Guthrie have had big lay-offs and it’s about how we help them get in AFL form,” O’Bree said.
“So there’s no timeframe (on an AFL return). It’s just helping them out as best as we can and they looked really good. They’ve done the rehab work and hopefully it (a call-up) is sooner rather than later.”
The Cats’ pressure was elite and they dominated from virtually the opening bounce. They kept the Kangaroos goalless in the first half and it took until the 27-minute mark of the third term before they kicked their first goal, which came off the boot of former Western Jet Oscar Junker.
It was Geelong’s biggest victory since it beat Frankston by 101 points in Round 18 of the 2016 season.
“All the focus areas we went into the game with we implemented them, especially in the first half; we did that really well,” O’Bree said.
“Pressure was the number one focus. I thought our boys around the contest, we were able to nullify their run and carry.
“I thought our skill execution and our decision making going forward showed by the amount of scoreboard pressure.”
Cory Gregson booted five goals, while Quinton Narkle also kicked three.
Jackson Thurlow amassed plenty of the footy and Ryan Abbott again impressed against an AFL-listed ruckman in Braydon Preuss.
VFL-listed defender Campbell Floyd will come under scrutiny from the AFL Victoria Match Review Panel for a high bump on North Melbourne and ex-Brisbane Lions forward Michael Close in the first term.
The Cats travel to Melbourne next Saturday to take on Port Melbourne.
GEELONG 7.4, 15.7, 19.10, 21.11 (137)
NORTH MELBOURNE 0.2, 0.3, 1.4, 5.7 (37)
Goals; Geelong: C. Gregson 5, S. Crameri 3, Q. Narkle 3, G. Horlin-Smith 2, G. Miers 2, R. Gardner, P. Dowling, S. Dobson, S. Siggins, R. Abbott, T. Atkins
North Melbourne: N. Larkey 3, N. Hrovat, O. Junker
Best; Geelong: C. Gregson, J. Thurlow, R. Abbott, Q. Narkle, T. House, G. Horlin-Smith
North Melbourne: D. Nielson, N. Larkey, N. Rippon, T. Xerri, K. Hayden, F. Cameron