From Warrnambool Standard
Reported by Aidan Fawkes
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ONE of Warrnambool’s favourite sons made a successful homecoming as VFL club Geelong slogged its way to victory against Coburg yesterday.
Simon Hogan, a former Blues junior, returned to Reid Oval to help the Cats run away from the Tigers, 10.21 (81) to 5.5 (35), on a chopped-up playing surface.

The AFL-listed ball-carrier had a modest day as he continued the road back from injury, but he was pleased to catch up with familiar faces at the club.

“First game back here in about six years. It’s nice nothing’s changed around the place,” Hogan said post-match.

“It reminds me of playing my junior footy here. It’s good to come home and see a few people and play on the ground I trained and played on every week.

“I remember not being too worried about the mud (but) I’ve been used to playing on some pretty good grounds lately. The Reid has always been a great oval but that muddy patch in the middle makes it hard.”

Geelong was ultimately a comfortable victor in front of about 800 people, but had to rely on a wind-assisted 6.9 to 0.0 final term to get it over the line.

But the third quarter, when Matthew Knights’ men outscored Coburg 2.3 to 1.1 against the gale — which included a goal to former Koroit footballer Dominic Gleeson — laid the foundation for the late rush.

Forward-turned-defender Mitch Brown took at least five marks to repel the Tigers during the period and was best on ground.

But he had support from Colac’s Jonathan Simpkin and Shannon Byrnes — two small, rugged onballers who relished the conditions.

Dawson Simpson was also important as the dominant ruckman against Angus Graham, Andrew Browne and Tom Derickx and helped the Cats to win the clearances 45-30.

Daniel Venditti was a clear stand-out for Coburg, which failed to score enough goals with the wind.

Hogan said the performance was “a great fighting win” but said the conditions did little to help his chances for an AFL recall.

He has played four VFL matches in a row as he reconditions his body following a month out of the game with calf and Achilles problems.

“It doesn’t help us at all, really,” he said of the AFL-listed Cats who played yesterday.

“Unfortunately the last three games I’ve had were in wet, muddy conditions. It does make it tough but we have to play the games we have.

“For me, coming back from three weeks off in the middle of the season, it’s good getting back playing but it’ll be good playing in cleaner conditions where I can get more confidence in my skills.”

“It’s hard to walk off feeling good about your game when it’s a bit of a scrapheap.”