GOLD Coast’s AFL trip to Geelong has proved a costly one, with young gun Matt Rowell injured in a 37-point loss at GMHBA Stadium.
The Suns delivered a tenacious performance – with three on the bench after Rowell’s first-quarter shoulder injury – but faded late on Saturday evening to go down 13.11 (89) to 8.4 (52).
It was a fitting celebration for the Cats, who were marking Joel Selwood’s 300th AFL game and Gary Ablett’s 350th.
Lachie Weller had the Suns off to the perfect start, drawing first blood with a long goal on the run.
But from there, Geelong threatened to break the game open, responding with a run of four-consecutive goals to take a 19-point lead into the first break.
Rowell left the field early in the first quarter, injuring his shoulder in a tackle from Brandan Parfitt, and took no further part in the game.
Tom Hawkins was dominant early for the Cats, booting three first-half goals, while youngster Ben King kicked three for the Suns.
Gold Coast have been a persistent outfit this year and Saturday’s clash was no exception.
The Suns fought back in the second quarter before Sam Day put them in front with the first goal of the third term.
But the experienced Cats capitalised on some untidy errors from the visitors, seizing control late in the quarter.
Sam Menegola (23 disposals) was superb for the Cats, while Hawkins (three goals, 17 disposals) and Selwood were among their better performers.
Young tall Esava Ratugolea’s contested marking stood out across the night.
For the Suns, Hugh Greenwood (21 disposals, 11 tackles) and David Swallow (22 disposals) worked hard all night.
Geelong kicked on from a 15-point lead at the final change, booting three goals while keeping the Suns scoreless to run out comfortable winners.
The Cats had two late reasons to celebrate, with former Saint Jack Steven kicking his first major for the club, before Ablett marked his milestone with a spectacular long-range goal.
The result leaves both clubs sitting at 3-1, ahead of their respective trips to Sydney for Round 6.
(C) AAP 2020
GEELONG 4.3 5.6 10.7 13.11 (89)
GOLD COAST 1.1 5.2 8.4 8.4 (52)
Goals: Geelong: T Hawkins 3 B Parfitt 2 E Ratugolea G Ablett G Miers G Rohan J Steven L Dahlhaus P Dangerfield S Menegola. Gold Coast: B King 3 L Weller 2 S Day 2 A Sexton.
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Leigh Haussen, Leigh Fisher.
Venue: GMHBA Stadium.