Bulldogs shine in hot water for headbutt as Cameron’s clinic sees cats clinging

Geelong has held onto the win over the Western Bulldogs thanks to a quick start and a masterclass from Jeremy Cameron, who triumphed by 13 points at Marvel Stadium.

It’s a win that will see Chris Scott’s side in the top four, the conclusion of round 12, as Carlton and St Kilda have the bye, Geelong records their third win at the trot.

It wasn’t a very convincing win, though, with the Cats nearly squandering a six-goal lead to essentially invade.

At this stage of the season, however, it is only the four points that matter, while for the Bulldogs there could be serious consequences for the game.

Star midfielder Bailey Smith is likely to face the Match Review Officer’s wrath after a three-quarter melee incident.

The young star was caught during the broadcast headbutting Geelong defender Zach Tuohy, who reacted in shock and emerged with a cut to his forehead.

Smith was reported to the scene for the headbutt.

“We can’t believe what we’ve seen,” said Melbourne’s amazing Garry Lyon Fox Footy

“It’s just – I’d say – so out of character for a young man who is almost the most prominent footy player in the league.”

Brisbane legend Jonathon Brown agreed, describing the action as a “brain snap”.

Smith only had two touches in the last term after 17 over the first three, perhaps he felt the fear of what he had done.

The last time these two sides met, 50-year-old Gary Rohan kicked to win the match after the siren, and as the match progressed there was every chance of a similarly ravishing finish.

But it didn’t look like that in the beginning as the Cats jumped out of the blocks with a seven-goal first quarter. Jeremy Cameron scored his 500th goal with his second major of the game, then added a third for good measure, giving Geelong a 10-point lead in a quarter of the game.

The running forward was quiet for the next two terms, but had his brilliant moments in the last, finishing with six goals to put one of Charlie Curnow in second place for the Coleman Medal race.

The Dogs were expected to return fire in the second quarter as one of the best teams in the league, and their job was made a little easier when Tom Stewart was out with a concussion.

After nine disposals and six points in the first term, Stewart collided with Bailey Smith’s shoulder and will now miss the next 13 days.

As coincidentally ended 2021, when Stewart went under, the Cats started to crumble. Suddenly Chris Scott’s solid defense looked much shaky.

Sam De Koning was cleared by teammate Tom Atkins, and in the minutes it took him to get up after he was relieved, the hearts of Cats fans were beating in their mouths.

The Bulldogs took full advantage by scoring the last three goals before the main break, as well as the first two afterward to narrow the once significant margin to just 12 points.

As Brownlow medalist Gerard Healy noted, the Cats seemed like a shadow of the free-flowing team they were early in the game.

“They’ve lost all faith in Geelong, they just wither on the vine,” Gerard Healy . told me AFL Nation

“It’s amazing how quickly their performance skills evaporated.”

Heading into the final term, the Cats hadn’t kicked a goal since the fifth minute of the second term, and it looked like they would be overrun if no changes were made.

But it was Cameron who rose again and kicked a further three goals in the final period to increase the Bulldogs’ momentum and almost secure his place as the most influential player on the field.

The Bulldogs are now vulnerable in the top eight and could be knocked out if Collingwood can beat Hawthorn in the MCG on Sunday.

TOTAL SCORE

Western Bulldogs: 1.5, 4.6, 6.9, 10.10 (70)

Geelong: 7.2, 8.6, 8.8, 12.11. (83)

GOALS

Western Bulldogs: Liberatore 2, English, Weightman, Bontempelli, Naughton, Dale, Khamis, McNeil,

Geelong: Cameron 6, Hawkins 2, Duncan, Close, Atkins, Rohan

BEST

Western Bulldogs: Liberatore, Macrae, Bontempelli, Dale, English

Geelong: Cameron, Duncan, Z. Guthrie, Hawkins, Tuohy

Injuries

Western Bulldogs: Weight Man (Back)

Geelong: Stewart (Concussion), The King (Soreness)





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