Dangerfield lifts Geelong to tight win over Saints

Shayne Hope |

Patrick Dangerfield clinched a thrilling eight-point win for Geelong over St Kilda.
Patrick Dangerfield clinched a thrilling eight-point win for Geelong over St Kilda.

Geelong coach Chris Scott took Patrick Dangerfield’s long-range sealer in the Cats’ eight-point win over St Kilda as a sign the superstar veteran is primed for a big AFL season.

The Saints had threatened to pull off an incredible comeback at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night when three goals in time-on of the last quarter got them back within one point in a low-scoring contest.

But Dangerfield took an intercept mark and belted home a stunning set shot from 55 metres with 35 seconds left to play to seal a thrilling 10.16 (76) to 9.14 (68) victory.

Dangerfield had 25 disposals and eight clearances in an influential performance and was well supported by younger teammates Max Holmes, Tanner Bruhn and Jhye Clark in the engine room.

Scott found it “interesting” that Dangerfield took the match-winning shot rather than passing the ball and said he wouldn’t recommend players attempting to score in that situation.

But he saw the 33-year-old champion’s nerveless execution as a huge positive.

“We were confident with Patty’s pre-season that he was at least going to give himself a chance to play as well as he ever has,” Scott said.

“That was a really good sign for us – and I know it was a shot for goal – but there have been versions of Patty in the past where he’s been a little bit limited and he just would’ve been too fatigued to make the distance with that shot.

“I might be clutching at straws a little bit, but I think it’s a good sign that he’s in good shape.

“There wouldn’t be many players in the competition that would back themselves to even make the distance in that situation.

“It was an interesting decision because if you take the long shot and it’s rushed through, the opposition get the ball back and it can be hard to defend.

“But he backed himself to kick it and that’s why the great players are the great players.”

Jeremy Cameron
Jeremy Cameron kicked two brilliant first-half goals from near the boundary line. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

A record GMHBA Stadium crowd of 39,352 was on hand as the Cats officially opened the new Joel Selwood Stand and they celebrated in style through Jeremy Cameron, who dazzled with two first-half goals from the boundary line.

The first began on the wing and finished with Cameron standing on the boundary fence pumping his fist to the home fans.

Holmes tallied 24 touches and 683 metres gained, while Bruhn shook off an early ankle complaint to finish with 20 disposals and six clearances.

Young forward Ollie Dempsey showed his class in attack with three goals and nine score involvements.

Geelong dominated territory, leading to a lop-sided 63-44 inside-50 count, but could never kick away from their opponents, who were potent on the counter-attack at times.

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon felt his side was lucky to stay in the contest.

“I’ll tell you what I do know; the phone in the coaches’ box is very sturdy because it got a work-out,” Lyon said.

“I haven’t banged the phone like that in years. It was very therapeutic.

“But I was frustrated because this group’s been very predictable in delivering what we want to and for whatever reason we were quite inconsistent with our method in the different phases of the game.”

Tim Membrey
Tim Membrey kicked three goals for the gallant Saints. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

St Kilda slumped to a 12th straight loss in Geelong, where they haven’t won since 1999.

Saints captain Jack Steele (25 disposals, nine clearances) fought hard in a losing cause and Tim Membrey kicked three goals, with Max King and debutant Darcy Wilson adding two each.

AAP