A fast-finishing Geelong has overcome Essendon, kicking five last-quarter goals to record a 12-point win in the AAMI Community Series.

Compounding Essendon's loss was a right quad injury to important playmaker Jordan Ridley in the third term, while Mason Redman sat out the last quarter as the Cats got on a roll.

It looked as if the Bombers were going to make a statement with a strong pre-season win, but ran out of puff as the inaccurate Cats finally found the middle of the sticks to pull clear in the 11.17 (83) to 10.11 (71) result.


The Bombers moved the ball with pace on the ball in the first half, quickly swinging the footy from half-back to half-forward with low, flat kicks, and finding plenty of targets in attack.

CATS v BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats

But on the whole, Essendon's midfield was much sharper for the first three quarters, Zach Merrett (25 touches) and Darcy Parish (34) in fine touch after strong summers, with Sam Durham and Will Setterfield providing grunt at the coalface.

Despite Geelong struggling to get its hands on the footy, it remained in touch on the scoreboard. At half-time, the Bombers had eight players in the top-10 disposal tally, but led by just three points.

Essendon jumped out to a 14-point lead, after which Geelong continued to chip away, but did it in agonising fashion, one behind at a time.

Kyle Langford picked up from where he left off last year, proving to be a constant threat in attack with three goals, while Nic Martin (28) pushed forward to land two of his own.


New faces
Essendon had a host of recruits take to the field. Todd Goldstein played with his customary determination in the ruck and while Ben McKay didn't win a heap of the ball, he provided a strong presence against the Tom Hawkins-Jeremy Cameron combination. Xavier Duursma found plenty of the footy, but looked much better on the wing than when folding back in defence, coughing up two direct goals with panicked moments. Jade Gresham bobbed up on a few occasions.

Round one chance
Nik Cox and Zach Reid played in key defensive roles, and read the ball well, but were occasionally out-muscled by their much more experienced opponents. Elijah Tsatas didn't get much midfield time, given the stacked Bombers engine room, but used the ball neatly on the wing.

Medical room
In a blow to Essendon's relatively young defensive stocks, Ridley suffered a quad injury in the third term, and is expected to miss at least a few weeks. Peter Wright played just the first half due to load management and was replaced by Nick Bryan.

Fantasy watch
You can lock in Nic Martin (MID, $769,000) to gain defender status after round six and you can lock him into your Fantasy team in this role. He covered the ground with ease, doing his best work in the back 50 taking kick-ins, marks and providing drive. His two goals helped him to a game-high 120 points. We saw what we needed from Essendon's midfielders with Zach Merrett (MID, $1,019,000) scoring 91 and Darcy Parish (MID, $965,000) racking up 34 disposals for 103. We could whack Zach Reid (DEF, $253,000) on our bench as a cheap defender. He had probably cemented himself a spot in the best 22 previously, but Ridley's injury makes him more important now. 

GEELONG       3.3     6.9     6.15     11.17     (83)
ESSENDON     4.4     7.6     9.7     10.11     (71)

Geelong: Stengle 3, Hawkins, Stewart, Neale, Holmes, Mannagh, Miers, Dempsey, Close
Essendon: Langford 3, Martin 2, Gresham 2, Stringer, Parish, Hind

Geelong: Holmes, Stengle, Blicavs, Dempsey, Clark, Henry
Essendon: Merrett, Parish, Martin, Langford, McGrath

Geelong: Kolodjashnij (back, TBC)
Essendon: Ridley (quad)

Reports: Nil