June 19, 2024

In just 10 minutes of the third quarter, Tom Hawkins single-handedly turned the game in Geelong’s favor against Adelaide on Friday night. Following that, milestone player Tom Stewart sealed a 19-point victory for Geelong with an outstanding defensive performance.

Adelaide managed to erase an early 25-point deficit and take the lead in the third quarter. However, Hawkins scored three of Geelong’s next four goals, giving his team a comfortable lead.

Despite a strong fourth-quarter push from Adelaide, Geelong held on to win 14.12 (96) to 11.11 (77), securing their second victory of the 2024 season.

In contrast to Hawkins’ rapid impact on the game, it was Tom Stewart who asserted dominance over Adelaide Oval, particularly in his 150th game, orchestrating Geelong’s control of the match throughout the evening. Despite early attention from Luke Pedlar, Stewart made a statement with three crucial intercept marks early on, setting a high standard that he maintained throughout the game.

Stewart achieved an impressive AFL record with 10 intercept marks out of his 28 disposals, showcasing his complete command of Geelong’s defensive efforts. Additionally, his ball distribution was exceptional, boasting a disposal efficiency of 89 percent.

Although Adelaide put up a strong fight until the final moments and had opportunities late in the game to narrow the margin, reminiscent of their performance against Gold Coast last week, it proved insufficient as Geelong maintained control and secured the win.

Gryan Miers delivered a stellar performance for Geelong, contributing three goals from his 26 disposals, which also included two goal assists. Max Holmes (24 disposals), Patrick Dangerfield (23 disposals), and Mark Blicavs (21 disposals) were also impactful players for the team.

Geelong wasted no time asserting control over the enthusiastic home crowd, establishing a 19-point lead by quarter-time. The Cats’ midfield pressured their opponents relentlessly, denying them time and space to operate. With Tom Stewart dominating defensively, Geelong maintained possession in the front half of the ground.

The team’s small forwards capitalized on this advantage. Miers contributed two early goals and set up Jeremy Cameron for another score, while Shaun Mannagh, a mature-age recruit, celebrated a milestone by scoring his first major in elite competition.

Adelaide managed to regain some momentum in the second quarter, scoring two early goals to narrow the margin to eight points. However, they struggled to capitalize further on their opportunities.

Despite generating 24 inside 50s compared to Geelong’s 11 during the term, Adelaide squandered chances due to poor entries and finishing. Chris Burgess notably missed a close-range shot from a slight angle, which could have been a crucial scoring opportunity.

Matt Crouch led Adelaide’s midfield effort with 38 disposals, supported by Rory Laird with 29 disposals and Jordan Dawson with 26 disposals and 12 tackles, showcasing their hard work throughout the match.

The turning point came when Izak Rankine’s goal gave Adelaide the lead, only for Tom Hawkins to respond decisively for Geelong. Hawkins’ set shot from 50 meters, a strong contested mark, and a left-foot snap goal from 30 meters within a 10-minute span shifted the game’s momentum. Ollie Henry also contributed a goal during this chaotic period, silencing the crowd and propelling Geelong towards victory.

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