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Geelong will look to climb back into the top eight when it hosts Fremantle at the Cattery on Saturday afternoon.

The Cats (9-8-1, 121%), who’ve been in strong form in recent weeks — with last week’s loss to Brisbane their first defeat since Round 14 — welcome back Gary Rohan as they get closer to full strength.

Geelong can also atone for last year’s shock loss to Fremantle down at the Cattery in Round 10, the only game it lost at the venue in 2022.

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They face a Dockers side (7-11, 88.1%) that’s season is all but over as it’ll look to build some confidence in the back half of the season to take into 2024.

This match gets underway at 1.45pm AEST from GMHBA Stadium.

Watch it live on channel 503 from 1.30pm AEST.


There were no late changes, with Mark O’Connor (Geelong) and Ethan Stanley (Fremantle) named the starting subs.

The Cats dominated territory early and conjured the first three scoring shots of the game — the latter a goal to Tyson Stengle after he won a holding the ball free kick against Dockers captain Alex Pearce.

Freo then had its territory dominance, but could only muster two behinds due to slow ball movement and Cats star Tom Stewart dominant in defence with three intercept marks.

Fas transition then helped Geelong kick its second goal of the game — via terrific workrate from Max Holmes, who was rewarded with the major — to help the Cats have a 12-point lead at the major break.

“Fremantle are doing a lot right … but they can’t move the footy,” Fox Footy’s Garry Lyon said, referring to one of the Dockers’ big flaws during their 2023 campaign.

But the Dockers flipped the script with a second-quarter blitz, booting three goals in three minutes to Michael Walters, Michael Frederick and Sam Switkowski — the latter a brilliant checkside finish.

Four-time premiership Hawk Jordan Lewis said Geelong’s defenders looked “vulnerable when they’re turned around”.

Lyon added: “The speed of Frederick and Switkowski is a real issue for the Cats at the moment.”

As the Dockers continued to surge and upped their pressure, the Cats were dealt a big blow with the versatile and durable Mark Blicavs — arguably Geelong’s most important player — limping off with a serious hamstring injury.

After assessment, Blicavs was subbed out of the game for Mark O’Connor.

“That is a bad hamstring, which is just horrendous luck for him and the Cats,” Lyon said.

Ollie Henry got one against the grain for Geelong before Fremantle’s Josh Corbett responded to give his side a one-point lead.

A stunning set-shot goal from Jeremy Cameron gave the Cats a much-needed boost just before the main break, but Corbett responded for Fremantle, which went into half-time with a one-point lead.

“This is a mighty effort,” Lyon said.

Geelong had most of the territory dominant in the third term but was wayward in front of goal, with its first five scoring shots all behinds.

The Dockers, conversely, had one shot: A goal to Sam Sturt.

Cats fans found their voice and their team finally got reward for effort, with Henry marking in the goalsquare and converting to give the Cats a three-point lead.

But Rising Star fancy Jye Amiss took a terrific contested mark and responded with a goal to give Fremantle a four-point lead.

“They’ve had the answers,” Lewis said of the Dockers. “It feels like Geelong are on the ropes … they’re struggling to break through this Fremantle defence and kick ahead.”

But the Cats got the ideal start in the fourth term.

Tom Hawkins took a strong contested mark and converted to give Geelong the lead, before Brad Close snapped a clever major — thanks to a lovely handball from Patrick Dangerfield — to give the Cats breathing space.

“Geelong doing Geelong things,” Fox Footy’s Mark Howard said.

Lachie Schultz responded for Fremantle but the Cats were able to get some time in their forward half, leading to an Isaac Smith snap goal.

But the Dockers just wouldn’t go away, with Frederick pulling off an epic running goal from the pocket to make it a one-point game.

“What an absolutely belter — and they refuse to go away, this Fremantle side,” Lyon said.

Schultz then kicked a terrific snap goal after some quick, direct Dockers ball movement as Fremantle took a five-point lead.

THE 3-2-1 …


This was the injury blow the Cats could least afford so close to the finals.

Dual best and fairest Mark Blicavs appears set to spend several weeks on the sidelines after limping off GMHBA Stadium with an apparent serious hamstring injury.

Blicavs was attempting to tackle Fremantle’s Corey Wagner during the second term when he pulled up short and grabbed at his upper leg.

The 2022 All-Australian star then came from the ground for further assessment but was quickly subbed out of the game.

Blicavs will undergo scans in the coming days. But judging by the way he came off the ground, he’s set for a lengthy sideline stint.

“That is a bad hamstring, which is just horrendous luck for him and the Cats,” Lyon said.

“He could hardly walk when he got off the ground.”

Hawks legend Jordan Lewis added: “That looked nasty … that’s an extended period on the sidelines.”

A gun player who can fill a role on any line for Chris Scott, Blicavs is arguably Geelong’s most important player.

He’s also been one of the Cats’ most durable players, missing just 11 of Geelong’s past 257 matches since debuting in 2013.

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