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The Geelong Cats have prevailed against the Essendon Bombers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground by 32 points, kicking 13.8 (86) to 7.12 (54) in front of a 63,527-strong crowd.
The Country Game was the fourth annual contest celebrating rural Australia between the two teams, the latest idea from former VFL-AFL player/coach, Kevin Sheedy.
Geelong continues their stint on top of the ladder with win number six, their only loss of the year coming against GWS three weeks ago.
For the Cats, Mitch Duncan booted three goals, while Tom Hawkins, Gary Ablett Jnr and Tim Kelly all kicked two. Kelly (30 touches) and Ablett (26) dominated the disposals count, alongside Sam Menegola with 28.
Geelong didn’t escape the match without concerns, however, with Esava Ratugolea out with concussion early and Patrick Dangerfield sustaining a knee complaint. Ablett was also reported for an incident involving Essendon midfielder Dylan Shiel in the first quarter.
After winning three games in a row, the Bombers have now lost their last two. However these losses have come against the teams occupying first and second position on the ladder after round seven (Geelong in first and Collingwood in second).
Essendon only had one multiple goal-kicker in this match - Jake Stringer who kicked three. Dylan Shiel (33 disposals), Zach Merrett (29) and Darcy Parish (25) led the way for disposals.
Essendon did, however, manage to escape with a clean bill of health and with no one fined or reported for any incidents.
Next week, Geelong have a chance to tighten their grasp on top spot. They host a North Melbourne team fresh off its second win of the year against Carlton. Meanwhile, Essendon travel to Sydney to take on a Sydney Swans team rooted to the bottom of the ladder.