By Justin Flynn
If not for a Max Gawn blunder in front of goal Geelong would have started the season winless going into round four.
Of course Gawn did miss and the Cats got up in round one, but it highlights the evenness of the competition this season.
At one win and two losses, Geelong faces a St Kilda team that appears dysfunctional in its forward half and completely devoid of confidence.
However, the Western Bulldogs were in a similar situation last week and came out and defeated an Essendon team that many had earmarked for a potential top four spot come the end of the season.
Joel Selwood will become Geelong longest serving captain in the club’s history when he leads the team for the 143rd time, surpassing the great Reg Hickey.
Selwood played his 200th senior game in round one.
The Cats will be without Gary Ablett for at least three weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury during the loss to West Coast.
The little master hobbled off at the new Perth Stadium and took no further part in the game.
No time is a good time for an injury, but it means Ablett will have to wait until he plays his homecoming game back at Kardinia Park.
Geelong finished the contest with one fit player on the bench and did amazingly well to get itself back into the contest by three quarter time, but the Eagles ran over the top of a depleted Cats’ outfit.
However there was massive positive to come out of the match.
Young tall Esava Ratugolea announced himself on the big stage with a terrific game in the ruck and looks to be a beast in contested ball.
The Saints are one win and two losses and are desperate for four points given that they were tipped by many to return to finals footy this season.
Coach Alan Richardson said he has been pleased with his side ball movement from defence to half-forward, but was falling down badly when the ball got past the 50-metre line.
Look for Richardson to tinker with his line-up this week.
“There were some guys in pretty good form for Sandringham on the weekend that played well and had a good win, so we’ll look at that,“ Saints general manager of football Simon Lethlean said.
“We made some changes last week that worked well with Coffield, Marshall and a few others coming in.
“We’ll look to bring more contest to the team and put on a good show against the Cats in Geelong“.
Geelong meets St Kilda on Sunday at GMHBA Stadium with a 4.40pm start.
Home ground advantage is massive for the Cats and they won’t drop this one.
Cats by 27 points.