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Cats smash Pies to advance in AFL finals

Patrick Dangerfield starred in attack as Geelong advanced to a fourth preliminary final in five seasons with a 68-point annihilation of Collingwood.

The Cats held the Magpies to a record-low one scoring shot in the first half and were never challenged in the 15.10 (100) to 5.2 (32) semi-final victory at the Gabba on Saturday night.

The result means the top four will fill the preliminary spots for just the second time in the past six seasons, with Geelong to take on second-placed Brisbane.

Dangerfield crashed packs, created scoring opportunities for teammates and kicked four goals himself, including a pair of stunning banana kicks from the boundary line, in an influential display.

He was far from alone, with Cam Guthrie, Sam Menegola, Tom Stewart and Mitch Duncan all on a long list of strong contributors in a dominant performance by the Cats.

Coleman Medal winner Tom Hawkins kicked four goals and captain Joel Selwood had 18 disposals just eight days after finger surgery, while retiring champion Gary Ablett came off the bench to set up two important early goals.

Geelong led by 54 points at halftime and produced staggering numbers by the final siren in winning the contested possession (106-85), uncontested possession (250-110), mark (134-46), clearance (34-21) and inside-50 (46-30) counts.

“As much as us getting away to a lead in the first half was important, I thought defensively we were really strong as well,” Cats coach Chris Scott said.

“Good teams at the end of the year defend really well.

“You don’t fluke it through to this stage without being a good defensive team.”

Scott expected an arm wrestle, as it had been in previous meetings with Collingwood, but almost everything went right for the Cats from the outset and the Magpies could not buy a trick.

Geelong had 15 scoring shots to one in the first half, including three that hit the post.

It was just the second time Collingwood had managed only one first-half scoring shot in 2567 VFL-AFL matches, having registered the same tally in the 1960 grand final.

“It was as comprehensive a loss that you’re going to see, I would’ve thought,” Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said.

“We fought it out in some shape or form but even that we’re not going to hang our hats on. Geelong were far too good.

“They deserved the win and they deserve to be a couple of wins away from where we wanted to be, and it’s not to be.”

Collingwood midfielder Taylor Adams fought on with his left arm strapped after it was accidentally kicked when his smothering attempt on Rhys Stanley went wrong.

Adams had 17 disposals and four clearances, and was one of few Magpies who could hold their heads high by full-time.

Jamie Elliott kicked Collingwood’s only goal before three-quarter time, with Brody Mihocek kicking two of their four in the final term when the result was already beyond doubt.

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