Joel Corey of the Cats is tackled by Matthew Boyd of the Bulldogs during the round nine AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Geelong Cats at Etihad Stadium
Joel Corey of the Cats is tackled by Matthew Boyd of the Bulldogs during the round nine AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Geelong Cats at Etihad Stadium Quinn Rooney - Getty Images

Cats claw past Dogs

GEELONG relied heavily on the influence of Steve Johnson to avoid slipping dangerously out of finals contention with a hard-fought 20-point victory over a wasteful Bulldogs on Friday night.

The welcome 14.11 (95) to 11.9 (75) win arrested a two-game losing skid for the reigning premier, but after yet again being well beaten in contested possessions and clearances, the Cats were let off the hook thanks to some costly misses in front of goal by the Dogs.

Geelong jumped out to an early three-goal lead with Johnson running free off half-forward in the first half before the classy veteran turned half-back orchestrator in the second to hold off the Bulldogs' surge.

Johnson finished with 36 disposals and 14 marks while fellow premiership star Paul Chapman also stood tall with two goals and 27 touches as the Cats moved to 5-4 and into the eight.

Cats defender Harry Taylor said Johnson's elite work rate was on full display.

Read the full match report at ABC news online.



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