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Oppo analysis: R17

hawthornfc.com.au  July 14, 2017 11:48 AM

Last Time We Met: R4 Geelong In our traditional Easter Monday slot, we took on Geelong and despite a close encounter for much of the match, the Cats came away winners in what was our fourth straight loss to start the season. Relive all the highlights of the last time we met the Cats.

The changes

In: S.Selwood, D.Menzel
Out:
W.Buzza, Z.Guthrie 

What to expect 

With the names that Geelong boast in their midfield, there is no surprise that the statistics reflect on-ball dominance for the third-placed Cats.

Ranked third in the competition for clearances, fourth for contested possession and second for tackles, the Cats generate much of their offensive threat from inside the contest. 

An interesting aspect to note is how the Cats are wanting to move the ball, positioned third in the game for average handballs per game and 17th for kicks. 

Only North Melbourne are kicking it less than Geelong, with the Cats having the second lowest kick:handball ratio behind only the Kangaroos. 

Nevertheless, the Cats are having no issues entering forward 50 despite their handballing preference, averaging the fifth most inside 50s per game and being the second-highest scoring side in the competition this year.

The Hawks will look to halt Geelong’s dangerous handball chains if they are to stop the game being played on the Cats’ terms.

Read: Match preview Round 17 

Players to watch

It is a frightening thought to consider.

But many of the statistics back up the idea that reigning Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield has not just made an improvement this year, but taken his game to a whole new level in 2017.

A key element to the 27-year old’s game, his average contested possessions of almost 19 this season, over three touches better than the next best player this year, is an increase of almost three on last year’s rate. 

The Cat also ranks third for total disposals in the league behind Hawk Tom Mitchell and Adelaide’s Matt Crouch, with an average of 31.6 a game. 

But the biggest progression of Dangerfield’s game since his stellar 2016 is his work in front of goals.

The former Crow is averaging 1.8 goals per game, a clear career-high and up by almost an entire goal on last year’s statistics. 

Mitch Duncan is another Cat who has taken his game to another level this season. 

After a previous best season disposal average of 22.8, the 26-year old is averaging 29.2 touches this season, ensuring opposition sides an inevitable headache when coming up against the Cats’ engine room.

Duncan’s 2017 season has seen boosts to almost every other statistical category too, including marks, tackles, rebound 50s, inside 50s, clearances, contested possession and uncontested possession.

Read: Selwood returns