Ablett magic silences Roos jeers
ON paper, it was a Mother's Day mismatch - first verses 17th on the ladder.
As brothers Chris and Brad Scott faced off in the coaches box, Geelong again showed why they are the competition leaders and flag contenders after fighting off every North Melbourne challenge.
The Cats romped to their fourth straight win to keep their one-game buffer at the top of the table with a 24-point win at Marvel Stadium, while the Kangaroos came back to earth after their big win over Carlton last week.
Without captain Joel Selwood again, the Cats flaunted their midfield depth and dangerous attack as Gary Ablett, Tim Kelly and Tom Hawkins all played starring roles for the Cats.
Ablett and Hawkins had four goals apiece, while Kelly was brilliant with 36 disposals, two goals and 21 contested possessions.
The Cats repelled major challenges from North twice in the second half - in the third quarter when the Roos cut the margin to 10 points and in the last quarter when they pushed to within 12 after a series of costly misses that could have pushed them in front of Geelong.
But some brilliance from Ablett, first with an amazing checkside goal and then a set-shot goal, sealed the victory for the Cats.
But there could be fallout for Geelong and Ablett, who could again face scrutiny form the match review officer again for a second-quarter incident.
After having his one-match ban for striking Essendon's Dylan Shiel downgraded to a fine at the tribunal last week, Ablett could face scrutiny again from the match review officer for a second-quarter incident.
Ablett awkwardly collected North Melbourne's Sam Wright high off the ball with his right forearm near half-forward and had a free kick awarded against him.
After successfully avoiding the first suspension of his career, Ablett's latest incident is sure to be a talking point again.
The two-time Brownlow medallist was jeered at times by North Melbourne fans early in the match - even before the Wright incident - only for the Geelong fans to drown them out.
North's Sam Durdin could also be in trouble for his heavy hit on Gary Rohan that floored the Cat and ended his match in the third quarter.
Before Sunday's clash, North Melbourne forward Ben Brown had kicked only five goals in six games against Geelong - but he doubled that on Sunday.
In a much-anticipated match-up against Geelong's in-form defender Mark Blicavs, it looked like the stingy Cat was going to have the upper hand after holding Brown to just the one goal in the first half.
But Brown exploded midway through the third quarter to kick three straight goals and put North right back into the contest.
He made a mess of another chance in the last quarter, but added one more in the last quarter as North made one last charge to finish with five majors for the match.
Blicavs, a dual club best-and-fairest, had conceded just 11 goals for the season so far coming into the match against the Kangaroos.
There had been intrigue over Geelong selection after skipper and gutsy midfielder Selwood, who missed the previous round against Essendon, was named as an emergency for the match.
The questions were answered when Selwood was named as a late inclusion for Sam Menegola (knee) when the final teams were named before the match.
But less than half an hour later, the Cats swung another change when Selwood was pulled from the team and replaced by young midfielder Charlie Constable.
After questions over his fitness during the week, Patrick Dangerfield, who hurt his knee against the Bombers last week, took his place in the side with his left knee heavily strapped.
He was straight into the action with a long-range set shot to give Geelong the first score of the game and finished among the Cats' best with 27 disposals and one goal.
Young North Melbourne forward Curtis Taylor made his AFL debut on Sunday against the Cats, with the 19-year-old finishing without a goal.
Taylor came into the side for key defender Scott Thompson, who failed to recover from an adductor injury he suffered in last week's win over Carlton.
The Kangaroos traded up the draft order to secure Taylor with the No.46 selection overall in last year's national draft.
North was forced to make another late change on Sunday to its selected side with Sam Durdin coming into the team for Marley Williams, who missed for personal reasons.
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.5 4.8 9.8 11.14 (80)
GEELONG 3.0 8.3 14.6 16.7 (103)
North Melbourne: Brown 5, Larkey, Zurhaar, Polec, Wood, Thomas, Higgins
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Ablett 4, Kelly 2, Clark 2, Rohan, Miers, Dahlhaus, Dangerfield
North Melbourne: Higgins, Cunnington, Brown, Atley, Macmillan, Goldstein
Geelong: Kelly, Ablett, Duncan, Hawkins, Dangerfield, Clark
North Melbourne: Nil
Geelong: Rohan (concussion), Stewart (neck), Atkins (hamstring)
Umpires: Brown, Whetton, Ryan
Official crowd: 21,156 at Marvel Stadium
Rebecca Williams' votes: 3. Tim Kelly (Geelong), 2. Gary Ablett (Geelong), 1. Mitch Duncan (Geelong)