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The Geelong Cats and Fremantle Dockers have played out one of the lowest scoring matches in AFL history in diabolical conditions at Optus Stadium.
More than 20,000 fans attended the match in which the Cats kept the Dockers goalless for almost three quarters on the way to a 32-point AFL win in a game that has been panned.
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The Dockers didn't score their first goal until the dying minutes of the third quarter of Monday night's match, with Geelong pulling away in the final term to post the 6.12 (48) to 2.4 (16) win in front of 20,251 fans.
Fremantle's final total only narrowly surpassed the club-low 1.7 (13) they posted in a 117-point loss to Adelaide in 2009.
Many are pointing to the reduced 16 minute quarters for low scoring matches this year.
But two of the three lowest scoring games of the AFL era have occurred this season.
Monday nights dour affair followed the Tigers’ win over the Sydney Swans, where only 60 points were scored, marking the second lowest points tally in the AFL era.
While the turnout crowd may have been impressive for a Monday night, fans on social media were worried at the quality of the game.
The game was truly diabolical but it’s hard to complain - at least I have the option to go to one and be part of a crowd. It felt like a guilty privilege just to there. Next time, @freodockers. #AFLFreoCats pic.twitter.com/95j5Av03rz
— Damian Smith (@smith_damian) July 27, 2020
— John Whistler (@johnawhistler) July 27, 2020
— Jack Hudson (@jhudson_10) July 27, 2020
Is it possible for a game to be so ugly that it is actually good? Or is literally anything more entertaining in this current climate?#AFLFreoCats
— sdimsim (@classicdimsim) July 27, 2020
Geelong move to third on AFL ladder
The result lifted Geelong (5-3) up to third on the ladder, while the Dockers (2-6) are 16th.
Geelong forward Tom Hawkins finished with three goals, including two in the final term to kill off Fremantle for good.
Cats midfielder Cam Guthrie (30 disposals, eight clearances) and Mark Blicavs (24 hitouts, 19 disposals, eight clearances) were also crucial in the win.
Cats coach Chris Scott admitted the game wasn’t a spectacle and would have been hard to umpire as well.
"It was hard work for both teams. Hard game to umpire too. It was hard for everyone," Scott said.
"We said at half-time that it was probably the team that cleaned up their mistakes the best (that would win)."
Fremantle midfielder Serong (22 disposals) kept star Cat Patrick Dangerfield to 18 possessions.
Veteran Michael Walters limped off late with what Dockers coach Justin Longmuir hopes is just cramp, but it could be a hamstring issue.
Fremantle suffered a big blow before the match when Brennan Cox was ruled out with hip soreness, leaving them without their best four key defenders.
The Dockers were dealt more bad luck when midfielder Darcy Tucker tore his right hamstring after just three minutes.
"Clearly Geelong handled the conditions better," Longmuir said.
"In that second quarter we lost all structure forward of the ball. We had a lot of players that were trying, it's just that they had more players across the field that were harder and tougher for longer."
Geelong won the inside 50m count 14-5 in the second quarter, but their only goal came courtesy of a Mitch Duncan soccer in the goal square.
The AFL's goal review system had a say in both goals in the third term.
Hawkins was deemed to have gotten a toe nail to the ball just centimetres before the goalline.
And Fremantle finally got on the board when the review system overturned the behind that the goal umpire was going to award for Matt Taberner's 40m set shot.
Remarkably, the Dockers were just 18 points down after Taberner's goal, but Hawkins sealed victory with two goals in the final term.
Geelong won the inside 50m count 47-27 for the match, and clearances 40-31.