Zach Tuohy has booted a goal after the siren to hand Geelong a scintillating two-point AFL comeback victory over Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium.
Tuohy’s cool set shot from 35m out capped off a stunning Tom Hawkins-inspired resurgence for the Cats, who overcame a 29-point deficit to post a 16.4 (100) to 14.14 (98) win on Saturday night.
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Hawkins played the game of his life, booting four of his equal career-high seven majors in a dominant final term to put the Cats back on track for an AFL finals berth.
The 198cm spearhead was simply unstoppable in the final term, capitalising on supply from a Geelong midfield that dominated the centre clearances when the game was on the line.
Patrick Dangerfield (28 disposals, two goals), Tim Kelly (32 touches) and Gary Ablett (31) played huge roles in the Cats’ comeback, while Tom Stewart was rock-solid down back.
The win lifts Geelong to seventh on the AFL ladder, trailing the sixth-placed Demons on percentage.
Social media exploded after the match with fans heralding the two-point thriller as one of the great games of AFL.
That game. That was everything, EVERYTHING, that is great about Australian football. #AFLCatsDees
— Benjamin (@ragecherry) July 21, 2018
— Rory (@rspreckles) July 21, 2018
— Tahlia Sinclair (@tahliasinclair) July 21, 2018
Remind me to find footage of that quarter if I ever need to show a foreigner what AFL is all about. Incredible. #AFLCatsDees
— But the VAR was broken (@TomRBlike) July 21, 2018
My phone going off more now than when the Tiges won the flag. The footy world unites in joy. Footy really does bring people together. #aflcatsdees
— Cam Rose (@camtherose) July 21, 2018
Melbourne appeared to be home safe when Tom McDonald’s crumbing goal early in the final term extended their lead to 29 points.
But the Cats turned the tables, Hawkins’ seventh major cutting the deficit to two points before Tuohy sealed the deal after the siren.
Clayton Oliver was typically brilliant for Melbourne, gathering 11 of his game-high 40 disposals in the third term as the visitors piled on five goals either side of three-quarter time.
Brownlow Medal contender Max Gawn took the points in a fiercely-contested ruck battle with Rhys Stanley but enraged Geelong fans after appearing to milk contact from a Stewart bump behind the play.
Gawn dropped to the ground, was paid a free kick and kicked truly late in the third quarter but was booed relentlessly for the remainder of the game.
Dangerfield also courted controversy during the first half.
The Brownlow Medallist nominated himself as the ruckman at a stoppage but was infringed against by an oblivious Angus Brayshaw.
A gobsmacked Gawn and Bernie Vince remonstrated with the umpire but the free kick stood and Dangerfield kicked his second major.
James Harmes held Cats skipper Joel Selwood to just eight first-half disposals in a hard tag and was sent to Dangerfield in the second half but the class of Geelong’s onballers proved too much for the Demons to overcome.