Dangerfield sparks Cats to crucial win over Pies
ALONGSIDE Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield forms half of the most productive match-winning duo in the league.
"Dangerwood" has saturated the market but it does not mean the term is any less relevant.
Flying solo, Dangerfield is no less impressive. If anything, his feats are even more remarkable.
The Brownlow Medallist, whose MCG performance on Saturday may yield him three ultimately futile votes, was simply outstanding in his side's 11-point victory over Collingwood.
He was quiet in the first half and it was no surprise that the Magpies had the better of the Cats as a result.
His output almost always reflects his team's. Sometimes this is a curse for Chris Scott, but on Saturday it was ultimately a luxury.
"He started slowly," Western Bulldogs great Brad Johnson said on Fox Footy.
"But then he got his game together and so did Geelong. He loves the contest. You see him on the ground, jumping up and loving the scrap in there."
The Cats trailed by 23 points at quarter-time and three points at half-time. But they needed an exclamation point to drive a wedge into Collingwood. They required a player or two to stand up and change the flow of the match.
That player was Dangerfield, with loyal allies Zach Tuohy, Mitch Duncan and Sam Menegola in tow.
He amassed 13 disposals in the third term before booting the goal that put Geelong in front of Collingwood halfway through the last quarter.
For the 12th time in 2017, Dangerfield finished with 30 or more possessions. Of his 32 touches, 24 were contested. By comparison, there were 43 other players on the field and none of them had more than 14 contested disposals.
It seems like a weekly ritual, but this was a masterclass worthy of the four points Geelong eventually received to keep its top-two hopes alive.
"It was a huge game from Patrick Dangerfield," Johnson said.
"He was the difference once again,. The way he was able to break out of those stoppages and the congestion, we know he has the power in the legs to do that."
The MCG was uncharacteristically muddy on Saturday, which played into Dangerfield's hands. For him, the uglier the conditions the more he relishes the contest.
Speaking to Fox Footy post-match, the 27-year-old didn't shy away from what the win meant for his team.
Assuming GWS defeats West Coast, the second spot on the ladder will come down to the Cats' clash against the Giants next weekend. That will determine where the qualifying final is played a fortnight later.
But for the aforementioned equation to come into play, a win over Collingwood was necessary.
"It wasn't a great start for us and that is something we need to look at, but the way the players rallied after that was special, especially given we knew what was on at the end for us," Dangerfield said.
"It's not like we went into the game trying to shield our eyes from the carrot that is winning this game.
"To achieve it is pleasing. It wasn't pretty but at the end of the day a win is a win."
The only sour point may be that Dangerfield's performance increases the likelihood of an awkward Monday night medal ceremony in grand final week.