Geelong has survived a David Mundy shot after the siren to defeat Fremantle by two points, reducing the field for the AFL minor premiership to a three-horse race.
In a tense and tough match, the Cats looked to have Fremantle’s measure until they roared back into the contest with a four goal fourth quarter.
After seeing a long Matthew Pavlich bomb hit the post with two minutes to go, Mundy lined up from 50 metres knowing a goal would snatch an unlikely win for the Dockers.
However his shot stayed right of the post, giving the Cats a 12.9 (81) to 11.13 (79) victory.
The win keeps Geelong level with Hawthorn and Sydney with 15 wins each.
While the final term drama ensured this chapter of Geelong and Fremantle’s modern rivalry would live long in the memory, the Cats would be kicking themselves that it got that close.
With captain Joel Selwood imperious, Harry Taylor dominant in the air and Jimmy Bartel menacing across the forward line, the Cats had Fremantle’s number for three quarters.
Last term goals to Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Barlow, Hayden Crozier and debutant Max Duffy set up the grandstand finish.
Before the late drama, the keenly anticipated match-up between Steve Johnson and tagger Ryan Crowley brought plenty of entertainment.
The pair traded blows all night amongst plenty of spot-fires across the ground.
Johnson was a lightning rod for Docker aggression, even needing a replacement guernsey after some attention from Aaron Sandilands.
He will face scrutiny for a kick to Lachie Neale’s head while on the ground, while Travis Varcoe’s punch to Nick Suban’s head could result in an enforced lay-off.
The Dockers brought their famed intensity around the ball to Simonds Stadium, hassling and harassing the Cats.
The congestion ensured a busy night for umpires; there were more free kicks paid than forward 50 entries in the first term.
With the aid of the wind, Geelong were able to set up a night in the lead with a four goal to one first quarter.
The Stevie J show launched into overdrive in the second quarter, the mercurial Geelong star theatrically winning a free kick in the centre square.
Johnson faked the man on the mark, flicking across goal to Andrew Mackie, who let fly to goal from 50.
Fremantle responded, finishing the term stronger, with Nat Fyfe’s leap and goal a highlight.
With half-time stilling the breeze, Bartel and Steven Motlop majors ensured the Cats would maintain breathing space.
The Dockers had their fair share of injury worries, with Luke McPharlin subbed out (calf) and Fyfe (shoulder), Ballantyne (back) and Stephen Hill (ankle) having complaints.