Gary Rohan leads Geelong to big preseason win over Essendon

Recruits Luke Dahlhaus and Gary Rohan lit up the Geelong attack as the impressive Cats downed Essendon by 28 points in the JLT Series match at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday night.

Ex-Western Bulldogs premiership star Dahlhaus was brought to Geelong in the off-season to improve their forward pressure, while former Sydney dasher Rohan's strongest suit has always been his blistering pace.

Both delivered big-time in the 15.11 (101) to 11.7 (73) win on a night when superstars Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield topped the stats sheets in a perfect final hitout ahead of their home and away season opener against Collingwood on March 22.

Dahlhaus finished with 25 possessions, including a brilliant no-look handball to set up Rohan for a goal early in the third quarter.

More importantly he had a game-high eight tackles.

Never a high-possession winner, Rohan was a model of efficiency, finishing with four goals from six kicks.

Essendon's highest-profile off-season recruit, former Giant Dylan Shiel, was among the Bombers' best players with 25 disposals.

The visitors were also well served by skipper Dyson Heppell, Andrew McGrath and Zach Merrett.

Geelong jumped out of the blocks with the first three goals of the game to Esava Ratugolea, Brandan Parfitt and Rohan.

But the Bombers responded well with the next three majors to take a two-point lead into the first break.

The second quarter was a more one-sided affair with spearhead Tom Hawkins kicking two goals and Gary Ablett rounding out the half with his only goal on a night where he spent much of his time inside the forward 50m arc.

Combative Geelong skipper Selwood was clearly unhappy at having a free kick paid against him by the emergency umpire just before halftime, when Bomber Mark Baguley made the most of a knock to the stomach and crumpled to the turf.

Geelong pushed the margin out to 40 points midway through the third term before the sting went out of the encounter, with both teams mostly going through the motions in the final quarter.

Dangerfield and Gary Ablett both sat out the majority of the fourth term, as did many of the Bombers' bigger names.

Essendon kick off their home and away campaign away to GWS on March 24.