CATS PUSHED BY SUNS IN FIRST MATCH
GEELONG fans were given an almighty fright last night as the Gary Ablett-led Gold Coast side pushed the Cats for three quarters before the Cats pulled away with a nine goals to one final quarter to win by 52 points. The Cats led by just under three goals early in the second half but five unanswered goals from the Suns including two from Campbell Brown gave them a two goal lead.
Geelong snatched back a one point lead before the Gold Coast leveled the scores just before the three quarter time siren. Jimmy Bartel set the scene for the final term with a crafty snap one minute in, his side booting four in a row. The run was only stopped by one of the better goals seen at this ground yet, Ablett gathering the ball just in front of our vantage point right on the boundary facing the ground, and off literally no steps booted the ball to his left with perfect accuracy, the crowd mostly applauding the efforts.
Nathan Vardy's comeback game was great to watch his first goal a highlight as the near-2m tall forward picked the ball up from his bootlaces, evaded one or two tacklers before slamming the goal home confidently from about 30m out with a damp ball. Mitch Duncan was the pick of the best on ground for the Cats by many punters on Twitter, for ours slightly eclipsed by Bartel who unlike most of the season down back spent most of the game up forward. Ablett was certainly the pick of the Suns' players and probably best afield but he was by no means alone, the Suns showing plenty of class and would leave most walking away expecting them to play finals footy within a season or two.
30,082 people packed into the expanded stadium, the largest crowd at the ground and first over 30,000 since the bumper 32,808 against Essendon in 1993. The Cats face the other 'expansion' team Greater Western Sydney at Skoda Stadium next Saturday afternoon in the first of the split rounds for the season with only six matches taking place. Earlier in the day the VFL side had a win over Essendon at Windy Hill, taking their record to six and two giving them second spot on the ladder behind Casey Scorpions. VFL RESULT
3.2, 6.6, 9.10, 18.15 (123) DEFEATED
FIELD: Gary Fila (12) Heath Ryan (14) Shane McInerney
(30) EM: Jason Armstrong (26)
CROWD: 30,082 at Simonds Stadium
PRE-MATCH TIP: "Cats by 53 points"
ESSENDON V GEELONG
SATURDAY 1 JUNE 2013 13:00 AEST
5.7, 9.12, 11.15, 18.17 (125) DEFEATED
GROUND: Windy Hill, Essendon