NIGHT FOOTBALL COMES TO SIMONDS STADIUM;
GEELONG V GOLD COAST
THE ELECTRIC BUZZ of night football came to Geelong for the first time at Simonds Stadium on Saturday June 1 in a historic match for the region. Two years after the Gold Coast and Geelong christened the opening of Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast in what was described as a great advertisement for the AFL in Queensland, the round 10 fixture in 2013 under the bright lights at Simonds Stadium was the hottest ticket in town.
As a spectator and a Gold Coast resident in 2011, the match at Metricon Stadium between both sides will be etched in my memory for some time for pure excitement and compelling football. There are plenty similarities between Geelong and the Gold Coast Suns; The AFLs two only regional teams in the competition, both teams are based on the confines of the coast, both teams play their home games at their own stand alone venue.
The other major similarity is both teams have been home to Gary Ablett Junior, whose legend status in the game continues to grow. Ablett, now playing for the Gold Coast Suns, kicked arguably the goal of the year with a majestic overhead snap on goal from an acute angle at the Southern end of Simonds Stadium. Those lucky enough to see Abletts goal in front of the newly redeveloped Players Stand were mesmerized, even the most passionate Geelong fans applauded his brilliance.
Getting to the game was a journey itself. I walked in from East Geelong Football Club after parking my car. The streets were lined with cars, even the queues were packed outside the ground, the only dampener was the delayed arrival entering Simonds Stadium. As I waited to gain entry, the pre-match fireworks could be heard and seen from far and wide.
A magnificent sight inside and outside the ground. The anticipation in the minutes leading up to the start of the first night game in Geelong was exciting and although the colder temperatures and misty rain stayed around, you could not dampen the spirits and enthusiasm of the sell out crowd most of who were there to support Geelong.
The game itself
proved to be a tussle from the start with the young Gold Coast Suns
showing pace and dash and giving the crowd some real entertainment value
against the highly fancied Cats on their home surrounds.
In front of a packed crowd of 30,082 the Cats never really got their A-Grade going until last the quarter, the youthful Suns looked more impressive than the home side for the first three quarters. While Geelong led by eight points at half time, five unanswered goals from the Gold Coast in the third quarter silenced the parochial home crowd.
The visitors led by 12 points during the third quarter. That was before the Cats class prevailed in the last quarter where they booted nine goals to the Suns one major coming from ex Geelong player Gary Ablett. Experienced Geelong midfielder, Jimmy Bartel showed his class in the wet and slippery conditions with 30 possessions and kicked three goals.
Exciting new recruit
Mark Blicavs showed maturity beyond his years with 20 disposals, 13
hit outs and one goal.
In the end, it was a great night for football in Geelong!
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
ESSENDON V GEELONG
SATURDAY 1 JUNE 2013 13:00 AEST
5.7, 9.12, 11.15, 18.17 (125) DEFEATED
GROUND: Windy Hill, Essendon