Ben Jensen 3 September 2011

By Ben Jensen COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES V GEELONG CATS GEELONG annihilated Collingwood by an all-time record margin of 16 goals of 96 points at the MCG last night in front of a bumper crowd of 85,705 people. Geelong trailed at the first change but from then on barely let Collingwood believe they were involved in the game, at one stage slamming home eight unanswered goals, and booting ten in the second quarter alone. FINAL SCORES

Any post-match talk the Magpies weren't trying are bulldust, they were simply blown away in that second quarter of magic. Fair enough, after half-time their intensity and skill level dropped off even further as the reality set home this game was dead, but you can't detract from Geelong's performance. West Coast mentor John Worsfold would have been watching the match with interest, noting the unusual setup with Leigh Brown down back and Cameron Wood up forward, as Mick Malthouse went for an untried and now proven unsuccessful line-up. Next Friday or Saturday night Geelong will play Hawthorn and Collingwood West Coast at the MCG in the Qualifying Finals.

Before the bounce Matthew Stokes was a late change for the Cats, believed to be attending a funeral up North, with the ommitted Shannon Byrnes the beneficiary who started as substitute. For the Magpies young Jarryd Blair started as sub in his 33rd career game.

The Cats looked to be blowing their chances in the first 25 minutes of the game, as they amassed five behinds and had one goal disallowed due to an interchange infringement, while the Magpies, pre-wobbling, sent through four goals straight. But two late goals from Dan Menzel and Tom Hawkins left the quarter-time deficit just seven points. Our observations at the time were the Cats kind of got off the hook with those two late goals, avoided a demoralising three or four goal deficit at the first break. Steve Johnson was miss-firing at first but soon got his eye in, his pinpoint pass to Menzel starting the fightback.

We should mention two screamers for the quarter, by Tom Hawkins and David Wojcinski who keeps proving doubters wrong. Hawkins' grab was over a decent sized pack right on the goal-line, and resulted in Geelong's second goal while Wojo's was taken over a lone Magpie player around half-back near the boundary line in front of our perch. Both should feature in the goal of the week debate.

Paul Chapman was the offender in the interchange infringement, which was a pity as James Podsiadly took a fine mark in the goalsquare and slotted it through, with the offence apparently occurring just as Pods was putting boot to ball. Instead the Cats remained goalless despite having far more inside 50s than the Maggies.

From then on it was all Geelong. Brad Ottens and Cameron Ling started in the forward line as Trent West took the centre-bounce. Menzel opened the scoring with his second, was soon joined by Allen Christensen who really had a good night, banging home a brace in just two minutes, the first putting Geelong in front. Pods finally got his goal, a nice big boot from general play just inside 50. Dane Swan showed glimpses of brilliance but tonight profoundly lacked finishing skills. Imagine how fearsome and bikie-enforcer-like Josh Hunt would look if he had sleeve-like tattoos as the two Danes do? Scary thought!

The funnest goal was Andrew Mackie's at the 18 minute mark. On a run through the corridor, Mackie accepted a handpass and as is his signature move, from one step slammed it home from around 52m out, saluting the crowd and teammates literally a nano-second after his boot his the ball. He continued on his follow-through another 20m or so with his salute before bolting to the bench, all up around a 150m run. Total silence from out spot other than the Geelong fan next to me. Time to mention we bought 'restricted view' seats at the last minute, which happened to be in a 100% Collingwood area - the Magpies Social Club on level 2 of the Ponsford Stand!

By this stage the scent of Cougar Bourbon was overwhelming, but it was quite an elixir as the Cats continued slamming home goal after goal, to muted groans of the 'posh' Magpie supporters (I use the term loosely and you have to understand everything is relative). Collingwood's only goal of the quarter was politely applauded, Chris Dawes' second of the match. Soon after though a lot of the Wobblers headed for the bar, as first Christensen then Menzel registered their third goals of the match well before half time. Goals to Chapman and Johnson finishing off the misery for the Wobblers, the Cats in front by 50 points at the main break.

Best players in the first half for the Cats were Travis Varcoe who had the ball on a string, Menzel, Christensen, Matthew Scarlett, Andrew Mackie and Harry Taylor down back, West in the ruck, James Kelly in the middle keeping Swan quiet, Chapman, and Selwood also on the ball. Johnson, after an auspicious start, was solid and covered a lot of ground as did Podsiadly. Hard to see room for Cameron Mooney in the side with Pods and Hawkins playing well together, supported by Ottens and West.

With three of the first goals of the half, any thoughts of a come-back of sorts from the Magpies to make things competitive were blown away by the Cats, Hawkins, Menzel and Travis Varcoe. We had a bit of a chuckle as the two goals from the Magpies for the quarter were rowdily applauded, I suppose it's better than the alternative: getting stuck into your own side. Still, a fair few of the Magpies Social Club departed. The first was a wheelchair bound member behind me, we heard a 'beep beep' and discovered it was the reversing alarm. The game well and truly dead by three quarter time, Geelong just the four goals for the quarter, in front by 67 points. Menzel booted his fifth of the game, securing his spot for the finals.

Geelong rounded out the game in style in the last term, booting six goals to one. Chapman had a couple, Pods and Johnson their second apiece and Wojcinski added an exclamation point to the already humungous margin with a goal after the siren to make the margin 16 goals.

Selectors certainly have a tough week ahead deciding who needs to make way if as expected Joel Corey, Matthew Stokes and Tom Lonergan are all available for selection. Looks like Mooney's not coming back so we can discount him for now. Byrnes is an obvious omission for Stokes while one of Mitch Duncan, Allen Christensen or Darren Milburn may make way for Corey. Lonergan, left out tonight, might just make his way back in to play on Lance Franklin next week against who he has a good record. Milburn or even Josh Hunt and Trent West might find themselves under pressure in this case.

Finals tickets go on sale Monday, while registration for Grand Final tickets will take place on Thursday 15 September. Carn the Cats!


GEELONG: 2.5, 12.8, 16.15, 22.17 (149) DEFEATED
COLLINGWOOD: 4.0, 5.0, 7.2, 8.5 (53)

GEELONG: Menzel 5, Christensen 3, Chapman 3, Hawkins 2, Johnson 2, Podsiadly 2, Varcoe 2 Duncan, Mackie, Wojcinski
COLLINGWOOD: Dawes 2, Beams, Krakouer, Pendlebury, Blair, Fasolo, Wood

: Kelly, Menzel, Chapman, Bartel, Johnson, Enright, Christensen, Duncan
COLLINGWOOD: Reid, Pendlebury, Swan, Beams

: Taylor (quad)
COLLINGWOOD: Cloke (knee), Tarrant (ankle)

: Matthew Stokes out for Shannon Byrnes (family leave)
COLLINGWOOD: Cloke (knee), Tarrant (ankle)


FIELD: Chris Donlon (1) Shaun Ryan (25) Jacob Mollison (32) EM: Stefan Grun (13)
BOUNDARY: Mark Foster Robert Haala Chris Gordon Chris Roberts
GOAL: David Dixon Luke Walker EM: David Flegg

CROWD: 85,705 at MCG, Melbourne

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IN: Duncan, Milburn
OUT: Byrnes, Lonergan
CHANGES: Byrnes in for Stokes (family leave)

IN: Ball, Tarrant, Wellingham
OUT: Thomas (suspended), Davis, Young

B: J.Hunt, Scarlett, Milburn
HB: Enright, Taylor, Mackie
C: Bartel, Ling, Wojcinski
HF: Johnson, West, Varcoe
F: Hawkins, Podsiadly, Chapman
FOLL: Ottens, Kelly, Selwood
INT: Stokes, Duncan, Menzel, Christensen, Byrnes
EMER: Byrnes, Motlop, Guthrie

B: Toovey, Reid, O'Brien
HB: Johnson, Tarrant, Goldsack
C: Beams, Wellingham, Didak
HF: Sinclair, Brown, Fasolo
F: Sidebottom, Cloke, Ball
FOLL: Jolly, Pendlebury, Krakouer
INT: Swan, Wood, Dawes, Blair
EMER: Buckley, Rounds, Macaffer

AFL 2011, ROUND 24







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