CAT'S COMFY WIN OVER HAWKS GETS SEASON
BACK ON TRACK; UNLUCKY BREAK FOR MCCARTHY
Geelong cruised to a comfortable fifty-five point win over Hawthorn at Telstra Dome yesterday afternoon, returning them to the winners' list and the top three. Boosted by the return of captain Steven King and the inclusion of Paul Kouloriotis, the Cats never looked troubled by the Hawks. Highlights from the match included a Paul Chambers goal (x2), a boundary umpire's 'mutton chops', a Steven King contested mark, and Trent "The Athlete" Croad's shorter than short shorts. But once more the win came at a cost; in just his first game of the season, forward Matthew McCarthy re-injured the same shoulder that plagued his 2004 season, while David Johnson re-injured his troublesome hamstring.
GEELONG: 5.3, 8.7, 13.12, 16.17 (113) DEFEATED
McCarthy surely must be one of the unluckiest going around. He pressed for selection earlier in the season only to break a wrist. After several bags of goals in the VFL side, coinciding with that team's form improvement, McCarthy earned a recall as a replacement for injured marking forward Henry Playfair. McCarthy kicked Geelong's first goal but shortly before quarter time, returned up the player's race for the final time.
David Johnson was also in his first game back, and hindsight, probably shouldn't have been this soon after injuring his hamstring in round eleven. As reported last week, Johnson has taken until this season, his fourth, to establish himself in the side. Johnson made his AFL debut in round one 2002, the same game as Gary Ablett Junior. While Ablett went on to show glimpses of brilliance and play in a VFL premiership that season, Johnson nursed the ankle he broke in his debut game.
The same itself was a largely forgettable affair; certainly the Hawks didn't have that much going for them besides the fantastic comeback by Angelo Lekkas, and glimpses of brilliance by gun recruit Lance Franklin. The match was riddle with skill errors including an unusual eight rushed behinds to the Cats. One could understand young Hawk defenders taking the safety of the goal line when the match was there to be won, but not former captain Shane Crawford not even attempting a clearance when the game was over. How will these players learn if they can't throw caution to the wind in 'junk time'?
Geelong opened the game with a five goal quarter to Hawthorn's one. Lekkas kicked the Hawks' only goal for the quarter while Kent Kingsley was lively early on. McCarthy's loss was ruckmen Paul Chambers and Steven King's gain as they took turns up forward. King kicked one goal and was unlucky not to be awarded serial other marks straight in front, while Chambers provided some of the highlights of the game.
Chambers, long derided as not being the most coordinated of players, was once again, after his efforts against Adelaide in round twelve, a pleasure to watch. His first goal came after great delivery from Darren Milburn. Milburn, who appeared ready to bomb it long on his right, sidestepped his opponent and calmly shot a perfectly weighted, 'lace out' pass in front of a leading Chambers. Chambers then coolly strolled in and slotted the goal from about forty metres out, on a forty-five degree angle. Chambers went on to kick a second goal later in the match.
Joel Corey, in his second game back from a knee injury, is getting back to his best, while full back Matthew Scarlett is just about there already. Scarlett was magnificent across the last line of defence, on the game's leading goal-kicker, Mark Williams. Cameron Ling deserves three votes after a good four quarter performance.
Kingsley had his best game of the season despite missing a couple easier shots at goal. He had over twenty possessions including some key handballs and foot passes resulting in goal. Likewise, Steven King also performed.
Paul Chapman, as he has done regularly this season, was the livewire up forward, with four third quarter goals. Fellow small forward and midfielder Gary Ablett was not quite as busy, well held by his opponent.
After kicking the first three goals of the last quarter, the Cats lead by over eleven goals. But the Hawks went on to kick three goals in 'junk time' to peg the final margin back to inside ten goals.
A pleasing sign for the match committee and Geelong fans alike was the game by young defender Matt Egan. Egan has been told by coach Mark Thompson that he'll have a few games in the side to show what he can do. His spoiling and never say die attitude helped ensure most Hawthorn sorties up forward were quickly repelled. He worked in well with other defenders Cameron Mooney, Scarlett and Josh Hunt. Mooney was excellent, particularly early on, and finally didn't throw a temper tantrum.
The umpiring was quite fair all game, if slightly favouring the Cats. Decisions had no effect on the game hence was a good day for the men in red.
One wag suggested that drug-testing of umpires should be introduced. He was referring to the well manicured facial hair of one of the boundary umpires, who wouldn't have looked out of place on a beach in Torquay on a Friday night with mates. However the likely explanation is that the young umpire was giving his own personal tribute to big Abe Lincoln as his own special forth of July celebration.
Following the win, freed hostage and engineer Douglas Wood joined the team during the song, although it seems a decade out of the country was too long to remember all the words. Wood also spoke at the president's luncheon, revealing some interesting facts that hadn't been forthcoming even on the Channel Ten interview last weekend. MC W. Billy Brownless may yet justify his $100,000+ position at Channel Nine with a gig on Sixty Minutes or the Sunday show.
Next Saturday night Geelong face an in form Sydney Swans unit, fresh from their one point defeat at the hands of Richmond at the MCG on Saturday. With luck Brad Ottens will return but most likely he'll return the week after. Tim Callan will be pressing for selection with the injury to David Johnson, and David Haynes may be the lucky forward to earn a recall to replace the injured McCarthy.
The McCarthy-less VFL team had a twenty-four point loss
to the Coburg Tigers at home on Saturday afternoon, and plays Tasmania
next Sunday at Skilled Stadium. VFL DETAILS
VICE CAPTAIN BRENTON SANDERSON AND DOUGLAS WOOD
JOEL COREY IS RETURNING TO HIS PRE-INJURY FORM
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