Ben Jensen 5 May 2009

By Ben Jensen AFL 2009 ROUND 6 MELBOURNE DEMONS V GEELONG CATS GEELONG again outclassed an opposition in Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday , but will miss Brownlow favourite Gary Ablett for three weeks with a groin injury.

While The Cattery was tracing family history in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Cats were running rings around the Demons, who in fairness got a lot closer than the Lions did the week before at Skilled Stadium. Geelong led at every change to win by forty-three points, but it may yet come at a great cost in the longer term for Gary Ablett. The midfield maestro was below par and spent the final quarter on the bench as fellow class midfielders Paul Chapman, Joel Selwood and 2007 Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel kept things ticking over.

The reasons for Ablett's benching were revealed afterwards, it being confirmed he would miss up to three weeks with a groin complaint. In the VFL the 'Bendigo Bank Cats' were overran by an experienced Port Melbourne side in the final term to go down by two goals after leading by fifteen points at three quarter time. They remain winless down the bottom of the ladder, third last on percentage from Frankston and Bendigo. James Podsiadly, formerlly of Werribee Tigers fame (literally) kicked a bag of five to go with his three in round one. The other two multiple goalkickers, Ben Johnson and Scott Beattie, were also VFL only listed players ('top up' players if you like, but we don't).

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As eluded to earlier, we were not able to watch nor listen to the game live, being on the road for the weekend in Denmark. But fortunately thanks to what we can only presume to be Channel Seven's intervention, we were able to watch the game online. Initially I wasn't looking forward to it, given the winning margin looked so-so compared to last week. But we were in for a treat of sorts.

For once, a hyped-up Channel 7 pre-game promo actually lived up to the hype; a video collage juxtaposing Garys Senior and Junior and about either's ability to pull a crowd conjured up images of various other father-son personality cults such as the Two Kims in North Korea and the Two Marks at Ansett. I digress; 'The Artistry of Ablett' as it was billed actually started off on script, little Gary kicking his first goal within literally NINE seconds. After a slightly wayward bounce, Mark Blake knocked the ball forward. Ablett, who was already moving at speed, grabbed the ball, bounced once three metres from the edge of the square and when he kicked (6 seconds gone) was just inside fifty. As Bruce pointed out a minute or so later, it was his 200th career goal. Next ballup he had two Melbourne players (one to hold each hand), but there was not a lot they could do to hold him at bay.


While we're still on the pre-match, the highlights from 2007 were illuminating; up front was not only Cam Mooney but one Nathan Ablett; he really only spent the year in that spot but it's clear the Cats still haven't convinced fans, and maybe not themselves, they're sorted out the second tall just yet.

The Cats' second and 'The Camster' Mooney's first was created by David Wojcinski, who is now officially 'back'. Wojcinski ingeniously won the ball within Melbourne's half, took two bounces and disposed of the ball 60 metres from goal. The result was by no means certain however, Mooney marking right on the goalline between the goal and behind posts, the goal a confidence builder for the 2007 All Australian.

After ten minutes of messing around by the Cats and good, honest footy from the Dees, Melbourne hit the front with their second from Mitch Morton, with two minutes to go in the quarter. Unfortunately for Morton, his kick out on the full in Geelong's forward pocket helped Mooney to his second and the Cats to the quarter time lead.


The opening five minutes of the second quarter pretty much belonged to the Dees, but it was Steve Johnson who broke the deadlock, accepting a handpass from Joel Corey just outside fifty and running on for a goal. Geelong's second a couple minutes later was sparked by Tom Hawkins, who took possession on the lead under pressure, handballing to a free man (Wojcinski) who spotted out Travis Varcoe in the goalsquare.

With eleven minutes to go the Cats had piled on three goals to the Demons' none, to lead by twenty-four points. Unfortunately inaccuracy was setting in, Mooney and Hawkins each missing getable shots at goal, for just one behind between them.

As with last week, the Melbourne president, former great and Brownlow medallist Jim Stynes, was shown sitting with regular 'punters' (punters with tweed hey?) in the style seen recently by English sports retailer Mike Ashley at Newcastle games. Incidentally the side wearing a sinful strip is about to get relegated, something that would have happened to the Dees by now had we had such as system. Good luck to him. He gave a rousing "Yeah! Yeah!" when Russell Robertson kicked his 400th goal for the club.

David Johnson, in his second game of the season, had plenty of involvement in setting up play from the backline, along with Matthew Scarlett and Corey Enright. Darren Milburn also did his best to demonstrate that he's not too old just yet. Shannon Byrnes lost possession a little too easy a couple of times.

With just over three minutes to go Stokes kicked his first, the Cats had seven goals. But if the Dees thought they'd be able to see the game out to half time they were wrong; the Cats booted another two goals and two behinds to lead by thirty-two points at the main break. The crowd pleaser was the first, Max Rooke running from the 50m arc to accept a handpass in the goalsquare from Stokes for a goal that looked easy but, repeated over a season, is what wins Premierships. Steve Johnson's goal a minute later was another case in point, and from our perspective was the correct call from the goal umpire; just because the TV cameras were obscured doesn't mean someone else (ie. the umpire who was RIGHT THERE) didn't get a good luck at it. (See Highlights here).


Paul Chapman finally opened the goal scoring midway through the term from outside fifty. Earlier, Joel Selwood took a courageous mark (See Highlights here). At one stage Melbourne were outscoring Geelong for the quarter but the Cats slammed home the final two goals of the quarter to increase their lead at three quarter time to forty-six points. Johnson and Rooke each kicked their fourth and second goals (and final) of the game.


Tom Hawkins, relatively quiet during the middle period of the game, got on the board with Geelong's first of the final term. He'll be in against the Swans next week at Skilled Stadium. A minute later Mooney kicked another behind for himself, one of twenty-one in all by the Cats of the match.


Paul Chapman was again one of Geelong's best, and should take over the mantle from Ablett in the next month against the Swans, Kangaroos and Bulldogs in a run of three 'home' games for the Cats. Commentators talk too often in clichés but Chapman really is benefiting from an excellent pre-season and while the season's only six rounds old looks like he has shaken off persistent hamstring injuries he suffered from in 2008, restricting him to work more as forward than playing a significant role in midfield.

Geelong's final goal came from Varcoe (his second), another 'team goal' by the Cats, no less than six players getting hands on the ball in the seconds leading to the goal. It started from a smother by Jimmy Bartel in the centre, and after Wojcinski's run and carry the ball ended up in the goalsquare, passed from Mooney to Hawkins then finally to the waiting Varcoe who still had plenty of work to do to put the ball between the big sticks. Neither team scored in the final two minutes of play, Geelong fans going home happy with the four points (but less so about losing Ablett), Melbourne fans happy to see their young players take it to the Cats.

The Cats host the Swans at home next Saturday afternoon, a game FINALLY to be broadcast to the UK / Ireland by Setanta Sports. The Cattery however may have to watch the game on slight delay, picking up the other half from Glasgow airport after the UK border gardaí finally approved the visas! Until then, GO CATS!

GEELONG 3.3, 9.8, 12.17, 15.21 (111) DEFEATED
MELBOURNE 2.4, 4.6, 6.7, 10.8 (68)

GEELONG: S.Johnson 4, Mooney 3, Varcoe 2, Rooke 2, Stokes, Ablett, Hawkins, Chapman
MELBOURNE: Robertson 3, Miller 2, Johnson, Morton, Bennell, Petterd, Sylvia

GEELONG: Chapman, Bartel, S.Johnson, Selwood, Enright, Mackie
MELBOURNE: Davey, Robertson, Morton, Sylvia, Frawley, McLean

CROWD: 36,932 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

FIELD: Hayden Kennedy (7) Heath Ryan (14) Jeff Dalgleish (16) EM: Shane Stewart (10)
BOUNDARY: Matthew Payton Chris Gordon Mitch Lefevre Mark Foster
GOAL: Darren Mills Stephen Williams EM: Luke Walker

GEELONG: Gary Ablett, left adductor (a groin injury in other words). The City of Greater Geelong remains in a trading halt pending further scans.


PREMATCH ODDS: Geelong $1.01 - $1.04; Melbourne $300 - 400 (OK we're kidding, but that's the only condition we'd have backed them


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    VFL 2009 ROUND 4, SATURDAY 2 MAY 2009, 14:00 AEST



    The 'Bendigo Bank Cats' were overan by an experienced Port Melbourne side in the final term to go down by two goals after leading by fifteen points at three quarter time. The Cats remain winless down the bottom of the ladder, third last on percentage from Frankston and Bendigo. James Podsiadly, formerlly of Werribee Tigers fame (literally) kicked a bag of five to go with his three in round one. The other two multiple goalkickers, Ben Johnson and Scott Beattie, were also VFL only listed players ('top up' players if you like, but we don't).

    PORT MELBOURNE 3.5 6.7 8.11 14.15 (99) DEF
    3.4 5.10 11.14 12.15 (87)

    GOALS: PORT MELBOURNE : P. Raymond 4, S. Dwyer 2, D. McLaren 2, W. Schultz 2, D. Robbins, J. Scipione, A. Deluca, P. Hassett
    : J. Podsiadly 5, B. Johnson 2, S. Beattie 2, R. Gamble, T. West, S. Simpson

    BEST: PORT MELBOURNE : P. Raymond, J. Baird, S. Brewer, F. Deluca, R. McMahon, M. Wall
    GEELONG: S. Simpson, J. Podsiadly, J. Hollmer, T. Lonergan, J. Laidler, C. Tutungi

    REPORTS: Nil




SUNDAY 3 MAY 2009, 14:10 AEST









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