CATS BELT TIGERS
By Anthony Jensen Geelong flogged Richmond by 63 points in front of 42,238 at the Telstra Dome tonight. The Cats had a lazy twelve goal kickers, led once more by Tom Lonergan and Ryan Gamble with three apiece. Geelong started slowly but then put together three dominant quarters of football to end up 63-point victors. The Tigers were without in-form spearhead Nathan Brown who was suffering with a virus.
GEELONG 2.6 8.8 15.13 20.14 (134) DEFEATED
CROWD: 42,238 at Telstra Dome (Melbourne Docklands)
UMPIRES: Stevic, Wenn, Stewart
INJURIES: Geelong:Nil Richmond: Richo hurt his right knee
In what was 3-time All Australian Matthew Scarlett’s 200th match, Cats fans among the 42,238 crowd at Telstra Dome were flabbergasted as to why it took 10 minutes for their team to score, and another 10 for their first goal.
The answer can be found in Richmond’s adoption of the “rolling zone” involving filling the spaces in the centre of the ground, forcing Geelong to pass the ball wide and usually to a contest. This tactic may have been more potent had the Tigers, once they had possession, not racked up 18 clangers to quarter time.
For their part, the Cats missed some easy attempts on goal and almost looked set to go goalless all night. But when James Kelly broke the pack and snapped truly and was followed by a Tom Lonergan goal on the siren, it was relatively smooth sailing.
In the second quarter Mathew Stokes snagged 2 goals inside a minute and was among the best for the home side. Jimmy Bartel did his back-to-back Brownlow chances no harm by booting the first of his 2 majors off one step from 50m, and he would finish with 32 touches. In contrast, no less than 20 of Richmond’s 22 players had at least one “clanger”, no doubt contributing to their 26-point deficit at half time.
The second half saw Geelong govern the play by blocking the centre corridor whenever the Tiges had the pill. Key defender Andrew Mackie looked as relaxed as I’ve seen him when he bounded in from 60m, took a bounce, and kicked low and true for one of his two goals.
For Richmond, Matthew Richardson for his 3 goals was lively all over the ground, as was Shane Tuck who finished with a team high 31 touches and 7 tackles. Young ball winner Nathan Foley was effectively taken out of the game by Cameron Ling who courageously returned from that now infamous fractured cheekbone.
Richardson, seemingly recovered from a divot-producing jarred knee earlier in the game, took a few absolute screamers in the second half even though his side had the game lost. One mark over Darren Milburn in the 3rd and another 9 minutes into the last showed how dangerous he can be. If they had the additional target of Nathan Brown up forward, one imagines the result would have been far less severe for the Tigers.
But it was the Cats running out 63 point winners and they look ready to face a struggling Melbourne team next Friday night at the MCG.
AFL 2008, ROUND EIGHTEEN
GEELONG V RICHMOND
SATURDAY 2 AUGUST 2008, 19:40 AEST
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