Anthony Jensen 6 September 2009

By Anthony Jensen AFL 2009 FINALS 2ND QUALIFYING FINAL WESTERN BULLDOGS V GEELONG CATS MATTHEW SCARLETT was best on ground on Saturday afternoon in a game that displayed the dominance of Geelong’s backline when it’s settled. Two 6-goal terms, the first and the third, set up the 14-point win and a much needed week off for the Cats. A thumbs up again goes to Vline for getting many happy trainloads of fans up to the G and back again. A big thumbs down to the madwoman fiend who attempted to “save” the seat I was about to sit in. It’s a train; you cant save seats.

GEELONG : 6.5, 7.5, 13.9, 14.12 (96) DEFEATED
: 2.1, 4.3, 8.4, 12.10 (82)

GEELONG: Bartel 3, Mooney 2, Stokes 2, Chapman 2, Mackie, Taylor, Ling, Ottens, Enright
WESTERN BULLDOGS: Akermanis 3, Johnson 2, Higgins 2, Welsh, Hill, Hudson, Griffen, Gilbee

: Scarlett, Enright, Ablett, Milburn, Bartel, Chapman, Mackie
WESTERN BULLDOGS: Gilbee, Cooney, Boyd, Higgins, Lake, Akermanis

: Max Rooke (quad) replaced by Simon Hogan

UMPIRES: Vozzo, Kennedy, Meredith

CROWD: 74,007 at the MCG

Anyway, while the (why can’t we call them Footscray anymore?) Bulldogs were unchanged, Simon Hogan came in for the Cats as Max Rooke clearly got lost somewhere coming back from his latest sojourn to Borneo. Cam Mooney has finally taken the hint and seen a barber over the last week or two and was virtually unrecognisable with a sensible haircut.

As the game got underway there were some interesting ventures forward with Jimmy Bartel lining up in full forward and drawing Scott Welsh with him, and Doggies ruckman Ben Hudson in the square at the opposite end. The latter proved a masterstroke by coach Rodney Eade when Hudson kicked the first major of the match after out-wrestling Scarlett.

Paul Chapman missed two chances inside a minute but from then on it was all Geelong in the first term. Harry Taylor was the unlikely first goalkicker for the Cats and he was followed by Andrew Mackie who revelled in the freedom that a settled back 6 gives him and dobbed a massive goal from about 60 metres out.

Mooney marked and goaled for his first of two for the quarter soon after, benefiting from a spearing Gary Ablett pass from the wing. However, our other big forward in Tom Hawkins continued his inconsistent goalkicking, missing from an easy spot after earning himself a free kick.

Corey Enright seemed destined for a nasty bout of leather poisoning after amassing 17 possessions in the first term which would see Geelong up by 28 points. On doctors orders he would finish with a more manageable 35 and was among the Cats’ best.

Chappy opened up the quarter with a goal inside the first minute after marking a penetrating long pass from Mathew Stokes. But it would be Geelong’s only score for the quarter as the Bulldogs filled some of the gaps that had opened up in the first term.

Hudson showed some real athleticism for a big man, tackling Stokes on the wing after a long chase. Some last line of defence from Taylor saved a certain Jason Akermanis goal and the Cats were under the pump.


Even Geelong’s runner, apparently his first day on this particular job, couldn’t escape the heat as he ran over the mark and awarded Bulldog Shaun Higgins a 50m penalty to set up his first of two goals.

On that note, it wasn’t a great day for Geelong gameday staff overall. In the first quarter the interchange marshall let Milburn onto the ground without first getting someone off, but luckily that wasn’t picked up in time for a penalty, we’ll only cop a fine. Later in the game, a trainer failed to get Mackie’s missing boot back on him quickly enough, which actually cost us a goal.

A couple of absolute screamers kept things interesting though, the first a great grab from Gary Ablett on the 50m paint that looked certain to snag mark of the day honours until Scott Welsh launched himself over Bartel in equally spectacular fashion. The Dogs were down (by 20 points), but not out at the main break.

A fellow Cats fan and companion to my left said this third quarter would make or break this game, and how right she turned out to be. It was the highest scoring quarter with 10 goals between the two sides, but Geelong came out on top, just, scoring 6 of those.

Hawkins and Mooney unselfishly combined inside 50 to set up Chapman, who unfortunately missed the goal and looks like he could do with a week off to rest those hammys.

September specialist Jason Akermanis kicked two goals inside 90 seconds and threatened to blow the game apart like he has done to us, and others, many times in the past. The little master looked to much for our taller defenders and one wonders how different it would have been if James Kelly, or even the missing Rooke would have lined up on him.

A strong contested mark from the recently returned Brad Ottens had the fans on their feet, and when he kicked his first goal for 2009, after not having played since round 2, we collectively breathed a sigh of relief. Otto is back; all is right at the Cattery.

Brad Johnson finished off a nice running “team” goal from the Bulldogs which began, as it evitably does, with some quarterback-type work from Lindsay Gilbee, who finished with a goal of his own and was probably the Dogs best.

Scarlet, Enright and Milburn continued to stream off half back and set up Geelong’s attacks.

Ottens’ move forward drew key defender Brian Lake, who up until then had had a blinder on Geelong’s taller forwards, and was crucial to their victory. It allowed Bartel to find space hard up on the boundary and he then struck a nice low kick to goal, and would finish with 3 majors.

Geelong was seemingly in control, 35-points up at the start of the last quarter. But Murphy’s law kicked in and saw Mackie lose a footy boot for the better part of 3 minutes, causing him to slip when running for a loose ball and gifting the Bulldogs a goal that would have been comical if it wasn’t so serious.

Brad Johnson was very quiet by his standards but got on the end of a 60m kick from Ryan Hargrave to run in to 45 metres and kick a goal. Geelong got their only goal through Enright, who seems a certain All-Australian for the second year running after making the squad of 40 players named this week.

Gilbee kicked his goal after marking a pass from Mitch Hahn and while another goal from Shaun Higgins gave the Doggies a sniff, Geelong professionally managed the clock and it wasn’t to be their day, and they’ll need the benefit of that second chance.

Geelong will now have a week off and face one of Adelaide, St Kilda or Collingwood in a Preliminary Final. The Western Bulldogs on the other hand will face Brisbane next week in a Semi Final, as the Lions have just got home over Carlton after a thriller finish up at the Gabba.









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