CATS WIN PREMIERSHIP! THEY'VE DONE IT!
By Ben Jensen AFL GRAND FINAL 2007 GEELONG CATS V PORT ADELAIDE POWER GEELONG has broken a 44 year Premiership drought to win the 2007 AFL Grand Final. Geelong thrashed Port Adelaide by a record one hundred and nineteen points in front of a crowd of 97,302. The Cats were never really challenged, and after establishing a twenty-three point lead by quarter time, led by fifty-two points at the main break, a seemingly unassailable lead. History will show the Cats spanked the Power, inflicting the highest Grand Final defeat of all time. Steve Johnson was awarded the Norm Smith Medal for best afield, narrowly defeating Paul Chapman for the award.
GEELONG 5.7 11.13 18.17 24.19
Geelong skipper Tom Harley won the toss and chose to kick to the Ponsford Stand end, to the sea of blue and white including the cheer squad and players' families. Both teams went in with unchanged lineups, the Cats starting with Joel Selwood, Steven King, James Kelly and Shannon Byrnes on the interchange.
Geelong started the game with a bang, although it wasn't until the ninth minute that Cameron Mooney kicked the Cats' first goal, marking a long kick from Paul Chapman that may have been a goal anyway. Steve Johnson opened his account three minutes later, before Warren Treadrea kicked his team's first goal at the eighteenth minute mark from a free kick. But Gary Ablett made something out of nothing the very next minute, sharking a Port Adelaide kick-in, paddling the ball before steadying and kicking the goal to thrill the Geelong contingeny at the Pondsford Stand end.
While Shaun Burgoyne threatened to kick his team back into the game with a brilliant goal in the twenty-first minute, the rest of the quarter belonged to the Cats. Geelong kicked five goal seven behinds, to the Power's meagre two goals two behinds. The Cats' final two goals came from Steve Johnson, who had two for the quarter, and Jimmy Bartel who until then was quiet, and relished the handball from Joel Selwood when he was unmarked fourty-five metres from goal. The team lifting highlight was a run-down from Brad Ottens of Port defender Michael Pettigrew. At quarter time the Cats led by twenty-three points. Only once all season had the Cats lost a game after being in front at quarter time; the four point loss to Hawthorn in Tasmania back in round four.
Port Adelaide were never really in a realistic position to win the game after the opening twelve minutes, during which Geelong kicked five unanswered goals. The first three were from Steve Johnson, Max Rooke and Paul Chapman while Nathan Ablett stamped his influence on the game, with two goals from the square inside a minute. The Power kicked their only two goals of the quarter in succession, Chad Cornes marking strongly and converting on a slight angle and Tom Logan running off Josh Hunt for his only real contribution of the match. But the Cats weren't done yet; Chapman kicking his second of the match minutes from half time, to give Geelong what was surely an unassailable fifty-two point lead. The Cats again could have been in front by more, kicking six goals six for the quarter, to Port's two goals one behind.
Half time was a surreal moment for most Geelong fans at the match; not much was said but the looks on our faces reflected the realisation that this was it; we were going to win the Premiership that had eluded us for over fourty years. The half time entertainment was not all that entertaining, Richmond's Jake King winning the Grand Final Sprint challenge.
Cameron Mooney resumed the destroyation, kicking his first goal of the half within the first minute, his ssecond of the match. Bartel kicked his second five minutes later, all the while Port Adelaide didn't even get near scoring. Ten minutes would pass until either side kicked another goal; of course it was the Cats who did, Shannon Byrnes defeating the reaction to trip over his feet to kick a goal right on the goal-line.
Power Captain Warren Treadrea kicked his second goal and what would turn out to be his side's only goal of the quarter in the seventeenth minute, but there was to be no bowing this time; only his side bowing out in disgraceful fashion. Every time Port Adelaide attempted a forward foray, Matthew Scarlett or sidekicks in Tom Harley, Andrew Mackie or Darren Milburn were there to mark the ball and quickly reintroduce it into the centre corridor back up the Geelong end of the ground.
After Treadrea's goal the Cats set about a string of four goals, Brad Ottens finally kicking his first goal after booting three behinds from earlier attempts. Chapman had his third after earlier taking what may have won mark of the year rearlier in the quarter. Nathan Ablett and Cameron Mooney also kicked third third goals before half time, to blow the lead out to a record ninety points at three quarter time.
The final quarter saw Geelong anything but take the foot off the accelerator pedal. At three quarter time Geelong coach Mark Thompson spoke of his desire for his players to respect the game and to play out the game, instead of coasting and showboating as the Power had done the week before against the Kangaroos. What followed was an absolute procesion of goals resembling a training run. Cameron Mooney was first, jumping into the leading goalkicker with his fourth. Cameron Ling thrilled the fans with his only goal of the match, Ling showing his appreciation of the support with his trademark vertical fist pump.
Chapman joined Mooney with four goals in the ninth minute, joining Scarlett and Johnson in Norm Smith Medal contention. But Steve Johnson would secure the medal with his fourth and final goal three minutes later. Mooney booted his fifth goal in the sixteen minute mark, the Cats' second last goal of the day. The honour of the final goalkicker of the Cats went to Andrew Mackie, whose long bomb as has been typical of him all season, sailed straight through. The final goalkicker of the match was actually Port's Shaun Burgoyne, in the twenty-eighth minute mark.
Geelong players and officials, who had already presented a fine example on the field, really covered themselves with glory with the post-match celebrations. No show boathing or theatrics, no screaming into the microphones after accepting premiership medallions, and certainly no snubbing of the Auskick kids presenting the medals. Instead, the Cats reflected on the history of the ocassion, presented the Auskick kids with a mememto of their own in a sponsor's hat, and were as gracious in such a mamoth victory as you could be.
GEELONG COACH MARK THOMPSON ADDRESSES THE FAITHFUL AT FEDERATION SQUARE
GEELONG TEAM AND FANS SING 'WE ARE GEELONG' IN FEDERATION SQUARE
AFL PREMIERS 2007 - GEELONG