ANOTHER NARROW LOSS
SENDS CATS TUMBLING DOWN LADDER; VFL TEAM HAS SECOND WIN
By Ben Jensen GEELONG blew what was nearly a six goal break on Melbourne to lose by six points at the MCG on Friday night. The loss was the Cats' forth on the trot, leaving them with just two wins after six rounds. The loss was a narrow one but that was no consolation to the fans who braved the icy conditions on the night, or the supporters at home.
Geelong led by twenty-one points midway through the third quarter, after kicking the first three goals in the quarter. But it should have been the first four and a twenty-six point lead; Josh Hunt marked twenty-five metres out from goal, directly in front. Smiling as he got up and lined up the goals, he missed. Unfortunately for Hunt and his team, the Dees ended up snatching the lead, and a three point lead into three quarter time.
Gary Ablett Junior, Paul Chapman, Kane Tenace and David Wojcinski were nimble and skillful in conditions not conducive to skillful football. But these three, especially Ablett and Chapman, used the ball beautifully to setup the goals that put the team in front by over twenty points. Jimmy Bartel didn't get many touches early, but did kick three first-half goals.
Steven King didn't play at all; replaced in the selected side by Henry Playfair. Kent Kingsley had no positive impact on the game; neither did fellow returnee Peter Riccardi. All three were quite shocking in fact, and along with Charlie Gardiner, it was just not a night for Geelong's designated forward options (Chapman and Ablett excluded).
Melbourne's young guns such as Matthew Bate and Brock Maclean had a night out, along with the more experienced Cameron 'the' Bruce, Russell Robertson and Jeff White. The Dees certainly deserved the win, given the way they fought back - but the Cats really shouldn't had let it happen. Even if Hunt missed a sitter, Melbourne shouldn't have the chance to snatch the lead.
Next week Geelong faces St Kilda. The season's certainly now at the crossroads. Of course Sydney won a flag from the same position last season, but I don't think it's a fair comparison. Sydney had three home games to get their season back on track - the Cats have two more tough away games against St Kilda and Collingwood before facing an improved Richmond at Skilled. The season ain't over - but it could be a long, frustrating one not dissimilar to last season's.
MELBOURNE: 3.3 6.5 11.7 13.9 (87) DEFEATED
GOALS - MELBOURNE: Bruce 2, Davey 2, Dunn
2, Robertson 2, Bate, Jamar, McLean, White, Yze
BENDIGO BANK CATS (VFL) HAVE SECOND WIN OF SEASON
The VFL team overcame a spirited Frankston side by just six points at Skilled Stadium today. Tom Lonergan, fresh from being the new whipping boy after an ordinary game in the AFL, was one of the best, playing in the backline.
According to a source, Tom Harley "played probably half a game mostly in the middle and played pretty well", but did not look fully fit. Senior Coach Mark Thompson has already decreed that Harley will return to the AFL side against St Kilda this Friday night.
Matthew Stokes was Geelong's best for the second week in a row. He's a chance to play the way the senior team's going.
Other comments from Cats Claw's 'The Statsman':
VFL ROUND 5
GEELONG V 'FRANGAS' FRANKSTON
5.6 6.7 11.7 (73) DEFEATED