Leigh Dillon 7 June 2005

At the halfway mark of season 2005 Geelong are sitting comfortably with seven wins and four losses (fourth position). A positive result, yes, but two weeks ago a 9/2 win loss ratio looked a sure thing. Shock losses to Fremantle at home backed up by Friday night's loss to Collingwood at the Telstra Dome has demonstrated the unpredictable roller coaster ride that is the 2005 season. But with Brisbane and Port Adelaide both struggling and St Kilda yet to completely shrug off the off-season cobwebs, Geelong are positioned nicely to make an all out assault for September glory.

With several key players still yet to find their groove and the return of Brenton Sanderson, Joel Corey and the enigmatic Steve Johnson from injury, Geelong are staring consecutive top four finishes dead in the eye.

So far in 2005 the return of James Kelly has added fire and poise to the midfield, the Ablett and Chapman show gets more entertaining each week. Ex-Tiger Brad Ottens has fit in extremely well and the continued improvement of Josh Hunt and Henry Playfair, the latter who provides a strong weekly target across half forward, cannot be understated. Adding to that, the reliable Darren Milburn and Corey Enright, who is enjoying his best season by far, demonstrate their importance to the club's fortunes.

Season Highlights to Round 11

Round Five vs. Port Adelaide (AAMI Stadium)
The only thing better than beating the reigning premiers on their turf, is doing it on Friday Night Football in front of a national audience. What better way to get the interstate hoodoo of the back?

Round Four vs. Essendon (Telstra Dome)
After a sluggish first half against the Bombers which saw Geelong trailing 10 minutes into the third quarter, the Cats routed Essendon by piling on 14 goals in the second half to run out 56 point winners.

Peter Riccardi's "Goal of the Round" vs. Western Bulldogs
Reminding us all of his continued value and silky skills, Peter Riccardi took out Goal of the Round against the Western Bulldogs in front of the brand new, yet to be named Eastern stand.

30,000 Members over the line
A remarkable effort and a tribute to all Cats' fans. Given our previous membership high was 25,595 in 2000, to break the 30,000 barrier (30,793 at 7th June) is truly a massive feat and puts us right back up there with the competition's power clubs.

Rounds 8 & 9: The Blues and the Roos
It's always good to beat the Blues and the Roos, no matter what the margin. Beating them by 70 and 85 points respectively is just beautiful.

Season Lowlights to Round 11

A season without Wojcinski.
Speed demon David Wojcinski's season ending knee injury in round two will hurt more and more as the season progresses, without the beautiful sight of him taking players on at any opportunity.

The Round 10 apparition
Was I seeing things or did Fremantle beat Geelong in Geelong? I honestly thought the clean slate would stand the test of time.

Johno's ankle
The day this boy can string games together, watch out competition.

Ben Graham to the Superbowl
Big Benny pulling the pin on his AFL career. He'd have been extra nice in the forward line mix this year. If the Cats win the flag this year spare a thought for the loyal club servant.

The Umpires vs. Cameron Mooney
Get off his back and leave the big fella alone. He hasn't hurt anybody…yet.

The List - Player by player

1 Steven King -Solid without being spectacular. He might not be the dominant force he was pre-injuries, but with the arrival of Brad Ottens, he is still vitally important to the flag tilt.

2 Tom Harley -Injury and illness has curtailed the first half of the staunch defender's season. But with plenty of footy still to be played, there's more than enough time to see back to his best.

3 Jimmy Bartel -An important and courageous midfielder whose 2005 has picked up where his 2004 season left off. Was sorely missed in round three when concussed by ex-team mate Brent Moloney, undermining his importance to the midfield rotation.

4 Andrew Mackie - Has shown moments of brilliance, like his first quarter against Richmond in round one. Will be player, without doubt, as his football brain and slight physique continue to develop.

6 Brad Ottens - After pre-season fears that his forward line partnership with Kent Kingsley was struggling, the Tiger recruit slotted into the side nicely. Has kicked 19 goals to date and was mammoth in the round five victory in Adelaide.

7 Tim Callan - When the reliable Brenton Sanderson hangs up the boots, Callan looks the logical replacement. Has shown as much in just nine senior appearances.

8 David Haynes - Yet to make a senior appearance in 2005 after a hot and cold 2004. Does have pace and strong hands.

9 James Kelly - After a season ending broken leg in 2004 Kelly has slot back in nicely and will continue to recapture his best form as the season progresses.

10 Kane Tenace - Has plenty of pace and is progressing well. Kicked an electrifying goal against the Kangaroos which scored him Goal of the Round.

11 Joel Corey - Was in career best form before a knee injury sidelined him for rounds 9, 10 and 11. Shouldn't be too far away from resuming and has been sorely missed.

12 Will Slade - Yet to make an appearance in 2005 after a severe case of osteitis pubis ruined his 2004.

13 Tom Lonergan - Made his debut in round nine against the Kangaroos and came away with two goals. Has Henry Playfair's physique of two years ago but is capable of taking a strong mark.

14 Cameron Thurley - Must have been thinking "How easy is this AFL caper?" after bagging six goals in his first fortnight. Dropped back to the reserves for round eleven but will be better for the experience. A reliable shot for goal who to date, hasn't registered a behind at the top level.

15 Peter Riccardi - Still has plenty of class as his Goal of the Round against the Western Bulldogs showed in round six. Still an outside chance to be the third cat to break the 300 barrier behind new Hall of Fame inductee Ian Nankervis and Sam Newman.

16 Charlie Gardiner - Still finding his way as his hot and cold performances show, but has an ability to take a bag of marks. Confidence is building and he kicked to important goals in the Preliminary Final loss to Brisbane.

17 Shannon Byrnes - Along with Tenace has bucketloads of pace and an uncanny knack around the sticks. His progress in 2005 after four games in his debut season would be a pleasing surprise for the coaching panel. Won the Rising Star award for his round two match against West Coast.

18 Kent Kingsley - Wrongly maligned forward who has had a shade under 50 shots at goal already this season for a return of 30 goals. Well on track for a 60 goal season and the day his conversion rate improves more than it has this year already, an 80 goal season is not out of the question.

19 Matthew Egan - VFL fullback who was taken with one of the three selections at last year's draft. Won a call up for round one and immediately showed plenty of courage by backing back into a pack that contained Tiger spearhead Matthew Richardson. Promising long term prospect.

20 Steve Johnson - Enigmatic, exciting, dangerous, injured. When's he's on the park he is a vital player. Will miss the next month with that ankle but will play an important role later in the year. Doesn't need a lot of possessions to break a game open.

21 Cameron Mooney - Has endured a frustrating first half of the season due to injury and suspension. Now watched with eagle eyes by the umpires, he bleeds blue and white and will fire for the second half of the season to capture last season's form.

22 Henry Playfair - Has stepped up to cover the loss of Ben Graham admirably. Was sorely missed in Friday night's encounter with Collingwood with his strong presence up forward. Suddenly essential to the side's makeup.

23 Nathan Ablett - Yet to make his senior debut.

24 Mark Blake - Yet to make his senior debut.

25 Matthew Spencer - Yet to make his senior debut.

26 Matthew McCarthy - Has not made a senior appearance in 2005 and has been injured with a wrist. Bobbed up in his return in the VFL side and kicked seven goals in the second half, including five in third quarter to steal a much needed victory.

27 Brenton Sanderson - Has not made a senior appearance in 2005 but has declared himself ready to go. Was a class above in the VFL on the weekend.

28 David Johnson - Has been solid in 2005, especially in the absence of Wojcinski. Seems to get better each week but will miss the best part of four weeks with a hamstring injury sustained in last week's game.

29 Gary Ablett - Heavily tagged week in week out, but is durable and just keeps standing up, getting the footy and kicking goals. A dangerous player who can make things happen from nothing.

30 Matthew Scarlett - Like his defensive partner, Tom Harley, is having a tough year to date after back to back All-Australian jumpers. Can't be kept down for long and will be fired up come September.

31 Paul Chambers - Only one senior appearance to date for the year but can step into the breech when needed.

32 Brent Prismall - Yet to make his senior debut.

33 Jarrad Rooke - Has bounced back after an injury riddled 2004 when he only managed 11 games. Is honest, tough and broke through for his 50th game after coming off the Rookie list in 2002.

34 James Rahilly - Has not made a senior appearance in 2005 but was also instrumental in the VFL victory against Williamstown on the weekend with 30 possessions.

35 Paul Chapman - Forms one half of a dangerous small forward combination. Averaging more than a goal a game, Chapman is again having a strong, consistent year and can comfortably push into the middle make him even more dangerous.

36 Paul Koulouriotis - Did a hamstring in round one and has been unable to regain his place in the side. Showed a bit in the second half of 2004.

37 Jarrod Garth - Rookie listed player yet to make his debut.

38 Luke Buckland - Rookie listed player yet to make his debut.

39 Darren Milburn - Consistently underrated, but consistently brilliant 150 game veteran whose importance cannot be denied. Bobbed up in the forward line and kicked some telling goals. A good B & F chance.

40 David Wojcinski - Did his knee against the Eagles in round 2 and will miss the entire season. His dash and risk taking style is missed.

41 Josh Hunt - Reaching the 50 game milestone in round 11, Hunt just keeps getting better. Whilst media focus is commonly on his booming left foot, his ability to take a contested mark should not be underestimated.

42 Nick Batchelor - Rookie listed player yet to make his debut.

44 Corey Enright - Has been the form player of 2005 after injury cruelled his 2004. Like Milburn has snuck forward on occasion and has been rewarded with eight goals for the season and is also in the running for the B & F.

45 Cameron Ling - Having a solid, if not spectacular season to date, the reigning Carji Greeves medallist is still getting plenty of the ball and looks like having another gear in waiting for the business end of the year.

46 Tim Sheringham - Rookie listed player yet to make his debut.




COREY ENRIGHT - "Has been the form player of 2005"


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