GEELONG BEATS THE HELL OUT OF SYDNEY
By Ben Jensen AFL 2009 ROUND 7 GEELONG CATS V SYDNEY SWANS In Geelong's first game WA (without Ablett) for 2009 the Sydney Swans made the trip down the highway via Avalon. The Cats were only rated a $1.12 chance earlier in the wee; not that we recommend gambling but with odds like that, take them! Got up at the crack of dawn to enjoy my first game on Setanta since moving to Edinburgh, the Cats being ignored until now.
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1.5, 8.7, 12.10, 17.14 (116) DEFEATED
CROWD: 22,050 at Skilled Stadium, Geelong
PREMATCH ODDS: Geelong $1.05 - $1.12; Sydney $6.25 - 8.00 (Told you to back the Cats)
Contrasting the miserable weather last time here, Kardinia Park looked in tip top condition, many in the crowd even in short sleeves (one Cheer Squad member going one step further in his sleeveless VFL jumper).
Skipper and deputy Tom Harley and Cameron Ling were back, Harley's first for the season. Hopefully this would more than cover the loss of Ablett, who we'd hope to watch but have to settle for highlights. No changes for the Swans, who like England in pantsing the Windies in the cricket, wouldn't exactly have the Cats 'shaking in their boots' with their win over Richmond at the SCG.
Once the ground was cleared of Half Cat and the Footy Pie, the game was on. Aside from the Pie, a couple other odd looking creatures remained; 200cm ruckmen, Geelong's Shane Mumford from Bunyip, and Canadian Mike Pike for the Swans and having the more unusual route into footy, being a rugby player not only for Canada but also my local team Edinburgh Rugby.
The Swans chose the former Lyric nightclub or Corio Bay end with the Cats into the wind at the Grovedale end and dominating the opening 20 minutes, but despite Stevie Johnson's four shots, had no goals to show for it. It was another magician Michael O'Loughlin who kicked the first goal of the afternoon, shortly after dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes missed an absolute sitter from the edge of the square. Johnson did make good with his fifth shot at goal a minute or so before quarter time, giving the Cats the lead at the first change.
Sydney soon regained the lead, Heath 'Reg' Grundy getting on the end of a brilliant pass from Ted Richards. This again sparked Johnson into action, who went up a couple gears and before you knew it had four goals. His third was the best, taking possession 40 out before spinning around, pivoting on his left boot, swinging through with the other before going to ground and watching the ball sail through the middle.
Big men Cam Mooney and Tom Hawkins got on the board as well, Mooney in particular gaining confidence (for him and the fans) with two goals from set shots.
Mumford really looks like a player, skilful and confident enough at times to rove the ball and set up play. In fact I miss-took him for Joel Selwood several times (although not later on when chased down from behind). His balls-and-all tackle of Craig Bolton helped setup Mooney's second goal. Like Selwood, who again was tough as nails, Chapman was in top form, often the linkman from the backline. Down back Matthew Scarlett gave Barry Hall room at times but typically cut off anything that came Big Bad's way.
The damage for the Swans at half time was a 28 point lead to the Cats, just as the garbos turned up. Couldn't help but think of Buddha and Couchie doing the garbage rounds in the early 90's, Buddha famously not saying no to a kick with the kids one morning and doing his ankle.
David Wojcinski left the field with an injury early in the second half (according to Pickers, he 'broke a knuckle' but returned shortly after). That would be another blow to the Cats' defence, who only just regained Harley but sorely miss Egan and Hunt.
Mickey O'Loughlin's third pegged Geelong's lead back to just over three goals. But at opposite ends, Harley and Mooney laid old fashioned bone jarring bumps that left their opponents sprawling and sparked their side into action. The Cats snuffed out the Swans challenge, kicking three unanswered goals to lead by 36 points at the final break. By this stage Hall was on the bench and Ling had been moved onto the dangerous Goodes who was fighting for best afield honours.
The final quarter was icing on the cake stuff; Mooney converting another set shot and Hawkins two. Kelly, one of Geelong's genuine quite achievers, kicked a showtime goal from 40 metres on the boundary line. Enright and Mackie each attempted courageous marks, Enright taking his in front of Hall.
The Cats romped
home by 51 points and injury free; credit to the Swans for pushing them
up to the third quarter. Great to see the traditional post siren stampede
has been retained, within seconds of the famed second siren hundreds
of footys were being kicked around.
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Let's not get too cocky now shall we?
They did win last night, and they do tend to stick it to us when they play us.