Ben Jensen 10 April 2009

By Ben Jensen GEELONG snuffed out an up and down Collingwood side at the MCG in front of a disappointing crowd of 58,527 'last night'. The Cats are now at the top of the ladder, perhaps only temporarily. The Magpies led by twenty points at quarter time, and arguably should have been in front by more had they kicked straight (sound familiar?). But the Cats absolutely smashed them in the second quarter, booting eight unanswered goals to shatter any hopes mug Magpie punters had of an upset.

THIS was to be my first match living in Scotland, after catching Round One when back in Aus and the nail biter of Richmond when I was in the Middle East. With my employer banning online radio access, I had to rely on my fancy 3G phone to give me coverage. After a few anxious moments, I managed to tune into 3AW with the Cats two goals to nil down to the Wobblers. I could at least follow the scores on my main PC, but had to contend with what must be the loudest (young) Scot in the world, my roommate Big Gav, necessitating headphones.

Update (17/4): Finally saw the highlights of the game on the Friday night following the game, thought Chapman and Ablett were great but was also very impressed with Varcoe's work, particularly in the second quarter when the game was there to be won, and again in the final term. Must like the Ponsford Stand end!

GEELONG 2.3, 10.6, 11.11, 18.14 (122) DEFEATED
COLLINGWOOD 5.5, 5.9, 8.15, 13.17 (95)

GEELONG: Chapman 4, Johnson 3, Varcoe 2, Stokes 2, Hawkins 2, Ablett, Wojcinski, Byrnes, Rooke, Mooney
COLLINGWOOD: Medhurst 3, Dick, Cox, L. Brown, Thomas, Didak, Davis, Lockyer, Fraser, Beams, Anthony

GEELONG: Chapman, Ablett, Mooney, Bartel, Kelly, Johnson [No room for Varcoe?!]
COLLINGWOOD: Pendlebury, Clarke, Beams, Swan, O’Bree, Cox

FIELD: Michael Vozzo (2) Stephen McBurney (3) Matt Stevic (9) EM: Ray Chamberlain (18)
BOUNDARY: Robert Haala Adam Coote Justin Bennison Shane Jansen
GOAL: Peter Nastasi Daniel Wilson EM: Stephen Williams

GEELONG: Ling (ankle)
COLLINGWOOD: Johnson (broken leg)

REPORTS: Heath Shaw (Collingwood) reported for making contact with an umpire in the second quarter

CROWD: 58,527 at MCG

Collingwood controlled the opening 10 minutes, kicking the first two goals of the game. Geelong however had two goals in two minutes to just about square the ledger. Scores remained locked until the 19 minute mark, when Dayne Beams kicked his first. Dale Thomas's first three minutes later gave the Pies a two goal lead. John Anthony's goal, courtesy of a dodgy free kick, gave the Pies a 20 point lead. Matthew Stokes had a chance to cut the deficit but could manage only a behind. The Magpies though were the ones to rue their kicking, probably should have had eight goals two instead of five goals five, to leave the Cats very much in the match.


Travis Cloke, normally a fantastic kick from outside fifty, particularly against the Cats, struggled in the NAB Cup final and had the wobbles against Geelong, electing not to have a shot in the opening minutes. The Cats were let off, Leigh Brown missing a set shot before David Wojcinski slammed home the first goal of the final quarter to put his side back into it, in an eleven point turnaround. James Kelly took the kickout, and an unbroken chain of possessions made their way to Wojcinski, who took possessions just outside fifty and ran to goal from 35m.

The next minute Matthew Stokes had his second of the match to cut the lead down to just nine points after Jimmy Bartel found him unmarked 20 metres out on a slight angle. The lead could have been just 3 points 30 seconds later had Steve Johnson's torp from outside fifty not hit the post.

The lead though was cut to two points a minute later, Paul Chapman benefiting from a fifty metre penalty given away by one-time captaincy aspirant Heath Shaw, Chapman being brought to the goalsquare and slamming the ball home deep into the grandstand.

Geelong hit the front from another typical piece of Cats' play, Shannon Byrnes booting the ball from half-back to Gary Ablett inside Geelong's 50m arc, who handpassed for Travis Varcoe to kick his first goal, the Cats now in front by four points.

Cameron Mooney set Steve Johnson up, whose kick drifted a mile to go through for a fortuitous goal. At this point, the Cats had 42 possessions for the quarter to just 28 of Collingwood.

Varcoe's second, courtesy of 'his own good work' according to the pundits, pushed the margin out to fifteen points with plenty of time to go.

The roof, if there was one (and certainly in at least one office in the West End of Edinburgh) was blown off when Tom Hawkins booted his first from a set shot about fourty metres out. His confidence now will surely be restored. The next minute he missed a shot from close to the boundary line on the wrong side for a right footer. This was followed by another behind, this time quite gettable, from Stokes.

Dane Swan had a chance to kick his side's first goal of the quarter but missed, the Cats maintaining their seven goal to nil record.

Paul Chapman's second, from general play just inside fifty, would have shattered hopes of the Magpies. Geelong ran the ball from the back pocket, all the way up the ground, the ball shared amoung at least ten Geelong players.

At the half time siren the Cats led by twenty-seven points.

Chapman really stood up, all of a sudden with twenty possessions Along with Bartel and Johnson he took the game by the proverbial scruff of the neck. Seven of Johnson's nine disposals directly or indirectly resulted in goals, Chapman was also in the thick of it.

Two minutes in Cameron Mooney missed a chance from a set shot just inside fifty. Paul Medhurst eventually kicked the first goal of the second half, bringing the margin back to just inside four goals.

Johnson, manhandled in the goalsquare, was handed a free kick and booted his second nine and a half minutes in. From then on both sides peppered the goals with behinds.

It was about this time that the internet radio cutoff and we were forced to watch the screen instead. Collingwood's Brad Dick broke the deadlock in the twentieth minute with his first, cutting the margin to twenty-one points. Leigh Brown scored his first the next minute, the lead now just fifteen points, the Pies having kicked three goals to one for the quarter. Travis Cloke should have made it a nine-point game but again had the yips, kicking out on the full from thirty-five metres out.

This week it was certainly not Geelong's turn to be ineffective with the ball, as Collingwood scored yet another behind from a set shot through Dale Thomas, a major letoff for the Cats. A behind from Josh Fraser after the three-quarter time siren was another one, the Cats' lead at three quarter time fourteen points.


Thanks to Orange our radio blackout continued, so had to follow the remainder via the online scores update, which I must say has improved.

Steve Johnson booted his third from the goalsquare one minute in, courtesy a long kick from Wojcinski from inside the centre square. Byrnes' first the very next minute pretty much snuffed out the Magpies' chances of snatching back the game, the lead now jumping back to twenty-six points. Jimmy Bartel saved a goal a few minutes later, taking possession in the Collingwood goalsquare before booting the ball to the 50 metre line.

Byrnes helped give Mooney his first goal of the match. Byrnes marked a Rooke short pass outside fifty before bombing to Mooney in the square, who played on for a goal to make the margin thirty-two points.

Leon Davis got on the end of a good run out of defense after a Johnson behind, kicking a goal from just inside fifty, directly in front. But there was no way the Magpies were coming back from here, still twenty-six points down and 10 minutes elapsed.

Chapman joined Johnson on three goals the next minute, marking a short pass from Johnson, kicking from right on fifty. Hawkins' second goal, after winning the contested ball fifteen metres out, pushing the lead to the biggest of the match, thirty-eight points. Oh what we'd give right now to hear or see this! The Brains Trust certainly did the right thing in restoring Hawkins, rather speculatively, to the AFL side, as he is the future of the team, and is needed to adequately fill the forward role Nathan Ablett played in the Premiership year of 2007.

Medhurst booted his second before Chapman added his fourth. This was followed by Fraser, who finally converted a chance. Medhurst kicked a long goal for his third. After all this the margin was twenty points to the Cats.

Max Rooke's first goal, from a set shot, was Geelong's seventh of the quarter to Collingwood's five. The quarter and game was finally over, perhaps just in time for the radio to kick in again. Geelong won by twenty-seven points.

When you consider the length of Collingwood's injury list compared to Geelong's it was a good win. Of course the Cats should be expecting to beat the likes of the Magpies, but since the 2007 Preliminary Final and the 2008 Round 8 clashes between the two sides, many have thought Collingwood had Geelong's measure.

Although there was nobody to discuss the win with, it was still satisfying that once again we hold the Wobblers' measure. The lassie at the coffee shop had a thick Aussie accent, which unfortunately was from Sydney, so didn't have a clue as to The Great Game.








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