CATS DESTROY KANGAROOS, THROUGH TO PRELIMINARY FINAL
By Ben Jensen GEELONG CATS V KANGAROOS GEELONG comprehensively thrashed the Kangaroos by one hundred and six points in front of 77,630 at the MCG on a brilliant September afternoon today. The Cats earn the week off and will face the winner of West Coast and Collingwood in the first Preliminary Final, probably on the Friday night, at the MCG. The core of the 2002 VFL Premiership team are determined to go one better in the AFL in three weeks' time, and won't be satisfied with anything less.
GEELONG 3.5 10.10 16.16 23.18 (156) DEFEATED
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TEAM GOAL OF THE WEEK
Courtesy 1YOTC: http://www.youtube.com/user/1YOTC
The opening quarter was rather tense, and followed an earlier mini melee during the pre-match warm-up when Kangaroos players ran through a group of Geelong players. Geelong opening the scoring, through Paul Chapman just over one minute into the game. Aaron Edwards kicked the Kangaroos' first and his only goal for the day two minutes later. Gary Ablett snatched the lead back, goaling from a free kick before the Kangaroos equalised again through Michael Firrito. Firrito was decked by Geelong's ruckman Brad Ottens during the act of kicking, an incident that one reported mistakenly referred to as a report but in fact was not even commented upon by the AFL Match Review Panel.
The Roos grabbed the lead after Hamish McIntosh's long bomb from just outside fifty moments after Cameron Ling was felled by a bump from Roo forward Leigh Brown, another incident that rightfully escaped the tribunal's glare. But the lead was short lived, Paul Chapman booting his second the next minute to snatch back the lead. The Cats were wasteful while the Roos were miserly, the Cats scoring five behinds, the Roos nil, which was the lead at quarter time.
Best for the Cats were Matthew Scarlett, Gary Ablett, Paul Chapman and Jimmy Bartel. Skipper Tom Harley also played a key role in not only nullifying his opponent but running forward with the ball. For the Roos Brent Harvey managed three of his seven possessions for the day so had one of his best quarters while Joel Corey and Brady Rawlings had just two touches between them, both to Corey, as Gary Ablett was set free from the tagger who'd reportedly been planning to play on Ablett all week.
It looked as if the Kangaroos were on a semi-even par with the Cats, and some Kangaroos fans angrily made the point they'd have been in front if it weren't for the free kick count skewed in Geelong's favour. But these notions were far from the truth; the Kangaroos' opening score came midway through the quarter from a rushed behind. Geelong opened their goal scoring in the very first minute, Chapman's third goal. What followed was an absolute procession. Geelong's second goal had to wait until the seventh minute, Cameron Mooney's first for the day and what would be one of three for the quarter. Seven goals in all were scored by the Cats, just the one by the Roos, for a lead to Geelong of fourty-five points at the main break.
A highlight was Nathan Ablett's first goal - perched on the boundary line on an angle of around seventy degrees on the Olympic Stand / Cattery side of the ground, Nathan calmly walked back and slotted the goal through as if he'd done it a hundred times before. The goal came just before half time.
James Kelly, who was good in the first half had a dominant quarter as Bartel had a breather. In the hot conditions it took a while again for Geelong to stamp their dominance on the scoreboard in the second half. But any hopes the Roos had of a comeback were quickly snuffed out. Chapman kicked his fourth goal in the tenth minute, Nathan Ablett his second a couple minutes after. The Cats had a thirteen minute drought of goals, during which the Kangaroos scored a couple from Leigh Brown and Drew Petrie, who looked genuinely disappointed to be having a set shot for goal not thirty metres out from goal.
Geelong kicked four goals in the final six minutes of the half. Steve Johnson kicked his one goal for the day, while Mooney added two more, his fifth coming after the siren, upon which he was dutifully mobbed by teammates. Brad Ottens kicked a classy goal, coming after a strong mark.
The margin was a lazy eighty-five points at the three quarter time break. Tellingly, the Geelong coaching staff, led by Mark Thompson, spent little time on the ground and even less time addressing the troops, vacating the field to let Captain Harley do the talking. All this while the Kangaroos brains trust remained on the ground for another three minutes.
As Mark Thompson remarked after the game, he knew they weren't going to lose but wanted them to keep the footy on the pedal - to bury their opponents and earn their week off. His charges did just that, booting seven goals to the Kangaroos' two. The goals were shared around. Corey Enright kicked two on the run, Andrew Mackie chipped in with one from outside fifty. Steve Johnson unselfishly handpassed one off to a waiting Paul Chapman in the goalsquare a minute prior to the final siren.
Following the routine thankyous, on-ground interviews and salutations to the crowd, the team gathered around Tom Harley, as they had before the game and at the quarter time breaks, for one final talking to before they made their way off the ground. It made quite a scene; cameras milling around to get a glimpse of inside the huddle, to see only Harley talking with the other twenty-one players nodding intently. Clearly this team knows what it wants and what it has to do to get there, and won't be satisfied with second place.
FAN OF THE WEEK goes to Emma Bryant, who, upon learning her mother had secured two tickets to Sunday's match, booked herself on the next reasonably priced flight form London back to Melbourne, arriving in time for the big game.
IN THE VFL THIS Saturday Geelong plays Kangaroo affiliate North Ballarat in the VFL's 1st Preliminary Final. The likes of Steven King and Travis Varcoe, and probably Shannon Byrnes and Max Rooke will have one last chance to push for an AFL finals spot. The match will be played at Port Melbourne's TEAC Oval and be telecast on ABC TV from 1PM.
AS MENTIONED earlier, the core of the 2002 VFL Premiership side played yesterday; out of the twenty-two players, the following played in the come from behind win over Port Melbourne at Optus Oval: Gary Ablett, Paul Chapman, Jimmy Bartel, Steve Johnson, James Kelly and Josh Hunt. Missing yesterday but in the side are David Johnson, Henry Playfair and Charlie Gardiner.
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77,630 PEOPLE PACKED THE MCG TO SEE GEELONG BEAT THE KANGAROOS BY 106 POINTS
CATS CELEBRATE CAMERON MOONEY'S FIFTH GOAL, AFTER THE SIREN, ON THREE QUARTER TIME