Ben Jensen 11 June 2011

By Ben Jensen GEELONG CATS V HAWTHORN HAWKS GEELONG fans had one hell of a scare at the MCG tonight, but ultimately went home with a smile as their boys held off Hawthorn by 5 points in front of 63,476 punters at the MCG. The Cats keep their 'purrfect' record alive, 11 wins from 11, keeping them top spot ahead of reigning premiers Collingwood.

Lance Franklin, who shook off a calf injury cloud to play, kicked the first goal of the game after four minutes which was soon matched by a major to Nathan Vardy who took a great contested mark, using his body very well. James Podsiadly had a couple goals and one behind by quarter time, the Cats in front by 19 points after kicking the final three goals of the quarter. The Hawks however came out all guns blazing in the second, before you knew it they were in front by 11 points after kicking five unanswered goals in the first 12 minutes. To their credit however the Cats responded in the only way they know, throwing everything they had back, kicking five unanswered goals of their own including an incredible four to Podsiadly who equalled his best ever return for a game before half time. The Cats could have taken a double-digit lead into half time but late goals from Franklin and late change Brent Renouf saw the lead just one goal to the Cats.

Hawthorn levelled the scores after four minutes thanks to little known player Shane Savage. The Cats had their chances but it was the Hawks who dominated the rest of the term. Franklin's fourth (and final) goal gave them the lead nearly ten minutes later and on with it they went, kicking four unanswered goals for the quarter. At one stage it looked like Andrew Mackie was about to march into an open goal after receiving the ball just inside ffity, however he handballed it to Matthew Stokes who to be fair to him was running the wrong way and although he tried to steady up on his right foot he hooked it through for a behind which to put it mildly upset a lot of people sitting near me. Luke Breust's goal just before the second-last siren gave the Hawks a 17 point lead and the total ascendancy.

Never write-off the Cats, ever, is one thing for the AFL world to take out of this last quarter. Darren Milburn (the sub) finally took the field in place of disappointing Travis Varcoe. The Cats took six minutes for their first goal to Steve Johnson and followed up two minutes later with another to Dan Menzel and another couple minutes later, Johnson's second. Johnson's first was from a clever passage of play, the Cats stole the ball back from the Hawthorn backmen who looked set to take it outside fifty and getting it onto Johnson who kicked a drop punt on a 45-degree angle some 30 metres out. Menzel's was all class, using his body to nudge out everyone else from a stoppage 30 metres out directly in front, dinking the ball off the outside of his right boot straight through the centre. Johnson's third came from a mark on a slight angle 15 metres out, though he chose to play on with a snap around the corner (to the delight of KRock commentator Andrew Bews) to put his side one point in front.

What followed in the next 22 minutes and 33 seconds was a classical 'Indian arm-wrestle', the ball running up both ends of the ground but only the Cats able to score - four behinds to be precise. Joel Selwood nearly kicked a goal from a very tight angle a bit over 50 metres out but hit the post. He had another chance much later on from the opposite boundary, and this time missed the lot when a behind would have made the difference one straight goal.

The ball made its way down to the Hawthorn forward line in the final minute of the match but the courageous Cats made sure nobody could get a clean posession, hacking the ball out of the 50m arc until finally it made its way to the wing. When the siren rang as the clock hit 31:25, one third of the crowd lept to their feet in joy while the remainder did the same but weren't very happy indeed, booing for some time. A bit like Arsène Charles Ernest Wenger, we did not see it, but apparently Frankling 'shoulda couda wouda' received a free kick and logic dictates they were robbed of a one point victory. Or so the SEN1116 commentators and rabble calling in banged on about on our otherwise innocuous journey home through Hawk territory on the train.

But who cares, winners are grinners, and that's certainly what we are tonight, the Jensen clan eventually splitting up after a post-match frothy in the Metrocats function room after the match, the other two heading down to Gee-long on the V/Line system. That's 11 on the trot, a truly amazing start to the season given what happened post-season 2010 and where we expected ourselves to be. Same time same venue next week against the Saints, though this time an 'away' match. Until then, as Lance from Lara says:


GEELONG: 5.2 10.2 10.6 13.10 (88) DEFEATED
HAWTHORN: 2.1 9.2 13.513.5 (83)

GEELONG: Podsiadly 6, Johnson 2, Varcoe, Menzel, Stokes, Chapman, Vardy
HAWTHORN: Franklin 4, Lewis, Osborne, Young, Sewell, Savage, Rioli, Renouf, Whitecross, Bruest

: Podsiadly, Kelly, Enright, Chapman, Selwood, Johnson
HAWTHORN: Mitchell, Franklin, Shiels, Sewell, Rioli, Lewis

: Nil
HAWTHORN: Max Bailey (cork) replaced in the selected side by Lady Brent Renouf

: Nil
HAWTHORN: Young (hamstring), Roughead (Achilles), Guerra (cheekbone)

: Nil

UMPIRES: Farmer, Findlay, McBurney
CROWD: 63,476 at MCG, Melbourne

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AFL 2011, ROUND 12


SATURDAY 11 JUNE 2011 19:10 AEST




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