CATS GET SEASON BACK
ON TRACK WITH WIN OVER SAINTS
By Ben Jensen GEELONG defeated St Kilda by three goals at Telstra Dome tonight in front of 48,313 fans. In a stunning turnaround of the previous month's form, losing four games in a row, the Cats outplayed the Saints and lead for most of the game, surviving a spirited comeback in the final quarter as St Kilda battled to win in Robert Harvey's club record 324th game.
The Cats had first use of the ball most of the night, courtesy of Captain Steven King and Brad Ottens' ruck work. Combined with the skills of Paul Chapman, James Kelly, and Kane Tenace and Joel Corey, it meant Geelong controlled the tempo of the game from beginning to end.
Paul Chapman was Geelong's best. He not only had plenty of the ball but used it well, kicking three goals and having a hand in others. His lookalike, David Johnson, earned his keep in defence, but also ran down the ground at will.
Tenace's second half, in particular his final quarter, helped win the game - indeed, his goal, Geelong's first of the final quarter after the Saints cut the lead to just two goals, was the sealer.
Tom Harley played his first game of the season. He did not have much game time but got through the game unscathed. Partner in crime Matthew Scarlett had a good game, as did all defenders, including Darren Milburn, Matt Egan.
Cameron Ling had a much improved game. His record was blemished after missing an absolute sitter that should have sealed the game - but the rest of his game was good. Jarad Rooke stuck on Robert Harvey all day, matching him in possessions with thirteen each.
Fresh from the VFL after being dropped after the round four loss against the Western Bulldogs, Steve Johnson kicked three goals and satisfied coach Mark Thompson. St Kilda big man (thug?) Aaron Hamill attempted to 'iron out' Johnson, but came off second best - having to leave the field early in the first quarter, never to return. Johnson continued on. Thomson said of Johnson: "He was having injections to stay out on the field, where during that one collision they (St Kilda) unfortunately lost one. I thought it was two brave teams going at each other.
Gary Ablett was well held by St Kilda's Steven Baker, and did not score a goal. Kent Kingsley was once more very disappointing, also not kicking a goal. Other forwards who had an off night were Henry Playfair and Charlie Gardiner. Peter Riccardi, who admittedly played mostly on the ball, seems to have lost the ability and/or confidence to go for goal when outside fifty. (It's actually quite amazing we won!)
GEELONG: 2.4, 6.5, 10.7, 12.10 (82) DEFEATED
The win puts Geelong back in touch, even with St Kilda (three wins, four losses) and in the top eight for now. The team turned around what was a shocking few weeks and deserve credit for not going to pieces on the big stage against a gun side in St Kilda. Most expects, including The Cattery believed it (a win) beyond the team tonight - hopefully the positive energy can be harnessed for the remainder of the season.
The VFL team has a bye this week, so no time for match practice for the likes of David Wojcinski, Tim Callan, Will Slade, Andrew Mackie and Shannon Byrnes, who are all desperate to break back into the side. Cameron Mooney, suspended from tonight's game, will be back next week. Expect at least one key forward to be demoted to make way for Mooney.
Geelong play Collingwood next Saturday night at the MCG. The Pies, easybeats the last couple seasons, are in form. As Cameron Ling said after the game tonight, it'll be a 'cracker'. Ticket information here.