AFL ROUND 7 2007: CATS SLAY EAGLES; BREAK HOODOO,
CELEBRATE WOJCINSKI'S 100TH GAME
By Ben Jensen GEELONG has beaten reigning premiers West Coast Eagles by 39 points in front of 22,014 fans basking in the sunshine at Skilled Stadium. Brad Ottens and Mark Blake dominated the ruck while onballers Jimmy Bartel and Gary Ablett were the Cats' best on ground. Eagle David Wirrpanda was a general in defence but his efforts were largely futile. Geelong put to bed any doubts about hanging on to a lead against the AFL's bad boys, Cameron Mooney's final two goals adding the exclamation point to the win.
After a seesawing opening term Geelong took a two point lead into quarter time. West Coats kicked the opening goal seven minutes into the second quarter, but it was to be their final goal until the fifth minute mark of the final quarter, as the Cats kicked eight unanswered goals.
The Eagles challenged in the last quarter, at one stage kicking five goals to two to bring the margin to back within four goals. But to their credit the Cats weren't about to let this one slip, and big men Nathan Ablett (one) and Cameron Mooney (two) booted the final three goals of the match to cement the Eagles' slide from top of the ladder to second behind Port Adelaide.
4.4 6.8 11.12 16.13 (109) DEFEATED
Early in the opening quarter tough Eagles onballer Michael Braun made much of the play, running down the outer wing. Towards the end of the quarter however his opponent Kane Tenace got on top, coinciding with a momentum shift. Brad Ottens' inclusion into centre ruck contests was a master stroke and immediately paid dividends. Ottens' forward thrusts also help the Cats get over the Eagles throughout the day.
Jimmy Bartel and Gary Ablett added to their growing reputations outside Geelong, with stellar performances that should earn them Brownlow votes. But the Eagles still got plenty of the ball, and if it were not for backline generals Matthew Scarlett and Darren Milburn they may have made more of their forward sorties.
The two Coreys, Enright and Joel excelled, Enright running off a flank and Joel in the centre and at times playing as a defender on, following Chris Judd when he rested in the forward line. Cameron Ling deserves plaudits for his blanketing of Daniel Kerr, who played a big hand in the Eagles' comeback win at the same venue last year. Kerr seemed mentally exhausted by the end of the game, not picking up a single possession in the second half.
Cameron Mooney kicked goals when it counted, as did Nathan Ablett. The forward line, while almost identical in personnel to last year, looks so much better at present. The inclusion of the exciting Travis Varcoe, and hard working Matthew Stokes, hamstrung Paul Chapman's replacement, seems to be working. Tom Hawkins again failed to trouble the scorers at home and should be given a run in the VFL soon.
David Wojcinski's 100th game was not much to write home about compared to his other games this season, but he still excited the crowd and terrorised the Eagles with his run from the wing.
The class of Gary Ablett shone again today; he has to be attracting Brownlow votes. Probably his most impressive piece of play only resulted in an amusing behind to big man Mark Blake, but was inspirational. On the outer wing in front of a rabid Hickey Stand (including this correspondent), Ablett was tackled by three West Coast players right on the boundary line. Refusing to give up, Ablett somehow got to his feet and shinned the ball up the field. He then ran on, and played a hand in running the ball into the forward fifty. Blake failed to convert but it let everyone know: Cats don't give up, especially not an Ablett.
Matthew Egan's contribution today and throughout the season should not be underrated. How Geelong found Egan, who was playing at Oak Park when drafted onto the rookie list, is a blessing on a par with the Abletts, Scarlett Hawkins. Egan's athleticism and intelligence, along with Scarlett and Milburn's cunning, helped keep the Eagle forwards to just ten goals.
Next Saturday May 19 Geelong host in form Fremantle, again at Skilled Stadium. Fremantle were fortunate to beat Hawthorn at Subiaco this afternoon.
GEELONG held off Essendon affiliate Bendigo to win by thirty-two points in the AFL curtain raiser this morning. Former skipper Steven King kicked four goals, as did recruit, former Eagle and Demon Phil Read. King will still find it difficult to break his way back into the AFL side, but importantly there is now competitive tension in the ruck division for the first time since 1999, John Barnes' final year at the Cats.
VFL ROUND SIX 2007
GEELONG 5.4 8.8 15.10 20.16 (136)
GEELONG: P. Read 4, S. King 4, C.
Urie 2, R. Gamble 2, J. Davenport, J. Byrne, M. Rooke, M. Spencer, C.
Gardiner, T. Couch, S. Hogan, T. West
AS OF 7/5/2007 GEELONG HAD 28,348 MEMBERS, UP JUST 67 (0.2%) FROM 28,281 MEMBERS LAST WEEK (30/4/2007). TARGET: 32,291 (3,943 TO GO!)
BUY MUM A MEMBERSHIP - http://gfc.com.au
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE MATCH? WAS IT NATHAN ABLETT'S BEST GAME YET?