DEPLETED CATS DOWNED BY SWANS; SEEK REDEMPTION AGAINST PORT AT HOME Ben Jensen 14 July 2005
LAST SATURDAY evening the Cats, crippled with injury, were smashed by an impressive Sydney Swans side. Three players pulled out pre-game, and with no emergency players left, an ill Matthew Scarlett and Shannon Byrnes played on. A positive was Mark Blake playing his second game.
Geelong started the game well, with the first goal of the game in the opening minutes. While Sydney was kept to a goal in the quarter, the Cats did not capitalise on their opportunities up forward. This came back to bite them when the Swans got onto something of a roll in the second term.
Sydney slammed on what, including their goal in the opening term, was ten unanswered goals before Geelong chipped in two just before half time to control the damage. Barry Hall, who didn't really get near the ball in the first quarter, ably assisted by the rapidly improving Amon Buchanan, did most of the damage. About all the Cats could do was watch.
Geelong continued their comeback in the second half, cutting Sydney's lead to just over twenty points. However it all came unstuck again; the Swans match the Cats' scoring for the quarter to retain a six goal lead at three quarter time. To add insult to injury, Sydney was able to kick a goal after the siren - which should not have been allowed to make the distance. All Geelong players in the goal square leapt forward leaving nobody on the goal line - allowing the kick to bounce just in front of goal, through for a goal.
By the five minute mark of the forth quarter, your correspondence found himself spending longer and longer monitoring the Rugby (Australia v South Africa) on Fox Sports as a respite from the pasting the Cats were receiving. The final margin was nine goals even.
This time last season most of us were spruiking our team's depth - in particular the rotating midfield. The lack of depth at either end of the ground has now been exposed - the absence on the field of Brad Ottens, Tom Harley, Henry Playfair; the lack of fitness to Matthew Scarlett, Steven King; and the lapse in form of Kent Kingsley has seen the side defeated by the likes of Fremantle at home, Collingwood at Telstra and the not completely unexpected losses to Brisbane and Sydney interstate.
This Saturday Geelong host Port Adelaide at home, and welcome back (at least on paper) captain Steven King; key forward Henry Playfair; deputy vice captain and midfield general Cameron Ling; trusty defender Jarad Rooke and the much improved David Johnson. Gone from the team are the two forwards Charlie Gardiner and David Haynes; a crook Brenton Sanderson; ruckman Mark Blake and inconsistent midfielder Kane Tenace.
SYDNEY: 1.1, 10.3, 13.6, 16.9 (105) DEFEATED
GOALS SYDNEY: Hall 5, O'Keefe 3,
Kirk 2, Davis 2, Crouch, Goodes, Ablett, O'Loughlin
RETURN OF THE KING
CAMERON LING RETURNS