GEELONG'S SEASON REVIVED WITH BIG WIN OVER ESSENDON
GEELONG (eventually) easily accounted for Essendon at Telstra Dome tonight in front of just under forty nine thousand. After trailing by over twenty points midway through the third term, the Cats turned it on when it mattered most for a well earned win.
The first half was certainly a forgettable affair - memorable if only for Brad Ottens and Kent Kingsley kicking two goals each and James Bartel taking to the field. Geelong held a slim (five behind) lead over the Bombers at half time.
The Bombers certainly came out of the blocks in the second half. Captain James Hird had a lot to do with their opening four goals - Darren Milburn played the Essendon great very loosely. After the Bombers took a twenty point lead - things didn't look good. All until a coaching master stroke - moving Josh Hunt onto James Hird. Straight away, Hunt used his body mass to outmaneuver Hird in a marking contest to take a one hander - which launched a forward sortie. This resulted in David Johnson snapping a goal over his head from the goalsquare, which launched the Cats' fantastic comeback.
Geelong would kick a further eleven unanswered goals; with seven in the third term alone. In the quarter, Steve Johnson and Henry Playfair kicked two each, Kingsley a single from general play and Gary Ablett a good goal from a set shot. Ablett's goal came after Tom Harley rebounded an attempted Essendon thrust up forward - Harley being hit very late after disposing of the ball by Nathan Lovett-Murray, who was not even in the contest. Lovett-Murray's head collided with Harley's, who was knocked into next week. Inexplicably, the umpire officiating didn't award a down the ground free, but the incident will certainly be looked at on video. [The umpire wasn't alone - while watching the replay on Fox Footy, Channel Ten's Steve Quartermain said "Harley milked it for all it was worth" - good one Steve].
Geelong lead by thirty-seven points at three-quarter time, and came out of the blocks in the final quarter. By five minutes in, the Cats had another three goals and the first of the Bombers not-so-faithful started heading home. To their credit, most fans stayed until the bitter end, and were rewarded by Matthew Lloyd kicking his 700th ever goal. (It must be said he didn't deserve it - his 699th, like so many before, came from a free kick he staged - a terrible decision that fortunately had no impact on the game, just the record books).
The Cats finished the quarter with another seven goals, the Bombers just two - both to Lloyd. James Bartel kicked a couple - oops, "call me Jimmy". By the second half everybody was calling him Jimmy - his return to the game after being knocked out last Friday night was an inspiration to his teammates.
The media should (but probably won't) get off Brad Ottens' back after this game. The man was in everything - winning the ruck, getting on his hands and knees roving, tackling, marking and kicking the odd goal. This morning Ottens awoke to find himself potted in both papers - all this after just three rounds of football. Ottens played quite a good game in round two, and had two indifferent games after that - hardly a cause for the panic button.
Steve Johnson found plenty of the ball but earlier on in the game seemed intent in sniping off various Essendon players at the centre bounce, his most popular target being Bomber captain James Hird. It was Johnson's first AFL game of the season, one of many more it would seem on tonight's performance.
Josh Hunt had another good game; following on from his watershed 2004 season. He was joined in the best by Henry Playfair. Big H kicked two in the third and was unlucky not to get a third (after having his head removed in the goalsquare only to see the free go to Steve Johnson on a tighter angle). Playfair was rushed down back after Harley went down; but he was barely needed.
In the middle of the ground Paul Chapman and Corey Enright were ball magnets and did the smart things to keep their team in the game. Enright's kicking has improved greatly this season, while Chapman continues his terrier style play.
Geelong, in contrast to the Bombers, played a 'good brand' of football. While not playing with complete reckless abandon, their style did result in a couple Essendon goals. But the style paid dividends. This was in stark contrast to Essendon's boring, defensive style - at one stage in the final term, it appeared Kevin Sheedy'd been taking lessons from Garry 'Buddha' Hocking, with no players in their offensive half of the ground. When the Bombers finally did win posession, they ended up kicking 'for touch' to earn a boundary throw-in as they had nobody to kick to!
Geelong play Port Adelaide at Football Park this Friday night; a game to be televised live on Channel Nine. While they would have expected Cameron Mooney, who played for the VFL side today, to return - he may find himself suspended, after being 'red carded' from the ground this afternoon against North Ballarat for quite stupidly abusing an umpire. Mooney will face the VFL tribunal on Tuesday night. Big Moons allegedly said something like: "What $%&ing good does asking a &^(*(ing question at quarter #(*U^&ing time do you %^&!ing stupid ^&)(^ing sheep $$##)(ing $#)*?". It does no good at all, apparently.
GEELONG: 3.4, 5.10, 12.15, 19.17 (131) DEFEATED
GOALS GEELONG: Kingsley 3, Ottens 2, Playfair 2,
S.Johnson 2, Bartel 2, Ablett 2, D.Johnson, Chapman 2, Kelly, Riccardi,
THE CATS RUN ONTO THE GROUND
VFL ROUND 3 - SATURDAY APRIL 16 NORTH BALLARAT TOO
GOOD FOR CATS TEAM LIST
NORTH BALLARAT 5.5-35 7.8-50 11.11-77 17.14-116
GOALS: NORTH BALLARAT: Whyman 4, Hutchinson,
Spolding, George 3, Clark, Plunkett, Porter, Chester
VFL ROUND 4 - SUNDAY APRIL 24