CATS GRIND OUT GUTSY WIN OVER POWER,
KEEP FINALS HOPES ALIVE; FORMER SKIPPER BEN GRAHAM GIVEN SEND OFF
By Ben Jensen GEELONG ground out a gutsy ten point win over Port Adelaide at Skilled Stadium this afternoon, in front of just under 20,000 who witnessed former Captain and now New York Jets punter Ben Graham's lap of honour prior to the match. The win was soured by the reporting of Cameron Mooney.
Amoung the 19,149 was Steve Bracks, in his normal position of Aisle 3 Row A in the Hickey Stand, and alongside him (for protection from angry constituents in the Grovedale area?) was former Victorian Governor John Landy.
Although the ground experienced quite heavy rain in the 48 hours prior to the game, the rain held off all game, removing the only excuse for the poor skill level displayed throughout the game by both sides.
Prior to the game, Graham told local radio station K Rock "I'd like to thank the Geelong Football club for the 14 years which they gave me and also to the fans, I'm thrilled that I've got this opportunity to come and thank the fans, because they've been absolute amazing support for me."
Geelong's best players were utility Darren Milburn, ruckman/forward Brad Ottens, young rover / forward Matthew Stokes, forward / midfielder Paul Chapman, forward Andrew Mackie and loose man in defence Corey Enright. For once, Gary Ablett Junior had a quiet day, doing little for most of the day but did have a hand in a key goal or two in the final term when the game was there to be won.
Port's best was young Danyle Pearce, who was just too slick and fast for any of his many Geelong opponents throughout the day. Brendan Lade battled well down back, as did Chad Cornes. Shaun Burgoyne was good but not quite up to his best.
Geelong started off looking the part but just could not kick a goal - leaving Port to kick the opening goal of the match after more than six minutes. The Cats eventually managed a goal but went into the quarter time huddle seven points behind. Port's opening goal came from a questionable fifty-metre penalty awarded to Power Captain Warren Tredrea, who was brought to within twenty-five metres from goal and was never a chance of making a mistake.
In the second quarter Geelong were only arguably the better side, but importantly snatched the lead, taking a one goal lead into the main break. During the third quarter Geelong only kicked one goal to Port's three - Power midfielder Peter Burgoyne's goal after the siren gave them the lead.
Midway through the quarter, Cameron Mooney injured his calf while Port ruckman Dean Brogan left the field shortly into the second term with an injured ankle. Mooney is not only doubtful due to his injury, having been rumoured to miss today's game, but he's likely to miss anyway after being reported for punching Port Adelaide's Josh Mahoney in the second quarter. Mooney rushed at Mahoney and delivered a glancing blow to his right kidney region.
Port's goals typically came from Geelong errors - Ling's attempted kick from one forward pocket to the other, only to be smothered by a Port opponent the most glaring error. Still, the game was still there to be won, with just four points separating the two sides.
Port Adelaide started the final quarter in the best possible fashion, kicking the opening goal in the first minute. But Geelong responded within a minute, with a goal to Paul Chapman, who gratefully accepted the assist from Ablett.
It was left to another small player, in fact the smallest and least paid on the ground in Matthew Stokes, who took a fine contested mark in front of goal, and converted to put the Cats two points in front. Stokes' goal was followed by an excellent set shot from a tight angle by Ottens.
Ottens kicked from near the boundary line in front of the Gary Ablett Terrace, about forty metres from goal. In the second quarter, Ottens kicked an almost identical goal from the same position, but in the other forward pocket.
Stokes kicked his second a short time later, receiving a handpass from Mooney, and it was officially party time. Another four rushed and missed behinds to the Cats made the margin three goals straight, meaning the Power had to score another three goals in less than five minutes to only even the scores.
Thankfully for the Cats, the fans and the visiting Graham family, Geelong held on, the Power kicking another goal and two behinds for a final winning margin of ten points to the Cats.
Geelong remain in tenth position on the ladder with seven wins behind three on eight wins in Richmond (ninth), Fremantle (eighth) and Sydney (seventh). The Cats have a superior percentage to all bar the Swans.
Next Sunday Geelong host the in form Western Bulldogs at Telstra Dome in a traditional clash for the AFL's 'Heritage Round'. The Bulldogs beat Carlton by thirty points today, and remain in the top four but their injury toll is growing - roving forward Daniel Giansiracusa pulled a hamstring while defender and Port premiership player Brett Montgomery hurt a calf muscle.
Geelong's other rivals for the final eight, Richmond and Sydney play each other at . Fremantle host Melbourne at Subiaco, and despite Melbourne's good form and good record in the West, having defeated West Coast there a fortnight ago, the Dockers will take some beating. The Dockers beat Eddie 'Should we bone her?' McGuire's Collingwood today at the MCG.
The Cats aren't in too bad form, having won four of the last five; the only aberration being the fifteen-goal thumping handed out by the Adelaide Crows at AAMI Stadium. A win over the Bulldogs will really put the pressure on the young Tigers and fragile Dockers, however the Cats have to face the Brisbane Lions at the GABBA in round seventeen.
IN THE VFL the Bendigo Bank Cats were soundly beaten by Kangaroo affiliate North Ballarat yesterday, the only goals coming from Shannon Byrnes and Jamie Davenport.
GEELONG: 1.1, 4.5, 5.9, 9.14
3.1 4.5 6.6 8.6 (54) DEFEATED
BEN GRAHAM'S LAP OF HONOUR WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY, BESIDES THE CATS' NARROW WIN [CLICK FOR FULL SIZED IMAGE]
"I'd like to thank the Geelong Football club for the 14 years which they gave me and also to the fans, I'm thrilled that I've got this opportunity to come and thank the fans, because they've been absolute amazing support for me..." BEN GRAHAM
FORMER SKIPPER BEN GRAHAM, CARRIED OFF AFTER HIS 200TH GAME IN ROUND 6 2004
Sports Delivered/AFL Video are the official distributor of AFL videos (including DVDs)
KATH 7 KIM SERIES 1, 2, 3!