CATS WIN THROUGH TO PRELIMINARY FINAL
WITH BELTING OF SWANS
AFL FINALS 2017 FIRST SEMI FINAL: GEELONG CATS V SYDNEY SWANS GEELONG comprehensively atoned for last Friday night by dismantling Sydney at the MCG last night, winning by fifty-nine points. Before the match the news that Tom Lonergan would miss with food poisoning cast a dark cloud over the chances of the Cats beating the Swans, who they'd lost to by big margins in their two previous encounters. But at the first bounce Harry Taylor was on Lance Franklin and midfield superstar Patrick Dangerfield up forward, both moves masterstrokes by under-fire coach Chris Scott. Dangerfield booted the Cats' first two goals of the game and four on the night while Taylor kept Franklin goalless.
The first quarter was an arm wrestle of sorts but the Cats had clearly come to play and led by 5 points into quarter time. The second quarter they really put the peddle to the metal, booting six goals to the Swans' solitary six-pointer, Geelong up by an even five goals at half time. Bossing the midfield in place of Dangerfield was Mitch Duncan and Sam Menegola while the Selwood brothers were solid as always with Joel easing his way back into the game and Scott applying his toughness to the ball and his opponent.
The second half was more of the same, midway through the third term is seemed like there was five minutes to go in the game the Swans looked that far out of it, almost ten goals behind the Cats. The Cats did ease off a bit and held the margin at fifty points or thereabouts, outscoring the Swans by four goals to one and two goals to one in the final two quarters respectively. Along with spearhead of the night Dangerfield, who could have kicked six or seven, Dan Menzel booted two goals, Menegola and Duncan also two apiece, with singles to Steven Motlop (who was good), Mark Blicavs, Zac Smith, Rhys Stanley who came in for Lonergan, and Tom Hawkins. Hawkins was not completely disgraced but didn't do a whole lot on the scoreboard, booting his one goal late in the game.
Taylor as mentioned played a blinder, as did all the backmen. Tom Stewart received a standing ovation at one point for his multiple efforts chasing the ball out of the backline, but is under an injury scare now having been taken from the ground not long after with a hamstring complaint- no news on this yet. Jed Bews is surely an automatic selection now, his defensive work plus use of the ball is very reliable- and his second efforts second to none. Zach Tuohy, Andrew Mackie, Lachie Henderson and Jake Kolodjashnij haven't let their colours down much lately and this continued last night. An inclusion along with Stanley and Menzel last night was Darcy Lang, who had been out of favour since round 14, and he certainly repaid the selectors' newfound faith in him, taking ten marks and twenty-odd disposals.
Brandan Parfitt is only a first-year player wearing Jimmy Bartel's number 3 jumper but you would hardly know this, dishing off a couple goal assists and despite having a small frame when a Swan ran into the back of him it wasn't Parfitt coming off second best. Mark Blicavs was one of the Cats' best, not as prominent with the ball but neither was Josh Kennedy and this is why. Motlop put in a much better game than he has in recent times, in a recurring theme repaying the selectors' faith in him.
As mentioned Rhys Stanley was an inclusion for Lonergan and played his role very well, although current favoured ruckman Zac Smith was outstanding himself and will certainly hold onto his spot next week. Stanley took a good mark late in the game in front of goal but sprayed the set shot wide missing the lot, missing his chance to be a multiple goal kicker. Zach Guthrie continues to be mentioned more for his boyish looks than his play but put in another handy game, while fellow youngster James Parsons has had the game largely pass him by for a second final now and has to be in doubt for next week with the expected return of Tom Lonergan.
The Cats now play a preliminary final against the Adelaide Crows in Adelaide, expected to be on Friday night 7:20PM local time. FULL MATCH REPORT
3.1 9.4 13.4 15.8 (98) DEFEATED
CROWD: 55,529, MCG, Melbourne
AFL FINALS 2017 - FIRST SEMI FINAL
GEELONG CATS V SYDNEY SWANS
FRIDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2017, 19:50