CATS DEFEAT DEMONS; REMAIN IN TOP EIGHT
THE HOODOO CONTINUES, GEELONG defeating Melbourne by a lazy 14 points in front of 21,157 at Skilled Stadium yesterday. Geelong remains in eight position, joined in the top eight by four other Victorian teams, St Kilda, Essendon, the Kangaroos and of course Melbourne. After leading by forty points midway through the third quarter, five Aaron 'Jack' Davey goals brought this lead down to a solitary behind early in the forth quarter. It was the hometown hero, Gary Ablett, who started the fight back and effectively snatched the game back before Melbourne could steal it.
Outnumbered by his Demon opponents, Ablett at first did not take posession of the ball, preferring instead to paddle it to his advantage. He then pounced on the ball, did a U-turn and slammed it through on his right boot, bringing most of the crowd to their collective feet. Andrew Mackie followed up soon afterwards with a similar classy goal.
Cameron Mooney was next to join the remarkable goal club, in similar circumstances to Ablett, fending off two defenders before slotting through his third goal for the day, in one of his best games yet this season. Playing in the ruck for most of the day, he delivered what can only be described as controlled, smart aggression. Paul Chapman booted his third and the Cats' final goal for the match with Geelong's third crumbing goal of the quarter.
One of Geelong's best against the Demons last weekend, David Haynes, was a late withdrawal, replaced by (guess who) David Johnson, the second time in the last two weeks when Johnson's came into the side. Earlier in the day, Geelong's VFL team defeated Melbourne affiliate and VFL ladder leader Sandringham by 31 points, with Corey Enright resuming.
Melbourne had the jump on Geelong, kicking two opportunistic goals inside the first give minutes. But those were to be their last goals for nearly forty minutes; Geelong kicked seven goals one behind in that first quarter, following up with two in the second, to Melbourne's one.
After Geelong kicked an early goal in the second half, the rest of the quarter belonged to the Demons. Aaron Davey proved why he's been given such raptures thus far in his AFL career; the few grand that Melbourne had to scrape together to promote him from the Rookie list has paid dividend in easily a few hundred memberships. Davey booted five goals, four of them in the third quarter and four from brilliant roving. He possesses excellent hand and foot skills, as well as good defensive attitude. While Sanderson was far from disgraced, losing control only for that twenty minute period, he'll take solace in his domination of the rest of the game.
Prior to the game I said that Geelong has "just about the best back six (or seven?) going around". That statement was vindicated yesterday, despite what some on Demonology might say. Matthew Scarlett kept Melbourne Captain David Neitz to zero goals, Neitz kicking just three behinds and not contributing much. He did contest in the first half, but was benched at one stage in the final term.
Tom Harley was another in the backline who starred. Harley and Scarlett took 17 marks between them, while Brenton Sanderson took 12 himself. Darren Milburn was his usual laconic self, gathering 18 possessions. Henry Playfair started the game on Demon Ben Holland, who was soon taken from the field.
In the engine room it was Cameron Ling and James Kelly doing the hard work, gathering nearly fifty possessions between them. Up forward Kent Kingsley was simply too strong (and good) for his opponents, but could only manage four goals five.
The biggest cheer of the day came late in the first quarter when Captain Steven King prepared to come onto the ground for the first time since Round 14 in 2003. King took off on a lead and immediately took his first mark, kicking the ball to Cameron Ling, another winner.
After the game, King said "I was pretty scratchy, no match fitness, but it was just great to get one under the belt and be a part of it all. I was excited this morning waking up, like a kid again. (I) get a chance to play footy again and I have to just make sure I make the most of it, not take it for granted".
When asked if there was a set plan for him to join his charges in the centre square, King said "I did not plan to go into the centre bounce at all today but I felt pretty good and just wanted to get in there. At ball ups around the ground and boundary work I was a bit rusty, I haven't done a lot of that yet. I've done all the running and skills work and left the jumping until last. I was probably searching for the man a little bit but that will come in a few more weeks." When asked about his troublesome achilles, King said "I feel all right at the minute but I'll be pretty sore tomorrow. I look forward to that, I've been waiting to be sore for a fair while."
Coach Mark Thompson was pleased with the win, more so that persistence had won out. "As I said to a lot of people, I almost expected us to play good footy this year and it was extraordinary that we didn't play that way the first two games. I'm disappointed with the first two rounds because we were better than that. But what we're doing now I think we we're capable of doing."
Andrew Mackie must be in the running for a Rising Star nomination any week now, his three goals and 10 possessions all oozing class. His raw stats don't tell the full story; Mackie's deft touch and defensive work bringing goals to the team. Kane Tenance, nominated after Round 6, continued his rise. Another relative newcomer, after several injury plagued seasons, Josh Hunt, who has the largest calves we've seen since the days of Dwayne Russell, delighted the home crowd with his accurate kicking and general physical presence.
Next Saturday night at Telstra Dome Geelong host in form Essendon. The Bombers have won their last few, trouncing Adelaide at Football Park on Friday night. Essendon will be without skipper James Hird however, who received an unfortunate finger to the eye. Geelong may regain the services of David Haynes and Joel Corey. Corey lined up on Sunday but was forced from the field early, suffering from a virus. The match will be a fully ticketed affair. If you have not done so already, buy your membership. (Go to gfc.com.au).
GEELONG: 7.1 9.5 11.9 15.11 (101) DEFEATED
GOALS: GEELONG: Kingsley 4, Mackie, Chapman,
Mooney 3, Kelly, Ablett
GEELONG 0.5 4.10 8.12 12.16 (88) DEFEATED
ANDREW MACKIE NAMED RISING STAR FOR ROUND 8 ! (CLICK FOR FULL SIZE)
ALL AUSTRALIAN MATTHEW SCARLETT MAKES PLAYING ON DAVID NEITZ LOOK EASY
GARY ABLETT EVADES WHELAN THE WRECKER TO KICK THE MATCH CLINCHING GOAL! (CLICK FOR FULL SIZE)
BRENT MOLONEY GIVES 'JACK' DAVEY THE DON'T ARGUE (CLICK FOR FULL SIZE)
CAMERON LING BREAKS FREE (CLICK FOR FULL SIZE)
JOSH HUNT TACKLES CAMERON THE BRUCE (CLICK FOR FULL SIZE)