GEELONG WIN 2006 NAB
By Ben Jensen THE CATS WON THE NAB CUP by just eight points in a thriller in front of 30,000 at Adelaide's Football Park tonight. Trailing with ten minutes to go, Geelong won through three forth quarter goals to Cameron Mooney and a super goal to Joel Corey. The game was reminiscent to the final against Sydney at the SCG last season, and will go down as one of the classic pre-season finals. DOWNLOAD GEELONG THEME SONG (MP3 FORMAT)
The win was the Geelong Football Club's first premiership since the 1963 grand final, after many grand final appearances stretching back to 1988's pre-season comp. Acting Captain Matthew Scarlett accepted the NAB Cup and gave a gracious acceptance speech, speaking better than many expected. The scenes afterwards were of jubilation, the players all wearing smiles as they piled on each other for the winning photo with the NAB Cup.
Geelong's best was Cameron Mooney; closely followed by Jimmy Bartel, Kane Tenace, Joel Corey and Paul Chapman. Mark Blake deserves a special mention. Not expecting to play a lead role for the club this early in his career, he tried his hardest, his second and third efforts outstanding and ultimately match-winning.
The win did come at a cost; Cameron Ling injured a knee while James Kelly appeared to hurt his arm. Brad Ottens and Nathan Ablett didn't play. Ling injured his knee late in the first half, appearing to either receive a knock while in midair or when he landed after jumping. Ling gingerly made his way to the podium to accept his winner's medal and posed for photographs on the boundary line afterwards.
The game was reminiscent of Geelong's loss to the Swans at the SCG last season, when Nick Davis kicked a miracle goal with just seconds to spare. But it wasn't going to happen this time; the Geelong defence kept Adelaide's forwards away from goal, with players ahead of play ensuring any forward sorties came to nothing. The Cats did remain vulnerable to a nine point 'super goal' but thankfully it didn't happen.
Mark Thompson was very pleased following the win, demanding that the monkey be taken off the club's back after the grand final win. Thompson also encouraged all Geelong fans to get down to the family day tomorrow at Skilled Stadium.
Geelong trailed at each change, and started poorly. Deep into the second quarter the lead was more than twenty points, with the Cats scoring just one goal to the Crows' four. But three goals in three minutes changed all that, the half time lead being only seven points.
A similar third term developed; Geelong kicking a couple quick goals, including two super goals from Gary Ablett and Josh Hunt, put the Cats in front. But the Crows went on to kick a super goal of their own and took a handy thirteen point lead into the final term.
But Geelong simply refused to concede defeat, even when staring at a sixteen point deficit with just ten minutes remaining on the clock, after the Crows booted two early goals in the final term. As mentioned earlier, Cameron Mooney was thrown into the forward line and contested everything that came into the zone. Joel Corey booted a super goal so snatch the lead while Mooney's third goal put the Cats eight points in front. What followed was a very nervous final four minutes, even for non-Geelong supporters in this corespondent's Carlton supporting Mrs.
The way the team held out the Crows and celebrated the final siren with the fans at the ground and those of us at home was a great feeling. Of course it's only a pre-season competition, a glorified practice match. But rest assured tonight's game was one the Crows took seriously, as evidenced by their players after the game. It shows the Cats have hit maturity as a team and can win finals in a crunch against quality opposition.
Besides the injuries to Ling, Kelly and the no show of Ottens and Nathan Ablett, the Michael Tuck Medal for best on ground was awarded to Adelaide's Simon Goodwin. We are certainly biased but winners are grinners - unless you are outstanding as Nathan Buckley and Gary Ablett were in losing grand finals, you shouldn't win a best on ground in a final! Cameron Mooney all the way!.
Get down to Skilled Stadium tomorrow, and if you haven't done it yet, buy a membership.
CARN THE MIGHTY CATS!
GEELONG: 0.1.1 0.5.3 2.6.4 3.10.5 (92) DEFEATED
BEST - GEELONG: Mooney, Bartel, Corey, Tenace, Chapman
VFL PRACTICE MATCH REPORTS - KING GETS THROUGH FIRST TEST
We didn't see the game, so much refer you to a Cats Claw thread full of excellent first hand reports: