CATS' CLASS SHOWS UP TIGERS
IN THE END
By Ben Jensen THE CATS blew away a spirited Tigers side with a seven goal to one third quarter, ending up winners by thirty points to remain top of the ladder, undefeated since round 21 last season. They don't call it the 'Premiership quarter' for not, so it was fitting Geelong blasted Richmond's hopes away. Richmond were in front at quarter and half time, but soon fell by the wayside as the Cats had winners all over the ground in their first match at the MCG since their record-breaking Grand Final win last September. Rain fell pretty much all game, but that didn't dampen the silky skills of Gary Ablett, Paul Chapman or Cameron Ling. And if anything, Jimmy Bartel improved. Richmond had a real red hot go early on but as is their want, didn't have enough in the tank when the Cats got out of second gear.
GEELONG 2.1 4.4 11.12 14.15 (99)
CROWD: 37,275 at MCG, Melbourne
At the opening bounce Andrew Mackie manned up on Matthew Richardson, who took his now-customary position on the wing, while Gary Ablett slotted back onto the ball after a brief absence due to injury. Tigers fans had plenty of cheer about after the first two minutes, as their side shot to a two goal to nil lead. The Cats answered back but a short time later the Tigers had another goal, due in part to a fortuitous bounce. Brett Deledio kicked a rush snapshot from a pocket, the ball bobbing up into the air and bouncing in front of Matthew Scarlett, who having waiting for the ball to bounce before gathering possession, looked like an English Premier League goalkeeper as he helplessly watch the ball sail straight over his head for a goal, and all he could do was shrug his shoulders.
The Cats probably should have gone into half time with a lead, but partially due to the conditions James Kelly and Ryan Gamble had trouble putting the ball between the big sticks - sometimes booting the ball out on the full. The margin at half time remained essentially the same, a two goal lead to Richmond. Both Richmond's goals resulted from fifty metre penalties, given away by Kelly and skipper Tom Harley.
As eluded to earlier, it was the third quarter when the Cats really turned it on. Cameron Mooney and Ryan Gamble really stamped their authority on the game, holding strong marks, while Gary Ablett and Cameron Ling bossed the midfield. Paul Chapman bobbed up with a couple for good measure, while Darren Milburn found himself on the goal-line at the right time for his fourth goal of the season. Andrew Mackie was well and truly on top of Matthew Richardson by three-quarter time, the siren couldn't ring quick enough for Terry Wallace and the brains trust from Punt Road.
In contract to Wallace, Mark Thompson was at his relaxed best, even during the final quarter as the Tigers grabbed a couple cheap goals in 'junk time'. Tom Hawkins, who didn't trouble the scorers but contested well early on considering the conditions, booted his one and only goal from just inside fifty to stem the tide, the Cats kicking three goals three for the term to the Tigers' four two.
Next Friday night Geelong play Collingwood, who had a narrow win over a disappointing St Kilda Friday night. Matthew Stokes should return, possibly in place of Max Rooke, who it must be said was good today, ferocious at the ball, but probably the odd man out right now as new boys Ryan Gamble and Harry Taylor told their own in specialist roles in the forward and back line respectively.
NOT SO GOOD NEWS in the VFL; the Cats defeated by Richmond affiliate Coburg. It was just the Cats' second loss of the season, although they find themselves in fourth position on the ladder behind Casey, North Ballarat and Williamstown on percentage alone.
COBURG 1.4 4.11 7.18 11.19 (85)