CATS OUTSHINE SWANS
Anthony Jensen 20 April 2008
By Anthony Jensen The sun was shining down at Skilled
today, and the thus far undefeated Geelong side ran out through a smoky
haze [caused by some burning off in Geelong's west I'm told] ready to
face their latest challengers,
the stifling Sydney who were 2-2 going into this match.
big [bad and bustling] out for Sydney was Barry Hall, whilst for Geelong
notable absences included two up and comers in Harry Taylor [omitted
to make way for Mackie] and Ryan 'Punter' Gamble out through suspension.
Geelong came out
firing and through the enigmatic albeit sometimes unorthodox brilliance
of one Stevie Johnson, who helped himself to three first quarter goals,
the home side saw themselves 5 goals up at the first break. Apart from
Sydney big man Darren Jolly who was dominating in the ruck and took
potential mark of the day, the Swans looked flat and were urged to turn
it around. The Sydney siders and a handful of their fans were suitably
gobsmacked and the visible spray delivered by coach Paul Roos to his
players was well deserved.
The 2nd quarter was a different story, and despite resident speedster
David Wojcinski firing up the afterburners on several occasions and
Gary Ablett racking up possessions, the Swans surged and came back to
be within seven points going into half time.
The third quarter saw what we have come to expect from Sydney, the so-called
"rolling scrum" bottling up the play around stoppages, often
causing all but two players to be within 50m of the pill. The battle
between Goodes and Ling was enthralling to watch, with the dual Brownlow
winner getting plenty of the ball but a lot of it ineffective due to
the number 45's efforts. Whilst Matty Scarlett had kept him quiet so
far, some strong body work from Michael O'Loughlin helped to set up
a handy goal to Jude Bolton.
Brent Prismall [coming into the side for Gamble] laid a gallant tackle
on Jolly in the centre square, winning a free kick and setting up a
rare goal, one of only two scored in what was a very congested quarter
and an innaccurate one for both sides; each booting five behinds.
In the final period and not a moment to soon, son-of-a-gun Gary Ablett
took it upon himself to tear apart the now tired Sydney midfield, and
goaled twice within two minutes to give the home side some much needed
breathing space. Getting on the end of the now dominant ruck work of
Mark Blake was 'Wojo' Wojcinski, who twice weaved between flat footed
defenders to pierce the forward 50 and looks to be in his best form
for some years.
Geelong piled on four more goals and when Ablett scored again, his third
goal for the quarter and his team's seventh, the game was all but wrapped
up. As Mooney finally got on the end of a Matthew Stokes unselfish pass
and bagged his only goal for the day, the Cats were home and cemented
themselves as the team to beat in 2008.
GEELONG 6.2 (38) 7.8 (50) 8.13 (61)
SYDNEY 1.2 (8) 6.7 (43) 7.9 (51) 10.12 (72)
GEELONG: Stokes 4, Johnson 4, Ablett 3, Bartel 2, Wojcinski,
SYDNEY: Moore 2, Barlow 2, O'Keefe, J Bolton, Jolly, N Davis,
GEELONG: Ablett, Bartel, Johnson, Scarlett, Chapman, Stokes
SYDNEY: Jolly, McVeigh, Mattner, Kirk, Moore
UMPIRES: McBurney, Rosebury, Ellis
CROWD: 24,368 at Skilled Stadium, Geelong
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