CATS CLAW BACK; MAUL
EAGLES; NATHAN ABLETT KICKS FOUR
GEELONG have all but secured a place in September after trouncing Premiership favorite and ladder leader the West Coast Eagles by 76 points at Skilled Stadium today. Geelong lead at every change and won every quarter, and were strong all over the ground. In other good news, Geelong's extremely undermanned VFL side had a win over Bendigo. Boosted by the return of captain Steven King and key defender Tom Harley after a long absence, Geelong had a much stronger unit on paper. However that was weakened before the first bounce, with forward Paul Chapman ruled out with an existing hamstring injury while Josh Hunt was hit with a more serious ailment.
On Friday night Hunt underwent surgery to remove his appendix. Last Saturday against the Demons Hunt vomited while off the field but played on. He felt pain in his abdomen some time after training and was soon admitted to hospital. Hunt will probably miss the rest of the season but will be back in 2006.
The team sung We Are Geelong behind closed doors and once media were admitted, they didn't receive a warm welcome from coach Mark Thompson, who was notably agitated towards interviewer Andrew Maher and later the entire press conference. Bomber will probably be a bit embarrassed watching the footage tonight, but it is understandable; he was under siege this week after last week's one-point loss to Melbourne. Such 'experts' as Robert Walls and Gary Ayres effectively called for him to be sacked.
On a lighter note, Bomber did manage to exchange some banter with The Cattery correspondent Mark Heenan at Friday afternoon's press conference, so it can't be all bad!
The star of the first half today was Nathan Ablett. Playing just his second game, Ablett kicked three goals in the opening term and four for the first half, as the Cats raced to a forty-six point lead. By the start of the second quarter, Ablett already had his third opponent of the day, after taking five marks in the first quarter. Nathan could have had five but gave one away to Cameron Ling in the goalsquare in the first quarter.
Brother Gary also had a good day, helping himself to the one goal and setting up countless others, mostly using his left boot. Father Gary Senior was in attendance (in case you were unaware; he was shown on television every minute or two) and enjoyed the spectacle. Ablett attended most of Gary Junior's games in his debut season (2002) but has been keeping his distance for health reasons the past couple seasons.
Matthew Scarlett, who gave a rare interview this week with the Herald Sun (Read it here) relished the chance to once again play alongside mate Harley. Harley made an immediate impact, with several bone-crunching tackles to halt Eagles' forays up forward.
After trailing by forty-six points at half time, West Coast did not even score in the third quarter, while the Cats consolidated their lead with another two goals and five behinds.
By the start of the final quarter, Eagles coach John Worsfold put the proverbial cue in the rack and conceded the match, starting with reigning Brownlow medallist Chris Judd and this year's Brownlow favorite and Eagles captain Ben Cousins on the interchange bench.
Geelong kicked another four goals to win by seventy-six points. Geelong now sit in sixth position with eleven wins, ten losses and a healthy percentage of 112%.
While all players performed well, special mention must be made for Harley, the Abletts, Scarlett, Matthew Egan, Cameron Mooney, Shannon Byrnes, Jarad Rooke, Jimmy Bartel and Steve Johnson.
Delivery by foot by Steve Johnson and Gary Ablett was unbelievable. While Johnson still got the jitters when faced with set shots in front of goal, some of his ball delivery to teammates around the ground was stunning. Likewise, Gary Ablett's delivery was very accurate when under extreme pressure of approaching opponents.
Next week Geelong host Richmond to shore up their position in the final eight, but can't miss the finals now. Of course, that's only a good thing if we can do some damage and not just go out in straight sets!
GEELONG: 5.4, 10.7, 12.12, 16.13 (109)
ABLETT SENIOR SPOTS SOMETHING AMISS
THE ABLETT SHOW
JOSH HUNT HAD HIS APPENDIX REMOVED ON FRIDAY NIGHT
NATHAN ABLETT DURING HIS FIRST QUARTER BURST