Ben Jensen 21 March 2008

By Ben Jensen GEELONG started their season in perfect fashion, defeating Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in the Grand Final Replay. In front pretty much all game, and by fourty-four points at half time, the Cats let Port back into the match but never surrendered the lead; the final margin was just nine points.

James Kelly and Joel Corey were Geelong's best in the match that saw ruckman Trent West make his AFL debut, and Ryan Gamble play just his second match.

The win was Geelong's third in a row at AAMI Stadium, a venue which was previously a very unhappy hunting ground - previously the Cats tasted success just three times in twenty-one visits.

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GEELONG 6.4 (40) 10.8 (68) 12.11 (83) 15.15 (105) DEFEATED
PORT ADELAIDE 4.0 (24) 6.1 (37) 10.6 (66) 14.12 (96)

GEELONG: Stokes 3, Chapman 3, Mooney 2, Johnson, Chapman, Gamble, Ling, Hawkins, Corey, Ablett, Mackie
PORT ADELAIDE: Ebert 3, Lade 2, Tredrea 2, Motlop 2, Logan, Boak, S.Burgoyne, C.Cornes, Westhoff

GEELONG: Kelly, Corey, Enright, Ling, Ablett, Selwood, Milburn, Chapman
PORT ADELAIDE: Lade, K.Cornes, K.Cornes, P.Burgoyne, K.Cornes, Salopek, Cassisi


Josh Hunt, in his 100th game, appeared to injure his ankle during the third quarter, after landing ackwardly in a marking contest. He came down on his left ankle before limping to the bench. The doctors took his shoe and sock off and immediately led him down into the rooms. However there was good news shortly after as Hunt returned to the bench, shoe back on, albeit limping.

Late in the third quarter Warren Treadrea was felled by the unlikely Shannon Byrnes after marking thirty-five metres from goal. He was immediately given a fifty metre penalty. A bit of biffo ensued, which was mediated by Brendan Lade and Cameron Ling who shook hands and got on with the game - a credit to them both.

The Cats now have ten days off before their first 'home' game of the season, against Essendon on a Sunday afternoon at Telstra Dome. The game will once more be televised on Channel Seven, and Setanta Sports 2 for those in the UK.

Expect Brad Ottens and Maxie Rooke to return, at the expense of Trent West and Ryan Gamble. Brent Prismall may also get a look in while plucky Shannon Byrnes seems to be the whipping boy of Geelong fans again this season (not sure what else he has to do).


The Cattery and his beloved made a decision to move to England and have a crack at work and travel for a few years not long after the dust had settled on season 2005. Little did we know we would be leaving Australia just months after the Cats had brought home a Premiership. Anyway, better than missing out on it!

One of the first pieces of research done after securing a flat was - just how are we going to watch footy? Setanta Sports of course! Unfortunately the most reliable ways of watching it are with Sky's satellite service and Virgin's cable service - neither of which were available. The lease specifically mentions their no-dish policy several times, and a quick check of Virgin's website revealed they don't have cable in our street.

We found out you can get Setanta Sports 1 on 'Freeview' - you use a normal set top box, but pay to get a special card you slot into the back, which sets you back 9.99 quid a month for one additional channel. We also discovered you can get it through the Pommie version of Telstra, and another ISP called Tiscali. We'd already decided to go with Tiscali when we found out that the LIVE games were only on 'Setanta Sports 2' - which only Tiscali had. So, Tiscali it was going to be! First step though, which should be simple, is getting the existing phone line turned back on by BT, so we could get Tiscali up and running. Wrong! Not simple at all - nothing ever is here.

First of all some git had me on and off hold for an hour, before eventually giving up on me and put me back into the queue! Previous to that he couldn't find my house on their computer system and that I'd have to pay 150 pounds for an 'engineer' (as if a genuine engineer would leave the office) to come out and verify what line I had and what my address was. Fat chance!. The next lass said he probably just hung up on me as the computer's down, and to call back some other time. I did explain I was at a mate's house and may not have access to a phone again. She said no problem laddie, just use a payphone.

Next morning we went to the phone at the end of the street, next to the pub. It appeared it also now doubles as a slashhouse and we can tell you after an hour inside we were feeling pretty rank. This guy was a bit more helpful though and gave me a code to type into the phone back home to find its number. It did actually make things a bit easier, although they still insisted I pretend my address was a Flat A instead of Number 3, which I could foresee would cause more problems down the track.

After all that, at the end of an hour he said mate the credit check says you're a risk and you have to pay 25 pounds up front. I said OK mate, I'll give you my credit card. Which naturally didn't work. Tried two other Visa cards, no luck. Then the git works out all non-UK cards are banned from BT, unless you do it 'online'. 'Pardon?' I said. We don't have the Internet because we're waiting for a phone line! Bad luck he said and hung up.

Found an Internet cafe, which are rare over here, and had a stab at this line enabling. Filled out all the forms but in the end it didn't even ask me for my credit card so I suspected something was amiss. Made a mental note to call BT again the next day to find out what happened.

Did just that, spoke to a lovely lass who did take a while to work out what happened, but eventually told me my order had been rejected after all, even though I'd received a confirmation email. She suggested I ask someone else if I can use their credit card, which wasn't really practical! But eventually she tried to place our order again, and to both our shock it went through, without demanding the 25 pound payment! Today's Saturday, and the line would be ready by Wednesday. Better be, I thought, Round One at AAMI is on in just under three weeks and I need to watch it!

In the meantime I'd been sneaking outside my flat onto the first stairwell to hook into someone over the back fence's Wifi they'd left unprotected. So first thing Wednesday I was back on my stairwell, logging onto Tiscali's website to place my order. The sense of anticipation was amazing.

For some reason the first date I could get the TV installed was on the 22nd, several days after Round One, which wasn't any good but at least I'd see it from then on. But then I realised we'd be in Brugge, Belgium, on that day for Easter. Called straight up and got onto an Irish dude who said I'd have to call back closer to the day.

From that day on we turned on the ADSL router each day to see if our broadband was working. Waste of time we started to conclude, but then after a bit over a week, the lights all turned on at once - broadband! We had also managed to book our installation in for the 15th, so we'd get to see round one after all!

Setanta's coverage was released the next week, confirming five of the first six Geelong games would all be covered LIVE. You beauty! No need to waste time in that dive of a joint, the ubiquitous Walkabout.

Another logistical hurdle presented itself - one of the electrical engineers was a Port Adelaide fan. I feared he may want to spoil the result for me, although to be fair he's a true fan so wouldn't do so. I considered taking the entire day off to watch the game, since it started at 9:45AM our time - but since I'm a contractor didn't want to miss out on the cash, particularly when I've got a small loan to pay back to a mate. So the Tiscali+ box was programmed to record the game, so I could watch it when I got home that night.

Despite my warnings to all other Aussies not to let me know the result, the temptation was just TOO much. Plus we were leaving for Belgium at 6 the next morning so would need to get ready once I got home, not be glued to the TV.

How sweet it was to listen to KRock from the other side of the world, hearing the boys bring home a thrilling win in the heart of Adelaide (while my new colleague listened to Adelaide's MMM coverage in the other building!). We'll do it again, I reckon. And I might just fly back if business is good!

2008 DRAW:




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