CARN THE MIGHTY CATS! GEELONG BEAT PORT ADELAIDE
IN THRILLER AT FOOTBALL PARK
GEELONG sensationally held out a fast finishing Port Adelaide in front of just over 33,000 tonight. Brad Ottens was Geelong's best player; playing very well in the ruck and taking contested marks over the ground. Before the first bounce emerging forward Steve Johnson was ruled out, replaced by Tim Callan.
After losing thirteen straight interstate fixtures, tonight was considered the best time to effect a win, with Port struggling and missing some key players. However the Cats themselves were already without match winners in Captain Steven King and Steve Johnson.
GEELONG: 3.4, 7.4, 11.6, 15.9 (99) DEFEATED
GOALS GEELONG: Kingsley, Ottens, Riccardi 3, Chapman,
Byrnes, Enright, Playfair, Ling, Rooke
Gary Ablett's brilliance was on show early in the game, playing a hand in a couple of Geelong's goals. His teammates missed a few easy shots at goal, including Ottens, who must nearly be the most scrutinised player since Ben Graham. The first quarter saw both sides play tough football, with neither side able to assert ascendancy. Geelong took a three point lead into the first break.
Geelong's first goal of the second quarter came through a fantastic contested mark by Henry Playfair in the goal square. Well held in the first quarter, Playfair goaled and followed up a minute later with another contested mark, this time outside fifty. He bombed the ball to the goalsquare where Brad Ottens somehow marked despite Darryl Wakelin's frantic spoiling attempt. Ottens, who'd missed two earlier shots, kicked truly to put the Cats nine points up.
This hard work was soon undone when a quick handball dribbled into a pack of players; Port's Matthew Bishop pounced and after taking one bounce, kicked a rare goal from just outside fifty. The very next play, Warren Treadrea goaled from a set shot from forty-five metres, on a forty-five degree angle, giving Port the lead.
Corey Enright got on the end of a turnover and kicked a good running goal from fifty - something he's done more often this season. In past seasons many observers would have expected Enright to either spray it or kick a helicopter style punt; this season he's been able to pump them through for a goal.
Tim Callan, who replaced Steve Johnson, played very well in the second term, coming on to replace the other Johnson in David. The defender hurt his ankle after a marking contest, and was forced from the ground. Callan stopped several Port sorties up forward, and got a kick in the process.
Treadrea booted two goals in the two minutes prior to half time, giving his team a three point lead.
The second half started badly for Geelong; Brendan Lade a lucky recipient of a wayward punch in the goalsquare, helping himself to a goal. But it could've been worse; both Gavin Wanganeen and Brett Ebert missing shots at goal the minute after.
Geelong couldn't get the ball into their half of the ground for the first five minutes, and simply had to withstand the storm while it blew Port's way. On face value it seemed like last week against the Bombers.
Acting skipper Cameron Ling's first touch of the quarter broke Port's run of four consecutive goals, putting the Cats back in the game. Shannon Byrnes brilliantly setup the goal, roving a boundary throw in. The two combined again the next minute, this time Byrnes kicking the goal, pegging Port's lead back to just five points.
A clever goal later from Kent Kingsley, using his strength to run into an open goal, and the scores were level. Peter Riccardi, who probably should've kicked a goal a minute earlier but passed, converted a set shot from forty metres out for his first.
Darren Milburn was forced into the changerooms for some quick manipulation on his left knee, but soon returned to the sidelines.
Gary Ablett played well throughout the game, as did Paul Chapman. Chapman and Ablett seem to spur each other on, and present a nightmare for opposition backmen. Like last week, James Bartel showed his courage, continually putting his body on the line.
The Cats' bogeyman for the night, Treadrea, struck again less than a minute from half time with his forth goal. New boy Kane Pettigrew booted his first even goal right on the siren and Port lead by just under a goal.
In the final quarter, Brad Ottens continued to take great contested marks. This time he marked about forty-five metres out, and didn't disappoint the sizable Geelong representation in the crowd, kicking his second goal. This goal gave Geelong the lead again, the tenth lead change of the match.
The Cats kicked the next goal about twenty seconds later, with Paul Chambers winning the ruck and Paul Chapman doing the rest, getting the ball to Riccardi - who kicked his second. You got the sense that just one more goal now would give the Cats this game. BUT, Port didn't give up and got the next one and the margin was back to just a point.
Brad Ottens was indeed having a top night. He took another handy mark and goaled from just outside fifty - the lead now eight points. It came from some more Gary Ablett ground work.
Ablett nearly blew the game away the next play, but his running shot from just inside fifty drew at the last minute for just one behind. The Power were still more than a chance.
Cameron Ling took a clutch overhead mark at centre half back, and copped a belting in the head and the buttock from his opposing captain, Matthew Primus. Primus, who wore all sorts of contraptions, was on and off the ground all night.
In a tense final two minutes, even Kent Kingsley chased every ball down to the boundary line. But the Power players just couldn't hack the pressure, repeatedly fumbling the ball over the line, even kicking out on the full in Geelong's attacking half.
Friday night football wouldn't be complete without a last minute thriller; again it was Treadrea who did the damage to the Cats, booting his fifth goal from the edge of the square, Matthew Scarlett unable to stop him. Geelong now lead by just three points, with a minute and a bit to go.
Chapman's final behind made a Power win very difficult. But Stewie Dew effected a brilliant long kick out from full back, which was rushed down the field to an awaiting Treadrea on the left half forward flank. Treadrea was unable to control the ball and considered unlucky not to receive a free kick. He would have kicked from at least fifty-five metres out, on a sixty degree angle.
Fittingly, the ball was in posession of Brad Ottens when the final siren rang, Ottens having just taken another superb mark. THE CATS WERE HOME!
Warren Treadrea was awarded the Peter Bradcoe VC Medal for best afield, and graciously accepted, despite some boos from Port fans.
Next Sunday a refreshed Geelong side plays their first game in front of the magnificent new stand - if you're in Bay A1 say 'G'day' to The Cattery.
BRAD OTTENS TAKES YET ANOTHER CONTESTED MARK
VFL ROUND 4 - SUNDAY APRIL 24
ACTING CAPTAIN CAMERON LING CELEBRATES THE WIN