CATS SCRAPE PAST DOGS IN NAIL BITER
By Ben Jensen AFL 2009 ROUND 9 GEELONG CATS V WESTERN BULLDOGS GEELONG just got over the line against the Bulldogs in the best game of the season thus far a few hours ago at Etihad Stadium. Bulldog Brad Johnson had a chance to be a hero after the siren but could only manage a behind, after marking right on the goal line but between the goal and behind posts. The Cats led by 36 points at one stage in the third term but the Bulldogs, led by Jason Akermanis in his 300th game, would not let the matter rest and pushed Geelong all the way and at one stage looked likelier winners.
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6.4, 9.10, 14.12, 17.14 (116) DEFEATED
CROWD: 44,620 at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Docklands
Mathew James (5) Ray Chamberlain (18) Shaun Ryan (25) EM: Scott Jeffery
REPORTS: Matthew Stokes (Geelong) for striking Liam Picken (Bulldogs)
PREMATCH ODDS: Geelong $1.10 to $1.17; Dogs $4.50 to $5.85
Hate ‘watching’ a game online. It’s a bit like waiting for exam results. Only at least with the Cats now I’m pretty sure I aced the exam but you never know. Thinking about it, all through VCE I thought I’d nailed the likes of a Chemistry or English exam and ended up with a dodgy mark.
Why am I merely following the scores instead of listening via online radio? Well, my employer blocks streaming media, while my mobile phone carrier, Orange, has terrible 3G coverage in Edinburgh! I listened to most of the pre-game before my service was downgraded from 3G to a 2G or GPRS service; short answer, it ain’t workin’!
We seemed to be blitzing the Bullies as expected, to lead by 6 goals to 3 at quarter time. But when I started following the game more closely in the second term, I was in for a rude shock as the Dogs started piling on the goals. Giansiracusa seemed to be on fire, and had two ten minutes in. Worse was to come when Josh Hill’s goal put them in front for the first time.
God bless wee Matty Stokes, his second some three quarts of a minute later put us back in front, hopefully for good I thought at the time. Ryan Gamble added a customary behind while Stokes’ third increased the buffer to 11 points.
Something I have noticed is the ‘HTML’ version of AFL Game Day is quicker to update than the fancy one that shows plays, etc. I first saw our score updated to 9.8, and was then able to see how play was setup from half-back by David Johnson, the ball ran all the way around the Bullies’ 50 arc, up the right-wing to Gary Ablett who got it to Gamble, who marked around 35-40 out and converted for his first goal, hopefully one of many.
Bloody Adam Cooney, forgot to mention he’s a Brownlow Medallist, narrowed the lead to just under two goals in time-on. Hawkins added his second behind almost 33 minutes into the quarter, surely this would be the final score (and it was). Geelong up by thirteen points.
Looking at the team stats, a bit worried about Ablett; 25 touches already! Our next best were Selwood at 17 and the Two Corey’s with 15 apiece. The smiling assassin, Brad Johnson, needs attention; like Stokes, three goals already. Can’t make out who’s manning up on him, hopefully not poor old Tom Harley (still remember that game in round one, 2007)..
Finally got the internet radio working through work computer just in time for the second half! First goal, to Johnson, and the 3AW crew went ape droppings, 21 seconds in. Fortunately it was the ‘right’ Johnson, Stevie J and not the assassin. Cats by 19.
Chappy slammed home Geelong’s second almost straight after to make the lead 25. Johnson’s 4th brought he house down, I nearly missed it after having my office invaded by a persistent Kiwi who was trying to organise a pub lunch, but was able to confirm it from the main webpage.
Rooke’s goal had Rex’s alter ego the Fat Lady singing with fifteen minutes left on the clock and a 37 point lead to the Cats.
I am reliably told Scarlett’s on Welsh, Taylor on Brad Johnson and Harley fairly loose.
Ryan Griffen finally broke the Bulldogs’ goal drought with what was apparently an impressive goal, pegging the Cats’ lead back to 30.
The Cats ran the ball from their back pocket down to Stokes in the forward pocket, the ball not coming close to the Bulldogs’ hands at any stage. Stokes converted unconventionally but accurately, Geelong’s lead 36.
Aker, in his 300th, banged home a consolatory goal. Making a mockery of everyone writing his side’s chances off 15 minutes earlier, Aker slammed on another goal to cut the Cats’ lead to ‘just’ 22 points with a minute or two to go. Geelong kicked five goals two behinds for the quarter to the Bulldogs’ three five. Ablett, who had 25 possessions at half time, only added another 7 for 32. Plenty of Bulldogs players in double figures (17), not so many Cats (12).
Griffen got the Dogs off to the best start possible, cutting their deficit to just 16 points with a team lifting goal 40 seconds in . Steve Johnson’s fifth, which was created following a turnover by the Dogs in their forward line, really steadied the Cats but didn’t dent the Doggies’ enthusiasm nor the game’s intensity. With 16 minutes remaining, Griffen missed a chance to peg the lead back to 16. Eagleton too could only manage a behind. Still plenty of time left though, 13 minutes.
Nightmare ending coming; Matthew Boyd misses a fairly easy shot but big Wil Minson marks from point blank range, and makes no mistake. Eagleton goaled after the ballup and made the margin just 8 points, the margin now just 8 points. I hate this happening to Geelong; same thing happened in round one against the Hawks. But we normally pull through, at least. Hopefully when we finally face the Saints we smash them good and proper.
Steve Johnson could only manage a behind from a mark 35m out, the margin now 9 points. Panic stations in here... even more so when Hill had a set shot the next minute, but could only manage a poster.
7 ½ minutes to go, Cats by 8. Too long left to just try to hang onto the ball, they need a goal. And they got it! Harry Taylor setup a goal to Jimmy Bartel to pretty much snuff the Bulldogs out Surely that’s it? The Bulldogs need about three goals now.
Chappy had to go off with what sounded like a sickening finger dislocation (with blood and all). Ablett had a chance to really smash the game beyond doubt, but smashed the ball into the goalpost instead.
Brad Johnson, kept out of the game by Taylor for the middle two quarters, spoiled the Cats’ revival with his 4th goal with four and a half minutes remaining, the margin just 9 points.
How it happened I’ll never know but Aker managed to kick his fourth, the margin now only one kick (3 points), with plenty of minutes remaining (three and a half). He out-muscled his customary Geelong opponent from the last few years, David Johnson. The Cats might lose this now and it’ll ruin the entire weekend! Like last season’s round 9 shocker against Collingwood.
Travis Varcoe came from NOWHERE to kick Geelong’s 17th and possibly their final goal to increase the lead back to a more comfortable 9 points. Varcoe grabbed a ‘loose ball get’ just inside 50 and didn’t need to be asked twice to have a ping, with now just under two minutes to go.
Arg! Higgins decided he wasn’t happy with the ending of Geelong winning and with 64 seconds left on the clock kicked his first goal of the game and it was again just ONE KICK in it. Not long after the ballup Welsh took a mark 55m out from goal, but elected to try for Aker instead, who couldn’t take possession. And with 20 seconds to go the umpire took the ball in the Bulldogs’ forward pocket for a ballup. Brad Johnson took a mark just before the siren sounded between the goal and behind posts, quite a tough shot. He possibly played on but was told to go back by the umpire as the siren went. He could only manage a point however, the Cats winning by two points.
In a way, glad I'm here in sunny Edinburgh and not at the game, but it must've been a thriller. That's the lot of a Geelong fan sometimes though, even when you win you feel you've lost (face). People will cackle and carry on about how we nearly choked having been 6 goals up. I partially agree with them, too, we should have went on to win by 10 goals the way we were heading. It was a relief to win; though still expect the Bullogs and their fans would rather be in our shoes.
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AFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON 2009, ROUND 9
GEELONG V WESTERN BULLDOGS
FRIDAY 22 MAY 2009, 19:40 AEST
TRAVIS VARCOE CELEBRATES WHAT TURNED OUT TO BE THE WINNING GOAL
TWITTER FEED http://twitter.com/thecattery
NEW GEELONG BLOG - http://the-cattery.blogspot.com
GREAT NEW WEBSITE - FOOTYALMANAC.COM.AU
GEELONG NAB CUP GRAND FINAL WIN DVD