GEELONG DEFEAT BLUES IN TEAM EFFORT
THE CATS easily accounted for a dismal Carlton at Telstra Dome this afternoon. In front of 43,210 fans, Geelong's solid team effort was too good for the few Blues' on hefty pay packets who ultimately did not deliver. Geelong won by nearly sixty points, but had they kicked straight, would have won by over one hundred. Geelong finished with forty-one scoring shots to nineteen. A major culprit in front of goal was Ben Graham, who lead and marked beautifully but could manage only one goal, six behinds.
Once more the win came at a cost for the Cats; this time gun defender Brenton Sanderson will face time on the sidelines with a knee (medial ligament) injury. Cameron Mooney and Ben Graham also left the ground for brief periods of time. Sanderson is in serious doubt to play against St Kilda next week.
Paul Koulouriotis played his first game for Geelong, having earlier played three games for Port Adelaide from years 2000-2003. Koulouriotis found the ball a healthy fourteen times. Last week's debutante, Shannon Byrnes, played his second game. Byrnes tried his best but his disposal could improve. Former Geelong player David Clarke, recalled for this game, played his eighth game for Carlton, kicking one goal and generally disposing the ball well.
Geelong dominated the opening quarter, and took a twenty two point lead into quarter time. Ben Graham kicked three behinds for the quarter, Brendan Fevola and Matthew Scarlett battled while Steven King worked hard in the middle.
The rest of the game was something of a procession. Geelong continued to kick three goals for every six or seven behinds. Carlton's best quarters were the second and forth, where they managed three goals.
As said, Geelong put in a solid team effort. But standouts were, beginning in the backline, Darren Milburn and Tom Harley. Both easily beat their opponents, and were damaging in their runs upfield. Scarlett shaded Fevola, who was fortunate to end up with three goals. Josh Hunt's low trajectory kicking was a delight to watch, regularly picking out teammates further afield. Tim Callan, wearing the number seventeen of another Tim who played halfback, should retain his spot next week.
In the midfield David Wojcinski continued his good form of recent weeks, with improved disposal today. Joel Corey was excellent, and should be quietly moving into the top few in the club best and fairest award. Although he still is not very good at kicking for goal. Cameron Ling was his usual effective self, and showed form with both feet. James Bartel contributed all game, and took a game high nine marks.
The standout of the day, along with Corey, was Gary Ablett. Ablett ran deep into defense (when the ball was there), and spent plenty of time in the forward line. Ablett booted three goals and created countless others. Some of his kicks and handballs back over his head were amazing to watch. As were his 'hard ball gets' from the bottom of packs. His ability to avoid tackles is Robert Harvey-like with his goal-scoring ability akin to Peter Daicos.
Forwards Graham, Kent Kingsley, Charlie Gardiner and Paul Chapman were awesome. Cameron Mooney played up forward and down back at times. Kingsley and Chapman shared the goalkicking honours, with four apiece. Kingsley added four behinds to his tally. Steve Johnson nailed a great goal in the first quarter to put the pressure back onto Carlton, but could only manage four behinds from that time on, at times looking very lazy. Gardiner's form is very pleasing for Geelong fans. His work around the half forward and wing area has helped Geelong to their eleven wins from fourteen games.
Although it was a big win, next week the Cats face the on fire Saints. The forward line is in form and relatively injury free but the midfield and backline may be tested. Several team members have only recently been included into the senior lineup and next week will be a great test.
With all top four teams winning this weekend, Geelong's hopes of a top-four finish are limited. But that shouldn't matter if we keep up this sort of form. Should the final eight finish as it is today, Geelong would play the Sydney Swans first up in Melbourne, as perfect a scenario as could be expected.
GEELONG: 5.5, 9.10, 12.17, 18.23 (131)
GOALS: GEELONG: Kingsley, Chapman 4, Ablett 3, Wojcinski
2, Graham, Gardiner, Callan, S.Johnson, Scarlett 1
ONE OF GEELONG'S BEST, JOEL COREY SHOULD POLL WELL IN THIS GAME
TOM HARLEY'S DASHES FROM THE BACKLINE WERE A FEATURE OF TODAY'S GAME
GARY ABLETT CELEBRATES ONE OF HIS THREE GOALS
DYNAMIC DUO: THE PAIRING OF ABLETT AND PAUL CHAPMAN DELIVERED SEVEN GOALS