April 27 2003

IF TODAY was anything to go by, it is going to be an excruciating long season for Geelong fans. Perennial cellar-dweller St Kilda were far too good for Geelong at Telstra Dome, running away winners by 45 points in front of 27,240. Geelong looked generally off colour but stayed in touch with the Saints for most of the game until the three minute mark of the final quarter, when the Saints went on a rampage. Hundreds of disappointed Geelong supporters left well before the end of the match.

It only gets worse; Geelong face the two time reigning Premiers the Brisbane Lions at Skilled Stadium next Sunday. The Cats have never defeated the Brisbane Lions in a premiership match, and that record does not look like changing, barring a place accident wiping out the entire Lions' best 22 on the way down.

Today there was plenty of lowlights and not too many highlights, in a rather scrappy game up until half time. The first half ended ugly when two players were reported. Geelong's Cameron Ling was reported for striking St Kilda star Nick Riewoldt while St Kilda forward Stephen Milne was reported for striking Geelong's Matthew Scarlett.

The third quarter saw the Cats briefly regain the lead before the Saints clawed back the lead to go to a seven point advantage at three quarter time. In the final quarter Geelong narrowed the margin to a solitary point inside the first minute of play, Steven King taking a one handed mark at full forward and goaling. But from there on, it was the Saints who ruled supreme, slamming home seven unanswered goals to win by 45 points.

Serious moves must be made at Skilled Stadium in order to avoid a catastrophe, Geelong now being officially the worst team in the AFL, sitting beneath St Kilda, Carlton the Western Bulldogs at the bottom of the ladder. There will be easily less than 20,000 next Sunday, which will have seriously financial implications for the Cats. Membership sales also cannot be expected to reach the target of 24,000 barring a serious turnaround (although we really hate bandwagoners it is a reality).


ST KILDA 5.1 7.7 11.9 18.11 (119)
GEELONG 6.2 7.5 10.8 11.8 (74)

: St Kilda: S Milne 4 F Gehrig 3 N Riewoldt 2 L Ball 2 A Hamill 2 A Thompson 2 S Lawrence 2 R Harvey. Geelong: J Kelly 2 P Riccardi 2 C Enright G Ablett D Milburn B Grgic D Clarke K Kingsley S King.

Reports: S Milne (St Kilda) reported for striking M Scarlett (Geelong) in the second quarter.
C Ling
(Geelong) for striking N Riewoldt (St Kilda) in the second quarter.