Ben Jensen 28 July 2007

By Ben Jensen AFL ROUND 17 2007, FREMANTLE DOCKERS V GEELONG CATS GEELONG has sent another message to the rest of the AFL : we mean business and we're not taking the foot off the pedal - in fact we're going harder. The Premiership favourites never looked like dropping this one to Freo, a club in turmoil. Gary Ablett shook off an injury cloud to take his place in the side for James Kelly's 100th game. The Cats dominated the Dockers from the opening bounce. Geelong led by thirty-three points at quarter time, and then thirty points at the main break, finally breaking out to a sixty-eight point belting. Some 36,741 punters, mostly Docker fans but a sizable and very vocal contingent of Geelong supporters led by the Perth Cats.

GEELONG 6.4 (40) 8.11 (59) 12.18 (90) 20.20 (140) DEFEATED
FREMANTLE 1.1 (7) 4.5 (29) 8.9 (57) 10.12 (72)


GEELONG: Stokes 5, Mooney 2, Kelly 2, Johnson 2, Milburn, Byrnes, Enright, Ling, N Ablett,Wojcinski, G Ablett, Harley
FREMANTLE: Pavlich 4, Headland , Hayden, Tarrant, Mundy, Farmer


GEELONG: Milburn, Stokes, Mooney, Ling, Harley, G Ablett, S Johnson, Scarlett, Egan
FREMANTLE: Pavlich, McPharlin, Hayden


The news for Geelong fans was good - the Cats dominating the Dockers from the very start. Geelong led by thirty-three points at quarter time, and then thirty points at the main break. In the second quarter Fremantle lifted their game but only delivered a small gain on the scoreboard, cutting Geelong's half-time lead to thirty points. The margin would have been six goals were it not for a stupid fifty metre penalty given away by Shannon Byrnes, resulting in a goal to Roger Hayden.

In the third quarter, Freo is worried Geelong, kicking the opening two goals to cut the lead back to just nineteen points before the Cats rebounded with a goal to James Kelly. Although Freo kicked the next goal, the Cats controlled the second half of the term with three more goals, the lead blowing back out to thirty-nine points. Like the second quarter, Fremantle would kick a goal in the dyeing seconds, the lead cut back to thirty-three points.

As expected the final quarter was an absolute blowout. Geelong kicked five goals before Fremantle could manage one - this coming from wayward forward Jeff Farmer. Pavlich thrilled at least the thousands of Herald Sun Supercoach players (including myself) around the country who have him in their team with his fourth goal to pull the margin back to fifty-one points, but it did nothing to stem the flow as Freo fans left in droves.



First blood was to the Cats via a bullocking Tom Harley interception of a Chris Tarrant kick on the wing. Harley, playing on as he took the mark, booted to Tarrant's opponent Darren Milburn, unmarked just inside fifty. Before you could say 'play on' Milburn had sprinted to the goalsquare and kicked his first goal since round 14 against Essendon. Matthew Pavlich leveled the scores at a goal apiece after getting on the end of a Tarrant misskick.

Cameron Mooney got on the end of two brilliant passes within a minute, to bring up Geelong's second and third goals. Matthew Stokes, no relation to the wannabe media mogul in Kerry, followed up a poor miss by Freo for a behind with his first.

The Hundred gamer, James Kelly, celebrated early with a goal from general play, winning possession in the forward pocket and running into an open goal. What followed was a brief spell without a goal - but not for long. The next play started with a strong Matt Egan mark in front of the Fremantle goal from three Docker opponent, and from then on not another Docker player touched the ball. Even when Steve Johnson became unstuck, forcing a ball up - the Cats won the hitout through Brad Ottens and Johnson followed up with a trademark roving goal. Geelong led by thirty-three points at quarter time.

The Dockers kicked the first goal of the second term, again to Captain Matthew Pavlich. Geelong's first didn't come until the eighth minute, from Shannon Byrnes, who moments earlier had instigated calls for his quick removal for Travis Varcoe after missing a sitter.

Corey Enright's first was a classical Geelong team goal, receiving a handpass as he ran past Darren Milburn less than 20m from goal after Milburn took a brilliant mark following an average delivery from Gary Ablett.

Geelong would have went into the half time break having increased their margin to thirty-six points. However, Shannon Byrnes gave away a stupid fifty metre penalty resulting in a goal to Roger Hayden. The margin at half time was thus thirty points.

After a couple behinds to either side, Fremantle kicked the first goal of the third term six minutes in. It was Chris Tarrant who found himself unchecked in the goal square after Scarlett left him but only a moment to help out his teammate in Matthew Egan on Pavlich. This cut the lead to twenty-five points. The next goal, to Mundy, pegged the lead to just 19 points.

But the first Geelong goal of the second half stemmed the flow, and although the Dockers kicked the next goal, their momentum ran out. The Cats kicked two goals in succession, Ling his first, from general play on the right half forward flank in traffic, and Stokes followed up soon after thanks to centre bounce ruckwork from Mark Blake. This blew the lead back out to thirty-three points.

Stokes kicked his third with just under two minutes to go in the quarter, the Cats effectively snuffing out any chance whatsoever new Dockers coach Mark Harvey had of getting one up on his great mate from his Essendon days, Geelong coach Mark Thompson.

Steve Johnson helped Matthew Stokes kick his fourth, when having marked on a fourty-five degree angle about twenty-five metres from goal, he cleverly pulled his apparent shot for goal Stokes' way, with pinpoint accuracy.

Fremantle's first score of the quarter, coming eight minutes in, was from a horrible shanked kick by Captain Pavlich, a set shot for goal that barely made it inside the left behind post. A minute later Josh Hunt precipitated the departure of several thousand purple-clad fans, with a goal from a mark just inside the fifty metre arc.

Stokes showed James Kelly how to kick for goal with his fifth straight goal under pressure in the goalsquare, ignoring the attempts by no less than two Fremantle opponents to stop him, kicking a banana kick straight through the centre. The lead now fifty-one points. Another thrilling goal (for the non-Fremantle fans out there) to Steve Johnson a minute later and it was party time for the tens of thousands of Geelong faithful huddled either around a radio, or the TV if lucky enough to have Foxtel, or if really unlucky attempting to listen in via the AFL's inept website.

Pavlich thrilled at least the thousands of Herald Sun Supercoach players (including myself) around the country who have him in their team with his fourth goal to pull the margin back to fifty-one points, but it did nothing to stem the flow as Freo fans left in droves.

As the Cats piled on the goals in the last few minutes, skipper Tom Harley did the unthinkable and kicked his first goal in several years. The team walked off the field all smiles, presenting a genuine united front as they took their twelfth win in a row in their stride. No boisterous celebrations, just a few slaps on the back as they trudged off the ground after acknowledging their fans.










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