CATS DOWNED BY SYDNEY SWANS AS SLIDE
By Ben Jensen A POOR SECOND QUARTER and a determined Sydney Swans team conspired to give Geelong a twenty-two point loss at Telstra Stadium last night. In front of 37,032 fans, the Cats started off well, and took a one goal lead into quarter time. In the first quarter there were six changes of lead, in the second three - but when the Swans took the lead from the Cats early in a long second quarter, the Cats could not claw the lead back.
Matthew Scarlett, who signed a lucrative contract extension in the lead up to this match, was outshone by Sydney co-captain Barry Hall in his first match back from suspension. Cameron Mooney was Geelong's best, having created most of Geelong's scoring opportunities in the first quarter.
Debutante Brent Prismall had a miserable day - he played just ten minutes before breaking his hand. But like David Johnson, who broke in ankle in his debut in round one 2002, he will return and hopefully cement a place in the AFL side.
About the only two positives to come from the game were ones that won't win you games; Brad Ottens took a huge grab in the third quarter, while Gary Ablett, also in the third quarter, kicked a miracle goal.
The winning margin, which flattered Geelong, should have been a lot more; Sydney finished with twelve more scoring shots than Geelong, but only two more goals. Sydney's major goalkickers, besides Hall, are not noted goalkickers: Adam Schneider (four) and Craig Bolton (two). Michael O'Loughlin was offline all night, finishing with just one goal but four behinds.
For Geelong Paul Chapman, who had a most unpleasant one hundredth game, was the top scorer along with Mooney kicking three, while Ablett and Charlie Gardiner kicked two each. Each of Gardiner's goals were gifted from Mooney, who on both occasions had taken a strong mark before handballing to a free Gardiner.
NEXT WEEK Geelong return to the MCG for a replay with Melbourne, who the Cats soundly defeated in last year's finals series (SEE EARLIER REPORT). Melbourne, like Geelong have two wins and three losses, started off poorly but have won their last two matches, against Sydney and the Kangaroos. In contrast the Cats have now lost three in a row, and will be desperately seeking to square the ledger.
Geelong coach Mark Thompson expects Kent Kingsley to resume this week, while Tom Harley should play in the VFL next week. Henry Playfair, who was named to play in the VFL today, may also return. James Kelly has struggled to return from a broken shoulder blade suffered during the NAB Cup win, and is a chance to miss depending on form other other midfielders in the VFL. But Captain Steven King will be up to a month away.
SYDNEY 3.3 7.11 11.16 15.17 (107) DEFEATED