LUCKY ESCAPE FOR CATS; HISTORIC HOME
AFL 2013 ROUND 23 GEELONG CATS V BRISBANE LIONS GEELONG just managed to hang on against the Brisbane Lions today, winning by just one point securing second spot on the ladder and a historic home final that will be at Simonds Stadium next Saturday night against the Fremantle Dockers. Tickets go on sale for Geelong and Fremantle members 9am on Monday morning. Note reserved seat holders do not have rights to those seats in the final, all allocations are being organised by the AFL.
The Cats had struggled against the Lions most of the game but appeared to have pulled ahead after extending their three quarter time lead to 26 points minutes into the final term. But the Lions soon went up a gear and took advantage of the wind, booting three unanswered goals to move within a couple kicks of the lead. Twice the Cats kicked a goal to get the lead back into double figures but each time the Lions struck back immediately. With a minute to go Jordan Lisle booted the final goal of the match, setting off a tense minute with the Cats' lead now just two points.
Much of that last minute was spent in the Lions' forward fifty, Paul Chapman fairly lucky not to have been adjudged holding the ball right in front of goal. It was Chapman again who provided the final score, rushing a snap at goal from Ryan Lester that would have won the match. As the siren rang out the Lions' outside chance at a finals appearance disappeared but the Cats secured second spot on the ladder. If Ashley McGrath has any designs on retiring he should reconsider, once more he was the X factor in a Cats-Lions game. McGrath booted six goals and had a hand in many other goals
The win could come at a cost for the Cats, Mark Blicavs carried from he field with what looked like concussion late in the game, crashing to the deck after flying for a mark. For a change there were no obvious incidents likely to attract the AFL's Match Review Panel which is a positive. Joel Corey started as sub, coming on to replace Steven Motlop in the third quarter.
Geelong's first final will be against Fremantle at Simonds Stadium, AFL boss Andrew Demetriou confirming tonight what he'd made bleedingly obvious yesterday. Demetriou said he only expected 27,000 - 28,000 to front up to Etihad Stadium thus playing at the 34,000 capacity Simonds Stadium made sense. With the Cats finishing second and the recently upgrading stadium having a large enough capacity, it made too much sense he said.
GEELONG easily accounted for the Casey Scorpions in the first VFL qualifying final at Simonds Stadium last night. Last night a crowd of 6,000 squeezed through the one gate open and headed for seating undercover to watch their side initially have a bit of an arm wrestle with the Demons affiliated Scorpions before pulling away in the third quarter. Shane Kersten continued his good run in front of the big sticks with four goals, with fellow big men Ryan Bathie and Josh Walker also getting on the score board on a night made for smalls as the rain came down.
George Horlin-Smith was handy and a layer who is becoming somewhat maligned, Mitch Brown, performed ably down back. Other players such as Josh Hunt, Taylor Hunt, Billie Smedts, Jordan Murdoch and Josh Walker are all pushing for selection in the AFL side for finals time but only Josh Hunt stood out.
Geelong is now go through to the Preliminary Final, set to be played on 15 September at a venue yet to be decided. If all goes to plan the AFL side will have played the Friday or Saturday beforehand with a full strength team available for the VFL match that is likely to be between today's loser of the Box Hill Hawks and Williamstown Seagulls clash being held at Box Hill City Oval..
5.5, 7.11, 12.20, 15.22 (112) DEFEATED
FIELD: Stephen McBurney (3) Heath Ryan
(14) Chris Kamolins (19) EM: David Harris (24)
CROWD: 27,467 at Simonds Stadium, Geelong
PRE-MATCH TIP: "Cats by 51 points"
7.11, 12.13, 14.16 (100) DEFEATED
CROWD: 6,000 at Simonds Stadium