CATS LOSS TO
DOCKERS IN SEASON OPENER TO COME AT COST
MATTHEW SCARLETT is all but certain to miss at least a few games after striking Fremantle Docker serial pest Hayden Ballantyne during last night's 4 point loss at Subiaco. Dockers skipper Matthew Pavlich all but won it for the Dockers, vollying one goal and kicking another from a set shot in the final minutes. The Cats started badly, conceding five goals to nothing before they got going, trailing by two goals at quarter time and leading by five points at half time. They trailed by a single behind at the final break before edging ahead early in the final term. But they could not hold onto the lead, which changed several times before Freo finally jumped to a ten point lead with two minutes to go. Steve Johnson found Jimmy Bartel with just over a minute to go but by the time Bartel goaled from his set shot, there was just 40 seconds left on the clock. The Cats edged forward but with 20 seconds to go the Dockers won the ball from a throw-in and that was that; Geelong players left to lick their wounds ahead of their Easter Monday clash with Hawthorn at the MCG.
Tom Hawkins booted four goals and Bartel three, in some positive signs for the Cats. Debutante Orren Stephenson was subbed off in the third quarter as the game sped up; Aaron Sandilands had an awesome game with precious little game time in the pre-season, it didn't seem to show. Taylor Hunt impressed as did youngster in the number 29 jumper Cameron Guthrie. Joel Selwood was about Geelong's best in his first game as skipper, fellow veterans James Kelly, Bartel and Andrew Mackie also up there. Tom Lonergan and Harry Taylor struggled a bit on the expansive Subiaco ground, and will have to take on Hawthorn big guns Lance Franklin and Co minus Scarlett. Coach Chris Scott, who himself had a confrontation of sorts with Ballantyne during a break, admitted the Cats were 'sucked in', the hit from Scarlett conceding a gimme goal to to Dockers that you could argue gave them the game. "It cost us a goal and we lost by four points; evidence would suggest they probably did. You don't have to watch too many Freo games to see him niggling people. As I said to the cameras after halftime, I'd love to have him on my side" Scott said, also adding "I don't have a problem with the way he plays".
The Cats could also lose the two James', Podsiadly and Kelly, the pair on report for striking Nick Suban and Tendai Mzungu respectively. All in all not the best of season openers, losing the game by 4 points probably won't matter much but losing up to three players with Hawthorn next round isn't great.
6.0 8.3 12.8 16.9 (105) DEFEATED
REPORTS: Scarlett (Geelong) for striking Ballantyne (Fremantle); Podsiadly (Geelong) for striking Suban (Fremantle), Kelly (Geelong) for striking Mzungu (Fremantle)
UMPIRES: S Stewart, D Margetts, B Ritchie
CROWD: 34,601 at Patersons Stadium (Subiaco), Perth
AFL 2012, ROUND 1
FREMANTLE V GEELONG
SATURDAY 31 MARCH 2012 19:45 AEDT
PATERSONS STADIUM (SUBIACO)
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