CATS TRAIL NORTH ALL GAME, SNATCH
VICTORY IN FINAL MINUTES
AFL ROUND 2 2017, GEELONG CATS V NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS GEELONG trailed North Melbourne all game but thanks to some late quarter brilliance by Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield, Tom Hawkins and a few others (even Steven Motlop) managed to steal the game from the heartbroken Kangaroos. While you got the sense the Cats were about to snatch the lead back and it was only a matter of time, time was certainly running out by the time George Horlin-Smith found himself with a set shot thirty-odd metres out from goal courtesy of a free kick. The match had some fire in it. Patrick Dangerfield copped an elbow to his head region early on in the game from the Kangaroos' Scott Thompson which will attract the AFL's match review panel - it may come to nothing (see YouTube video further on). North's ruckman Braydon Preuss, called in as a late replacement for Todd Goldstein, barreled into the back of Jackson Thurlow in the second quarter- who looked terrible for 10 seconds but after getting a 50m penalty and kicking the goal he looked fine; Preuss was reported for rough conduct.
North dominated most of the first quarter with the Cats managing just two goals, the Kangaroos six. In the second quarter. The Cats played much better in the second though, outscoring the Kangaroos by goals to two with Hawkins, Dan Menzel doing much of the damage - and also Horlin-Smith who kicked his first. The second half started in much the same fashion as the first with the Kangaroos absolutely out of the blocks. The margin was as much as 32 points in the third quarter before the Cats got their act together, but an eight goal to five term had the Cats well and truly on the ropes, the lead 25 points at the final break.
Geelong were up and about in the final quarter, booting the first four goals unanswered. Lachie Henderson kicked his first of the season, Mark Blicavs, Darcy Lang and Menzel kicking the next three to level the scores; fittingly for a match coached by identical twins. Selwood and Dangerfield really put on a show, never giving up, bringing their teammates into the game, many of whom had under-performed. The Cats had it in their goal square at the next passage of play but could not even manage a 'handy point', the Kangaroos rushing the ball up the other end for a goal of their own to Marley Williams giving them some breathing space. Zach Tuohy did get what proved to be a most handy point a minute later, with the Kangaroos' lead stuck at five points for another two minutes after that until Horlin-Smith's second put the Cats ahead by one point, the winning margin.
Dangerfield and Selwood were clearly the pick of the Cats, others to hang their heads high are Hawkins, Menzel, Tuohy while Motlop did some silly things he was good in the final quarter and helped create something from nothing that led to Menzel's goal. The story of 2016 for Geelong was apart from a few brilliant games beating poor sides (most of the time- losses to Carlton, St Kilda and Collingwood clearly didn't fit this bill) occasionally getting belted (Sydney), and getting out of jail against top sides (Hawthorn at least once). The first two rounds seem no different with the top half-dozen players absolutely brilliant but the bottom six not so - in fact the bottom six seems to be hard to pick, it would be fifteen players. The lack of clarity in the ruck is another issue not yet solved but may be - certainly Blicavs seems to have a lot more role clarity with only one specialist ruckman in the team with Zac Smith on the sidelines. Hopefully the Harry Taylor up forward experiment will be over soon, he was much more at home when he returned down back today as coach Chris Scott acknowledged after the game - and all at sea when having a shot at goal.
North are in a bit of strife now in the big man department, having lost Todd Goldstein with an ankle injury before the game though Brad Scott says he will return, Preuss facing a possible suspension and Majak Daw with a knee injury that may keep him out for at lesst a week. Jarad Waite, who doesn't ruck much but is now the Kangaroos' dominant key forward, is out for at least a month due to a shoulder injury.
2.1, 7.6, 12.7, 17.10 (112) DEFEATED
UMPIRES: Hay, Stevic, Billy Pannell
CROWD: 30,917 at Ethihad Stadium, Melbourne Docklands
AFL 2017 - ROUND 2
GEELONG CATS V NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS
SUNDAY 2 APRIL 2017, 16:10 AEST