A HAPPY TEAM AT GEELONG; CATS BEAT
HAWKS IN ANOTHER THRILLER
By Ben Jensen twitter.com/thecattery GEELONG CATS V HAWTHORN HAWKS GEELONG somehow held off Hawthorn at the MCG this afternoon/early evening, despite trailing by three goals at three quarter time. The Cats kicked four goals one behind in the final term to the Hawks' five behinds, but it could have been a different outcome if Hawthorns Lance Franklin and other had of had the bottle to kick goals when it counted. In sharp contrast Jimmy Bartel, James Podsiadly and Tom Hawkins took the game absolutely by storm. Podsiadly kicked the final three goals of the game for five overall while Bartel kicked the first. Andrew Mackie may well have been the one who saved the match, amazingly stopping a certain goal from Michael Osborne midway through the last quarter. Hawkins was best afield, claiming no less than 12 marks and splitting the pack umpteen times, booting three goals in total. In the VFL on Sunday, Geelong defeated Williamstown by 7 points. FINAL SCORES
Before the bounce the Cats were paying well over $2 for the win; unfortunately for at least one punter at the MetroCats pre-game function the Sportsbet betting app was not working so they missed out on some easy money. Speaking of MetroCats, another great function put on again today, MC'd once again by Jason Snell who 11 years ago had his career ended, and featured special guests Max Rooke and Cameron Mooney. Little gems from Mooney were that he thinks Gary Ablett still has another 20-25% improvement to make on his game and could yet be the best ever player, and that he felt so despondent after the round 3 2007 loss to the Kangaroos he not only put contract extension talks on hold permanently but told the Cats he might as well leave at the end of the season. Rooke spoke about the journey he took in 2007 to be a part of the finals series and Premiership, being jetted off by the Cats to Munich on a wing and a prayer, having around 80 injections in his hamstring and how appreciative he was to the club for taking the punt. Mooney reflected on how when he started the game was semi-professional, with players such as Bluey McGrath working full time running a business and how at the Roos and at the time the Cats were pretty much party clubs. We didn't win the raffle but at least got our photo with the 2011 Premiership cup.
Prior to the opening bounce it was confirmed that Shannon Byrnes would replace Orren Stephenson in the Geelong side. The Cats started the game well enough, Steve Johnson booting two goals in the first six minutes, with another by come-back boy Jarryd Roughead at the other end to a huge reception. Tom Hawkins kicked what must have been a huge confidence booster from 40-ish out on a reasonable angle and the Cats were up by a couple goals. Lance 'Buddy' Franklin however decided to rain on the Cats' parade with a couple of his own but fortunately for Geelong fans Podsiadly's first gave the Cats a four point lead at the first break. During the quarter Joel Selwood left the field three times under the blood rule, finally returning with a proper bandage around his head. Hawkins' missed a chance at a second but took an absolute screamer of a mark in the pocket 20 minutes in.
The second term initially saw the Cats get a fair bit of the ball up forward but it was Jordan Lewis at the other end craftily slotting them through to the infuriance of Geelong coach Chris Scott, booting three goals for the quarter. Hawkins and Podsiadly kicked one each while first-gamer Billie Smedts joined that elite club to have kicked their first goal from outside the 50m arc and having the ball bounce half a dozen times before sneaking through. It was the goal from Brendan Whitecross at the death that put the Hawks ahead going into the main break by 10 points, three goals in a row from the Hawks. Suckling's goal was a ripper, receiving a handball 55m out and sending the ball post-high deep into the stand.
My companion who had a 7:10 flight to Canberra edged towards the gates early on in the third quarter as the Hawks jumped to a 21 point lead; the Hawks kicked the first two goals to make it five in a row before the Cats through hero Hawkins and then Johnson and Bartel all but leveled the scores. Cyril Rioli, Whitecross and finally Matt Suckling piled on the misery thereafter, building to a lead of 18 points at the final break.
The man we've always backed to kick a winning goal Jimmy Bartel (case in point here) did just that two minutes in, slotting through quite a difficult shot with a wet ball straight through the middle from around 50m out, a shot you could justifiably miss in those conditions but not this man; level with Gary Ablett and Luke Hodge from the 2002 draft in our estimation. Franklin and Roughead could only score behinds as Pods was unleashed; he did it all, kicking the next three goals (in fact the only goals) from a variety of positions. His one-handed mark at the behind post in front of the structually-useless Joshua Gibson was brilliant, Podsiadly appeared to be going back to take his kick when he brushed Gibson aside and did his fastest-man-in-world impersonation of two metres before slotting it through with a banana kick. He had an actual set shot from the same position a bit later on but still slotted it through. His third from general play put the Cats ahead, a lead they worked so far to keep, nearly losing it a few times as the Hawks players bottled it; how mentally fragile is this mob, honestly? As mentioned earlier Mackie's desperate save of a goal by Osbourne. With 20 seconds to go it appeared as though the Cats had it after Roughead dropped a mark he may of taken and the ball rolled through for a behind.
The Cats ran the ball well outside the Hawthorn 50m arc, but the next kick sailed out of bounds on the full, the Hawks running it back for one final fling before the siren rang. Osbourne ran on with the ball to kick a goal but it was too late; the Cats pretty much snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
Did the Cats win it or did the Hawks choke? A bit of both actually. The Hawks did a few stupid things in that final quarter, by way of bottling it in front of goal. But you also got the sense the Cats, led by Bartel, had enough in the tank and did just what they had to do to win. Despite being crucified by the umpires, if you believe those on our side of the fence. Rabid callers to SEN 1116's Finey after the game blamed the umpires, Roughead, a bloke called Schoenmakers and Donald Rumsfeld, in that order, maybe they have something. Kudos to Finey by the way for getting on two serial callers at the same time - Steve from Mitcham (Geelong fan) and Jim from Hawthorn (Hawthorn - also calls 3AW non stop). Talk about a punch-on!
Was not really looking forward to the new season after a nice break, but after today, we're sure glad it's back.
FIELD: Stephen McBurney (3) Dean Margetts (6) Shane
McInerney (30) EM: Matt Stevic (9)
CROWD: 69,231 at MCG, Melbourne
PRE-MATCH TIP: "Cats by 6 points"
3.5 8.15 9.16 11.19 (85) DEFEATED