ENRIGHT 300 GAME MILESTONE MARRED
BY DEFEAT TO DEMONS
AFL ROUND 12 2015: GEELONG CATS V MELBOURNE DEMONS COREY ENRIGHT'S three hundredth game was meant to turn out differently; instead it was a loss, at home, to unheralded Melbourne, Geelong's first loss since round 9 in Perth. The Cats took their time getting out of the blocks, the Demons having a lot of the ball early on but their timidity resulting in only a behind or two before the Cats kicked the opening two goals.
It didn't look good before the opening bounce when you saw the Demons' talls - led by ruckman at the centre bounce, Max Gawn. Gawn faced up against Josh Walker who is a pinch-hitting ruckman at best, and while Walker started off slowly, his game in the ruck went completely downhill from there. Not a lot he could do about it in a way given the height difference and with Gawn a confidence player suddenly full of confidence, he had a blinder, at least by his standards!
The Dees led by just over two goals at quarter time, and with the Cats kicking one extra goal in the second quarter led by five points at the main break. Geelong hit the lead early in the second half thanks to Tom Hawkins, but the Demons soon snatched the lead back with Jack Spencer joining the goal kickers. We won't bore you with the details but the Cats would hit the lead for one final time thanks to three unanswered goals, to Walker, Darcy Lang and Shane Kersten who seemingly responded to taunts on the radio by former Geelong great and now KRock pundit Tim McGrath.
Four more goals sailed through before three quarter time but unfortunately for the home fans three of them were to the Demons to open up an eleven point lead at the final break. Only a few headed for the exits at this stage, including one of my companions, but I stayed in the hope the Cats would click in the final term and 'do it for Corey'.
As it happened nothing of the sort eventuated. Demon skipper Nathan Jones, who we hadn't seen a terrible lot of but are now a big fan, booted his first inside the first thirty seconds. This was followed by more Demon goals, Jeremy Howe, Billy Stretch (some of Steven) and finally Bernie Vince - during which the Cats could only manage three behinds. Kersten and Joel Selwood kicked the Cats' only two goals of the quarter but Selwood's was answered by Jeff Garlett, snuffing out any hope of a comeback. The quarter went for over 34 minutes.
Enright was chaired off by fellow backmen Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan. With the club and the Geelong Advertiser making a pretty big deal of the milestone including handing out Corey Enright masks it does pose the question, did the Cats take the eye off the ball? The mask was reminiscent of the round 23, 2011 loss to the Swans after the Addy printed a '30 wins at home' spread which turned out not to happen.
There has been predictable outrage aimed at Geelong fans who headed for the exits before the final siren - though all this commentary overlooks the reasons why some may have chosen to do a runner. With the game, the only one of the day, beginning on a Sunday at 3:20PM it was also quite predictable many would either not turn up or leave early. Our plans were to leave at three quarter time though with the Cats behind we stayed until midway into the final term, eventually making a reluctant exit with a long drive ahead. A significant proportion of Geelong's membership is located in Melbourne - often on the other side of Melbourne as in our case, and of course in the Western District or the Wimmera.
5.2, 7.3, 13.4, 18.5 (113) DEFEATED
Chris Donlon, Troy Pannell, Andrew Stephens
TIP: Cats by 75 points
CROWD: 28,007 at Simonds Stadium, Geelong