MOTLOP HELPS CATS BEAT BOMBERS IN
AFL 2014 ROUND 15 GEELONG CATS V ESSENDON BOMBERS GEELONG defeated Essendon by just nine points in an absolute thriller of a match at an extremely chilly Etihad Stadium last night. After dominating the Bombers in the first half and taking a 29 point lead into half time, the Cats were toweled up in the third quarter managing just two behinds while the Bombers booted five goals five; leading by four behinds at the final break.
It looked to go from bad to worse in the last quarter, the Bombers extending the lead a minute or so in; it didn't take long for the Cats to fire up however, Mitch Duncan sinking one from deep in a pocket to put the Cats back within a goal. Jordan Murdoch put the side in front after 12 minutes. The lead would flip flop another two times over the next seven minutes as first Bomber Zach Merrett then Cat Steven Motlop were cooler than cool under pressure.
Son of a gun Daniher Joe Daniher just about broke the hearts of Geelong fans booting a long goal at the 24 minute mark, the lead now four points the Bombers' way and time running out for another Cat escape. Three minutes later it was Motlop again, this time employing a banana kick on a slight angle 25 metres out to put the Cats back in front for what turned out to be the final time. The Cats should have had the sealer two minutes later, Josh Caddy's kick to the goal square bouncing awkwardly for Duncan who could only watch it bounce through for a behind reminiscent of Stephen Milne in the drawn 2010 Grand Final.
Almost a calamity the next play as Steve Johnson barely managed to rush the ball through, the difference still less than a goal. Travis Varcoe brilliantly shrugged a tackle and banged it inside fifty where Tom Hawkins, who already had two goals, was in space and able to paddle the ball closer to goal before slamming it through and promptly saluting the crowd, a fair number of them visiting fans who promptly gave him salutes of their own in a scene captured by Herald Sun photographer Wayne Ludbey.
As the siren rang Bomber fans who felt slightly hard done by at this stage, slammed seats and headed for the exits, some assisted by venue staff, others stunned remaining in their seats. Geelong fans counted their lucky stars and went home happy, plenty of Geelong scarves hanging out windows on the drive back to Geelong, Melbourne suburbs and some as far as the Western District.
Skipper Joel Selwood appeared inhibited early on but it didn't stop him from doing damage all over the ground, booting two goals in the second quarter and thereafter spending time all over the ground; even taking kick-out duties at one point. Tom Hawkins was brilliant, Shane Kersten capable in his second game though may yet find himself under pressure in coming weeks. Motlop as mentioned helped save the match, Allen Christensen into his comeback was all class while Murdoch and George Horlin-Smith should pick up votes in the club B&F.
For the Bombers Dyson Heppell was clearly their best, acting skipper Brendan Goddard not far behind. Dawson Simpson struggled like omst of his teammates in the third quarter but overall had the better of the ruck dual on the night.
Geelong has a reasonable run home now, facing the Bulldogs, Demons and Giants the next three weeks before taking on the Kangaroos in round 19. The Cats' VFL side plays Carlton affiliate the Northern Blues tomorrow afternoon at Preston City Oval.
5.1, 8.4, 8.6, 13.11 (89) DEFEATED
Findlay, Kamolins, Rosebury
TIP: Cats by 17 points
CROWD: 43,732 at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Docklands