A second term to remember

Finally, the football season was over. After 18 long rounds, Waaia’s season finished with a 25 goal thumping at the hands of Shepp East, undefeated and sitting on top of the ladder. It wasn’t the first time a team wearing black with a red sash was brutally thumped this weekend. Waaia didn’t collect the wooden spoon though, a positive to take out of a fairly good year.

As I switched on my telly at 3:00, hoping to see the pre-game stuff from the Carlton v Richmond match, I saw Carlton kicking a goal late in the first quarter, for the second week in a row I had missed much of the first quarter! I wish Channel 10 would tell us when they were going to broadcast games at an earlier time. I thought the 2:30 starts were only for the run of Saturday arvo blockbusters that started in Round 15, and ending at Round 18. I decided to not hurry and grab my notepad and pen; I just watched the game, drifting in and out of sleep as I saw Carlton thump Richmond not for the first time this season.

After the game, I turned my attention towards Etihad Stadium, where the Western Bulldogs hosted Geelong in a crucial game for both teams. Geelong were teetering in second position after a disappointing (or despicable, according to Matthew Scarlett) performance against Collingwood in Round 19. The Dogs were coming off some great form, but had been bitten by the flu bug during the week and several stars, including Adam Cooney and Ben Hudson, failed to make the team while others were playing sick. During the week, before learning of the virus that was sweeping through Whitten Oval, I confidently predicted the Western Bulldogs to outrun and outplay Geelong, but soon changed my mind, but expected a highly entertaining contest between second and fourth on the ladder.

The Bulldogs started well, with Daniel Giansiracusa kicking the first, before, in an ominous sign, James Podsiadly stopped the ball on the boundary line as it rolled onto the white line, got past Brian Lake and Dale Morris before snapping the goal. Young forward Liam Jones impressed, picking the ball up nicely and grubbering through his first and then Barry Hall, wearing white boots which looked very odd on him, marked on the lead and booted his 66th goal of the year, two behind Jack Riewoldt. The Dogs led, 19-6, with just over five minutes to go. The Cats looked under pressure and the Bulldogs had the running. Paul Chapman did his best to change that, kicking a goal on the outside of his boot, before Cam Mooney converted from a free kick to level the scores. Finally, Mathew Stokes marked after David Wojcinski emphatically won a clearance, breaking away from the centre before passing to Stokes. The goalsneak kicked the goal, and Geelong led by six points at quarter time, 4.1 to 3.1.

The second quarter action will probably never be repeated in the AFL again. Geelong were firing on all cylinders. They were young again, they wanted the taste of victory again, they wanted to bury their opponents. Sadly for the Western Bulldogs, getting buried was an understatement.

Stevie Johnson started things off, marking the ball after it bounced off his head, before evading would-be tacklers to snap a no-look kick to Travis Varcoe, who converted. Varcoe again marked and booted his second, then Joel Selwood provided the highlight of the night. With the Dogs chipping the ball around just behind their end of centre, Selwood charged towards a loose Bulldog who was about to take an uncontested mark. Selwood’s fist changed that. He extended his arm out to the ball, punched it to his advantage before gathering it, still running at full tilt, and goaled on the run from 40m out. It might not have been a goal from the boundary, but it was definitely the goal/act of the night. Youngster Dan Menzel, in for Joel Corey, got into it, handballing to Johnson who snapped his first to take the margin out to 32 points. Geelong were just getting warmed up though. Brian Lake was terrible for the ‘Scray, and Podsiadly compounded his wounds with a good pack mark and his second goal, before kicking his third to take the margin out to 43 points. As the ball was thrown into the turf at the next restart from that goal, Brad Ottens tapped the ball down to James Kelly, who thumped the ball inside 50. It went over the back of the pack, where Menzel chased and chased, getting a boot on the ball in the goalsquare as he kicked his first goal in AFL footy. The kid is a likely type, look for him and Mitch Duncan to form the next generation Paul Chapman/Stevie Johnson double act.

Lately in the news, Selwood has come under fire for his tactics at earning free kicks, supposedly ducking his head into tacklers as he shot to first place for the most free kicks in the league. Sure, he might duck his head a bit too often, but you cannot question his courage and strength, as shown when he bumped Liam Picken over fighting for the ball, then diving back into the pack to win the footy. This enraged Picken to some degree as he delivered a harsh whack across the nose to Selwood, and a free kick was given to the superstar. The ball ended in Chapman’s hands, who goaled from 45m out, before Johnson kicked his second after some more Selwood heroics. To end the quarter with a bang, Varcoe and Shannon Byrnes combined along half-forward, getting the ball to Mooney, who kicked Geelong’s 10th goal of the quarter on the stroke of half time, the Cats leading by a huge 68 points at the main change, 14.4 to 3.2.

Hardly any supporter of the AFL could fathom what Geelong had just produced. It was easily the best quarter of footy anyone had seen for a while. Every kick was to precision, every contest was met with a hard hit and a ferocious attack on the ball, every goal came from a clearance or a turnover, which says more about the Western Bulldogs. The question was, could the Cats go close to repeating the dosage in the third quarter? In a short answer, no. But they still didn’t take any backwards steps, with Johnson kicking his third after Stokes gathered the ball in the forward pocket before speeding towards goal, reminiscent of Podsiadly’s first major of the night. The Dogs answered back with goals to Giansiracusa and Hall, who went one major behind Riewoldt in the Coleman Medal race. Geelong quickly kicked another two goals, through Byrnes after Johnson spotted him in the goalsquare and Gary Ablett from an Ottens’ tap. Ablett took the ball from the hitout, broke away from the pack, steadied and converted from outside 50. It was well and truly party time for Geelong, but Ryan Griffen somewhat crashed the party with a goal on the siren to cut the three quarter time deficit to 69 points, 6.3 to 17.6.

The final quarter saw Geelong start fairly slowly, but Ablett got his second and his third with goals on the run, with a goal to Jones in between those. Johnson snapped his fourth goal from 35m out, but the Doggies replied through a sick and sorry Lindsay Gilbee and Giansiracusa, and the margin was back to 70 points. Geelong suddenly switched all the lights back on, and powered away. Varcoe kicked his third on the run, Ottens took a good mark and got his first, Selwood capped off a brilliant game with his second goal, Johnson booting his fifth with some help from the amazing stamina, speed and agility from Varcoe, who seemed to be at half back and half forward at the same time, before everyone had a laugh to finish the game. After a long ball was kicked inside Geelong’s forward 50, Kelly superbly read the ball well, gathered it, ran along the goalface, handballed over the top to Byrnes and the little man finished the night with his second goal from the goalsquare, and with a smile on his dial, had a bit of a joke about the similarities to his ‘goal’ last week against Collingwood. The fans were cheering for another reason though. The scoreboard said it all: Western Bulldogs 9.6.60, Geelong 25.11.161. And then the siren sounded. Geelong aren’t a spent force yet. Underestimate them at your peril.

Western Bulldogs 3.1—3.2—6.3—9.6.60

Geelong 4.1—14.4—17.6—25.11.161


Western Bulldogs-Giansiracusa 3, Jones 2, Hall 2, Griffen, Gilbee

Geelong-Johnson 5, Podsiadly 3, Varcoe 3, Ablett 3, Mooney 2, Byrnes 2, Chapman 2, Selwood 2, Stokes, Menzel, Ottens


Western Bulldogs-Boyd, Griffen, Giansiracusa, Cross

Geelong-Selwood, Ablett, Johnson, Kelly, Bartel, Enright, Mackie, Chapman, Milburn, Stokes, Ottens


42,199 at Etihad Stadium


3: Joel Selwood (G)

2: Gary Ablett (G)

1: Steve Johnson (G)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.



    Now, it may the the recency effect taking place, but I do believe that game – particularly the second quarter – was the BEST I have ever seen Geelong play. It was breathtaking, it was awe-inspiring and ominous … I’ve been saying all year, write us off at your own peril. The nay-sayers last week clearly ignored me. You’d be a fool to think Geelong aren’t going to make the Granny, based on this form (if they can keep it up).

    The lead-up in the week was eerily reminiscent of the post-Kangaroos match in 2007.

    We’re only just getting started.

    Pods is back (sorry that my faith wavered, my Pod! May I never doubt thee again!)

    <3 Menzel <3 Yet another of my VFL boys proving why Geelong will be a force to reckon with for many years to come. He was in every contest from the first bounce, showing no signs of stage fright. His ability to read the play is sublime.

    Laids and Thunt put in solid efforts, but will almost definitely make way for Taylor and Doms.

    Hawkins is gone. Last night was the easiest night for him to stand up and perform, and he did nothing. Kick out the Tomahawk, train him in defence in the off-season, and bring back BLAKEY!!!! (in case no one noticed, Otten has trouble getting off the ground these days.)

    The most disappointing thing last night was the lack of atmosphere. A mediocre crowd number, and very few Cats fans.

    Those who opted not to go missed out on possibly our greatest performance of all time.

  2. Susie,

    The second and final quarters were breathtakingly, awesomely awesome. I thought Ottens was quite good last night, and was critical in a lof of the centre clearences that resulted in immediate Geelong goals.

    If only Geelong brought this type of game to the MCG last weekend, I think it’d be safe to say that the Cats would have romped home against Collingwood.

  3. Josh,

    We’re trying not to give too much of our game plan away to Collingwood, saving it for when it truly counts ;-) Collingwood, on the other hand, have laid every card on the table and bared their guts. Geelong will now dissect them bit by bit, and I assure you – the next time the Cats and Pies meet, the result will be vastly, vastly different :P

  4. So Josh, I think you have got Shepp East mixed up with Dookie, Shepp East have actually lost 3 games and sit second on the ladder :S

  5. Oh shut up.

  6. Good article, but Gazza was easily BOG! GO CATTERS!!!!!!!!

  7. POG would have looked like this-
    3- Mooney
    2- Selwood
    1- Hawkins

  8. But Danni, what about Daniel Menzel?

    Surely he’d sneak in ahead of Hawkins … :P

    Sam, there’s a case to be made for both Gazza and Woody, but I’d tend to agree with you – Gazza by a hair (how ironic).

  9. 8- Susie Menzel is not bad AT ALL. he JUST missed out ahead of the underwear model that is Tom Catwalk Hawkins :P

  10. Danni, a couple of years ago, Hawkins had the biggest derriere in the league – how times have changed that he could now be considered an underwear model :P

  11. 10- LOL!
    i can say that the title of biggest derriere is stuck between Travis Cloke and Lee-Lee Brown. Travis would probs win though :P
    GF day last year was the defining moment,Hawkins had the bright red briefs going on.

  12. Steve Healy says:

    You idiot, check the TV Guide! haha good report

  13. Haha, I did before so I know what time next week’s game is on, and luckily I did as St Kilda v Richmond is on live.

  14. Tony Robb says:

    Hi Josh,
    Good to see you have been hard at the reporting. Got the T shirt. You should have had a warning on the envelope that it came in Essendon colours and bombers insignia. Nearly collapsed. Just Kidding. I’ll wear it with pride on the golf course tomorrow. Thanks again and thank your folks for their lovely note.
    The Roos are gone for the year but plenty to look forward to particulary if you can get a few more Swallows on the paddock remembering of course than one Swallow does not make a summer or a premiership team.

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