AFL Round 14 – Geelong v Fremantle: Cats dust off 2007 game plan

“Out on the road, late at night, I see my pretty Alice in every headlight,” Lowell George sang me back home after a melancholy night out at the all-new Cattery.  It was an odd, forgettable game of football, and Geelong could just as easily have finished 19.11 as 11.19. It wasn’t defensive pressure that caused the rash of third quarter points; actually it was poor discipline in the main. The game was a battle of strategy that Geelong clearly won hands down, although it is not clear that Fremantle actually came with a win in mind. That is not to take anything away from Geelong, you can only play what is in front of you and that they did. Handsomely.

To combat the defensive Freo zone Chris Scott dusted off Thompson’s Geelong 2007 game, the one they devised to break down Sydney in that era. There were long handball chains close to the ball leaving the Freo zone standing off and the Freo players that were at the contest chasing tail (and not in the Henry Miller sense). The effect of that was that Geelong rarely gave up possession and couple that with the fact that Geelong won just about every stoppage, there was the odd sensation, particularly in the third quarter that it was forwards (Geelong) against backs (Fremantle). On the occasions that the backs prevailed, Harry Taylor would get the ball for the forwards and they would start again.

The sum of that for the spectators and no doubt the TV audience was one of increasing disinterest, as theatre the game was a failure. There was a hint of tension in the second quarter, which finished 5.7 to 4.2, but Geelong having double the number of scoring shots was a better indication than the actual 11-point half time margin.

Harry Taylor was totally dominant throughout, and in the second half Bartel played the best football I have seen from him in 18 months and the rest of the Geelong team did everything right, except near goal, where mostly they did everything wrong. Ryan Crowley, the game’s best run with player, completely shut Selwood out of the game in the only victory (of sorts) for Fremantle. The most notable feature of this game is that it looked to be an end to the bad blood that has been on the rise between the two teams, hatchet buried it seems.

 

GEELONG 3.4 5.7 7.16 11.19 (85)

FREMANTLE 0.2 4.2 4.2 7.2 (44)

GOALS

Geelong: Corey 2, Motlop 2, Hawkins 2, Simpson, Bartel, Murdoch, Podsiadly, Hunt.

Fremantle: Walters 3, Mayne, Taberner, Mzungu, Sheridan.

BEST

Geelong: Taylor, Bartel, Stokes, Mackie.

Fremantle: Crowley, Mzungu, McPharlin

UMPIRES Meredith, Stewart, Nicholls.

CROWD 26,743

MALARKEY Taylor, Bartel, Crowley

 

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