AFL Round 14 – Geelong v Fremantle: Ross Lyon is like a Lannister

Score a footy and Cats gear

Score a footy and Cats gear

You know the nerves and beers are kicking in when someone starts using Game of Thrones analogies to describe footy coaches.

“Ross Lyon is like a Lannister. He lacks emotion, sympathy and is ruthless but gets the job done.”

This was one of the pearls of wisdom my mate Elliot (the hate filled Docker or THFD for short) was coming out with as we held up the bar at the Sporting Globe pub in Geelong after a sunny and almost Perth like winter’s afternoon awaiting the big clash. When we picked this game at the start of the year we didn’t think it would be a battle for a spot in the Top 2. It just seemed like a good excuse to dump significant others in Perth with it being another visited ground to be ticked off for THFD and the first time back at the Cattery in 10 years for me with the result of a foregone conclusion. Alas, this was now not the case with Geelong failing to shut down the Lions’ kamikaze football the week before to completely soil the bed and Fremantle seeming to do the job week in week out or as the Goodies would do it by doing it anytime, anywhere with anything.

The Dockers had me worried even without Barlow and Mundy and it was more than because of the traditional Geelong pessimism. They seemed to be like Geelong by playing with a rigid system rather than relying on individual talent which had been proven with their unbeaten run continuing on despite the loss of sacred cows like Pavlich and Sandilands. Much like a Lannister you had to admire their steel and resolve and not disrespect them in any way.

We began the walk to the game with the odd text from patronising Dockers fans back home asking to remember back to last September when the Dockers caught the Cats with their pants down, a sure sign that you’re being thought about when the Cats play a WA team. More fans joined the throng down Moorabool St as we marched down the hill with the excitement building in me much in the same way it was for the kids being led down the street by their dads.

I’d been to see the Cats play at Subi and the G many times recently and we were always in the minority but this was the first time in what seemed like forever I had been surrounded by my own folk in the walk to the game all tramping along with the odd mutterings about tactics and micro analysing what would happen under the new floodlights that stood out like dog’s bollocks as we approached. This feeling is what I miss most of all when it comes to modern footy, a feeling of being with like minded souls all hoping for the same thing and to forget any troubles that seems to be lost in my visits to Subi.

After standing in a line that stretched forever and would’ve put the archaic Subi Oval to shame we were inside and I was reminded about why I loved this place with the kids in hoops kicking footies in the park next door, the glut of old members behind the protective plastic on the Club Cats stand and the standing room (greatly reduced since my last visit) still up in a corner of the ground showing one of the last connections to the era of old suburban grounds that had all been wiped out around Australia by the AFL Empire.

Hawkins broke the deadlock with a quite extraordinary grubber as the Cats showed their muscle early around the contested ball. T Hunt with the sleeves (as opposed to J Hunt with the tattoo sleeve) was on Hill as expected while Crowley went on to Selwood and harassed the Geelong captain like he was a Greenpeace hawker in a suburban shopping centre walkway. The game certainly didn’t lack bite with Zac Dawson taking Bundy’s head off and Bartel clashing with one of the Dockers ‘black hats’ in Ballantyne after only a few minutes that raised the first noise from the crowd. That said noise from the crowd was few and far between. Was it the cold? The nerves? Were we too expectant these days? THFD said it was like the atmosphere at an Eagles game..that hurt. Jimmy didn’t take the bait like Scarlett did at Subi last year though and minutes later snapped a brilliant opportunist goal to put the Cats well in control.

Geelong kept turning the screws on the Dockers with the latter’s tactic of bombing it long and trying to isolate Taylor or Lonegan like they did in September last year to great aplomb not working as Harry took a glut of uncontested marks over the cleanskin Taberner. “A good Northampton boy!” I kept reminding those around me with my pride in the #7 quantified by the connection of having my parents now living in said hometown of Harry. At quarter time with the Cats up by 20 the old dear in front of me started distributing tea from one of the two flasks she had to anyone that felt like holding off hypothermia in another showing of some of the old values of a day at the footy with some gentle ribbing aimed at the THFD who smashed the comments to the boundary for four with a careful retort about what happened last September.

In the second quarter Freo started to kick short and not treat the ball like a hot potato which seemed to work with the youngster Sheridan getting his first ever goal for the Dockers thanks to an errant handball from Kelly and great tackle by Ballantyne on Pods. A shiver went down my spine when I see the large white ‘F-R-E-O’ letters get held up by the Dockers cheersquad which is a reminder that those cursed letters made their debut in the finals last season and were seen being raised behind the goals at the Punt Rd end far too many times.

Mzungu then had them to within 10 points with a set shot thanks to an easy mark and Cats fan shifted nervously as they huddled together for warmth. Another great start to go to waste like last week? THFD was getting confident and you could see he wanted to burst open and shower Dockers rhetoric on the Cats around him but there was a long time to go as he knew he wasn’t in the 2-tier stand at Subi now. Pods and Motlop got goals for the Cats but both were cancelled out by Walters (whose first came from a dubious 50 metre penalty thanks to J Hunt’s potty mouth) and then with a fine left foot finish Walters again kept the Dockers in touch at half time.

THFD was confident but conceded that third quarters were the Dockers’ achilles and that prophecy would come to pass with Geelong using the Dockers as a virtual piñata in the third quarter despite some woeful finishing that had the old Croatian guy next to me swearing like a trooper and then apologising like a pastor moments later for using such words. Bundy missed a snap and should’ve gone for goal rather than pass off to Bartel as Geelong completely shut the Dockers out of the game. A great toe poke from Selwood released T Hunt who goaled which was then followed up by Corey marking and goaling to crack the game open with ruthless efficiency and have some of us thinking that Ross Lyon had walked in to the wrong coaches box such was the Lyon like way the Cats were battering their opponents. Still, the Cats didn’t have the Dockers completely on the canvas with a host of missed shots to round the quarter out.

My constant and some would say misguided claims of Motlop being to the equal of Cyril gained some justification in the final quarter with a fine finish from the young star with another pup in the sub Murdoch snapping brilliantly to finish the Dockers off and have THFD slinking off to the bar to get a cider because he ‘wanted to be dignified in defeat’. Tarbener and Mayne kept the Dockers looking respectable but that went out the window and had Geelong fans finally finding some voice when the big man and it seemed Freo specialist Dawson Simpson kicked an easy goal that had the Dockers much vaunted defence looking like they were imitating their Damien Drum era.

The Cats ran out big winners with Bartel starring in the long sleeves, Bundy having his best game in weeks and Mitch Duncan again flying under the radar with another mature and important performance. It could’ve been a bigger win but it had us back in the Top 2 and the Dockers showing they had some way to go yet. With the song ringing around the ground THFD had moved on from Game of Thrones and was now using Star Wars analogies to describe the current Dockers set up as we waited for the second siren.

“We’re not Jedis yet. We need to go back to Dagobah” was one explanation comparing the WA side to Luke Skywalker.

Must’ve been good cider.

It was a puzzling yet true comment about the Dockers. They were getting there but weren’t the complete package yet but this and other things could be discussed in the Hoops Bar. In the here and now I just wanted to get on the ground and have a kick of the footy like a kid again and celebrate being back where the banners fly high. It had been far too long since I was ‘home’.

 

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 T Hunt
Fremantle: Walters 3, Mayne Taberner Mzaungu Sheridan

Best

Geelong: Bartel, Taylor, Duncan, Christensen, Corey, Mackie

Fremantle: Crowley, Walters, Pearce, McPharlin, D Pearce

Umpires: Simon Meredith, Shane Stewart, Mathew Nicholls.

Official crowd: 26,743

Our Votes: 3 Bartel 2 Duncan 1 Taylor

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

Comments

  1. Very good report Dennis. I had Bartel, Christensen and Mackie as the vote winners, but Harry was very stiff to miss out.

    It was one of those gee-I’m-glad-we-got-the-four-points games. It won’t be remembered.

    Onward to the Hawks!

  2. Peter_B says:

    Enjoyed your report, Dennis. Far be it for me to speak up for the hated Southern cousins, but I wouldn’t be writing them off for a GF spot on Saturday night’s showing. I reckon the critics are a bit Ross Lyon/defensive focussed. My take is that the Dockers strength is their midfield depth, speed and skill when they have all their cattle on the field. Add Mundy and Barlow (2 class acts) to Fyfe (a big class act), Stephen Hill (doesn’t cop a tag when they all play), Walters + the 2 Pearces and that is an awesomely deep midfield. Everyone focuses on the loss of big blokes Pavlich and Sandilands (they certainly had no forward height or strength on Saturday night) but I reckon that misses the point of their real strengths.
    Chris Scott will be smiling at the Brisbane loss if you can beat the Hawks again this weekend. There was no flamboyant ‘party boy’ stuff last week, and that augurs well for your chances.

  3. Dennis Gedling says:

    I completely agree Peter re: Freo’s midfield. Their engine room is driven by those two who were missing on Saturday. I think the point I was trying to make with Pav and Sandilands is they’re not the sacred cows they were, that was proven with the latter towards the end of last season. Pav is still a very much required focus point as the poor boy playing in his steed at the moment was butchered. Not believing the hype on Fyfe just yet.

    And to think being out town meant I missed the Cardies magnificent win over the Black Ducks too. Good thing we go back there in one of the last rounds.

  4. Basso Divor says:

    Great review Dennis. The GoT reference in the title immediately piqued my interest!
    As a fellow Perthite, I share your “feeling of being with like minded souls” in attending a Cats’ home game. The hostility experienced at a Subi as an opposition supporter means I haven’t been in a few years. I’ve always enjoyed games between Victorian teams where there is a bi-partisan representation.

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