AFL Round 4 – Geelong v Port Adelaide: Love is in the Air

Love is in the Air by Peter Flynn

Love is in the air

Everywhere I look around

Love is in the air

Every sight and every sound

It’s a shorts and beer Sunday in April and I am at Kardinia Park with my old china Ando. After a protracted conversation regarding our various age-related ailments, we toast good health to each other. The amber elixir, albeit served in plastic and headless, temporarily cures all.

Prior to the game, love envelopes Kardinia Park. There is love for Tommy Harley as he farewells the faithful, love for the unfurled 2009 premiership flag, love for the new stand, love for the premiership cup motorcade and love for the late benefactor Alex Popescu.

Naming the new stand (wind-break) the Premiership Stand would have been unthinkable a few years ago. There seems to be a heightened sense of entitlement, belonging and comfort at Geelong these days. Sharing a car in the motorcade, ’63 skipper and septuagenarian Fred Wooller and injured Toe-poker Scarlett, representing the ’07 team, provide a visual reminder of the long period without a Geelong flag.

The setting is perfect. The pristine Kardinia Park surface possesses the greenness of an Augusta fairway. The sky has a Bangkok morning look about it. Middle-level cloud suggests the possibility of a late storm. Either that or the Icelandic volcanic cloud has travelled further than anticipated. A warm breeze wafts through the standing wet area. There is love for the breeze.

The opening half is a reasonable contest. Geelong goes in with a tall forward line accompanied by shorter champions. It appears potent and functions coherently. The Pod boots Geelong’s first major from a stacks-on-the-mill directly in front. Gee there is some love for the Pod. In a moment of magic, Stevie J turns Carlile on a threepenny bit and snaps a memorable around-the-body special on the left.

Early doors, Cognac Taylor is involved in a great duel with Tredrea. Cognac knows when to punch and knows when to mark (thanks Kenny Rogers). The dependable tough-bodied duo, Enright and Milburn, provide a conduit between defence and attack. Selwood is uncharacteristically quiet. Young Hawkins attracts some vitriol from some of the more lubricated punters standing at the Lance Perkins End. Crayons and colouring books form the basis of some of the more derogatory comments. The jury’s findings on the Tomahawk oscillate like the tide.

The jury is well and truly in on the Pod however. In just his second game, he has reached people’s champion status. Who would have thought so much love would exist for a Geelong number 31?

At the start of the second term and with a two-goal lead, Blake taps to Kelly who handballs to Bartel who hits the leading Chappy lace out. Chappy kicks truly. Blake and Kelly impersonate Farmer and Goggin. There is great love for Bartel. What a well-rounded, tough and accomplished footballer.

Through the agency of strong marking from the tall forwards, particularly from the Pod, Geelong surges to an 8.7 to 4.2 lead. Ando turns and notes that we can put down our glasses. It’s over. A minute later, Ando accidentally drops his beer and splashes the newly-arrived girls standing in front of us. He is not a first-time offender in this regard.

Port Adelaide dominates the last ten minutes of the first half and trail by ten points at half-time. Geelong needs to recalibrate at the long break.

The third quarter is a celebration of the beautiful game. Whenever I look at the country-footy-ground scoreboard located below the Bundaberg Rum Tent (does anybody know how you get a gig in there?), Geelong’s score is never fully displayed such is their scoring frequency. Port’s backline resembles a live-saver (a big hole in the middle). They get annihilated out of the centre and are reduced to playing the role of witches hats.

Ablett breaks clear of Cassisi and runs riot. He snaps the first of Geelong’s eleven sausage rolls for the quarter and sets up Chappy for the second. Mooney marks solidly and goals. Bartel kicks his 100th AFL goal from a long way out. Ablett shrugs tackles and gets the ball to Duncan who goals on the run. Duncan continues to impress. Naturally, I’d love to have a beer with him. Stevie J involves Hawkins who scores from the goal line. The Pod snags his third. Chappy drives long to the Pod for his fourth. The Pod should be eligible for the Rising Star. Bartel out-manoeuvres two taller witches hats in a marking contest and handballs to Ablett who goals. Ablett finds Bartel who finds Byrnes who goals. Geelong’s last goal for the term is an improbable Stevie J half-volley off the crumbs of the pack. Freakish.

Cognac gains complete ascendancy over Tredrea. Milburn applies a brutal shirtfront on Chad Cornes. Bartel continues being Bartel and Corey continues being Corey. Throughout the carnage, Chappy is often seen willing the machine on. Geelong players move the ball on at breakneck speed. Many passages of play leave spectators shaking their head in admiration. There is hardly an occasion when a Geelong player handballs to a stationary Blake.

There are 21 sorties inside-50 in the third quarter for a yield of 11.7 (the third highest-scoring quarter by a Geelong outfit). How did Geelong not score on those three other occasions?

If Geelong could maintain the standard of football reached in the third quarter, all coaches bar Bomber will advocate for a drastic reduction in game time.

In the final quarter, Geelong extends its lead and wins by 95 points. Stevie J contributes six goals and the Pod five, including Geelong’s last. The Pod leaves to a standing ovation. The genius of recruiter Stephen Wells again comes to the fore. Cognac probably gets the three votes for blanketing Tredrea and for directing traffic. There are about ten others that could snare a Brownlow vote.

At 4.52 pm, the 2009 AFL premiership flag is raised over Kardinia Park.

Indeed there is love in the air in Geelong.

Comments

  1. Don’t you love it, don’t you love it, don’t you just love it? Chic a boom, chic a boom boom boom.

  2. GREAT, FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL piece, Peter!

    Gosh, so happy for Pods! What a legend! And Harry – Harry, Harry, Harry…

    People probably think we Geelong fans overuse the word “superstar” – but let’s face it, we just have so many!

    Duncan was another BRILLIANT recruiting job by Wellsy (and prompted me to set up the “Stephen Wells Appreciation Society” facebook group ;) )

    What a great game. Now what’s this about a form slump? ;)

  3. Peter Flynn says:

    Cheers Susie. Enjoyed your Pod piece.

    Phantom, are we talking Daddy Dewdrop from the early 70’s?

  4. Yep. Shocking wasn’t it but it is very now down at Kardinia Park.

  5. Flynnie – what a beautiful afternoon Sunday was. I love sending that rabble from Port home with a good old fashioned rogering.

    Lets lap it up whilst it lasts, but no team plays football like the Cats in full flight. Am I being biased?

    Bet the frothies went down a treat !

  6. Peter Flynn says:

    Dips,

    The pork spare ribs and scotch fillet at Parker’s Steakhouse (just off Little Malop) after the game was the equal of Geelong’s 3rd quarter.

    Correct re refreshments.

  7. Andrew Fithall says:

    An enjoyable read Flynnie. As usual. Last night my 12 year-old daughter was complaining about maths homework and about the subject generally. “When will I ever need to use maths?” and “I much prefer being creative.” I don’t know what happened but I used you as an example of someone who must like (and be good at???) his maths and can still be creative. A bit sad really.

    So enough of the praise. Help me out. I have looked everywhere on this site – plenty to read about Geelong this week – but I cannot for the life of me find your article about the loss last week against Fremantle, or any other contributor’s article either. I didn’t know Conroy’s internet filter had already been implemented.

  8. Peter Flynn says:

    AF,

    Students can be very adept at ‘inventing’ maths.

    Good point re the Round 3 report vacuum. For the record, I thought it was a cracking game.

    It reminded me of one of those brilliant Vic v WA state games in the mid-80’s.

    Fremantle seem a much improved outfit.

    The only downside to the game was BT’s contrived Freo bias.

    I don’t mind blatant George Grljusich-style bias.

    I can’t stand BT.

  9. Andrew Fithall says:

    Agree totally with the BT comment. “Contrived” “Hollow” “False” “Cynical” “Shallow”. In the Freo round 1 game, he was almost claiming credit for having discovered Barlow, apparently because he made some comment about him pre-game.

  10. Andrew – what happened in round 3 ??? That’s 4 magnificent quarters of football ago.

  11. At least one Geelong supporter acknowleged the defeat in Round 3.

    A Cats flag perpetually flying in a prominant position adjacent to one of Tasmania’s busiest highways was at half mast all last week.

    Re-elevation took place on Sunday evening.

    The loss was part of the plan to regain written off status. The Saints were the main benefactors facing a battered and bruised lot of ‘Wharfies’ softened up by the brick laden handbags.

    Go Cats.

  12. haiku bob says:

    flynny

    i am overcome by the tranquility of smugness.

    loving the pod.

    hb.

  13. Peter Flynn says:

    HB,

    Should that be tranquilli of smugness?

    It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens to the Pod?

    Just like every ‘find new talent’ show is now looking for a Susan Boyle type, I suspect AFL clubs are going to go in search of their own Pod.

    Hopefully the Pod can find his way into the round 9 haiku.

  14. I love this article.

    And especially the Pod.

    Oh, and Harry.

    And therefore Stephen Wells.

  15. Andrew Fithall says:

    Phanton – If “The loss was part of the plan to regain written off status;” the win must have been part of the plan to regain the written-about status.

    Flynnie – Tranquilli continued his football career at Springbank.

  16. Nice reply Andrew. Cheers, Phantom.

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