Carlton v Geelong Rd 9 Docklands

Preparation for this game started months ago.
As soon as the AFL fixtures came out and I saw that my roster had me finishing work at 2031 that night. Too late.
I needed to find someone who would swap a shift with me.
I needed someone who’s not a footy fan. Billy was my man. He was happy to forgo a 5th consecutive day of Deakin Expresses for a late finish on Friday night. Not only that, he made up the balance of hours by doing my last couple of runs on Monday night, freeing me up to pick Mum up from Avalon airport.

There was a setback when the game threatened to be a sell-out and the only way to secure seats as a Geelong member was to get there when the gates opened. Even with an earlier shift that wasn’t possible. Enter Favourite Daughter and Sport Boy: their mission- get to Docklands early and save me a seat.

I finished the last run of the day, resisting the temptation to tilt the bus to tip the last few passengers out at Geelong station and ten minutes later I was on my way up the Princes Freeway and headed for the footy.
I found a park in my usual place, made the dash up the stairs at Southern Cross and headed for Docklands and a rendezvous at Aisle 41 Row N.
I was especially keen to get there in time for the pre-game tribute to Bob Davis. The word icon is used way too easily these days but in this instance it is the perfect description for Woofa, The Geelong Flier who passed away earlier in the week. The minute’s silence was powerful and emotional.

The game starts and Carlton jump us early. The ball is camped inside their forward 50 and they have two goals on the board before we’ve even crossed the half way line. It’s not a good start but I’m not worried. The Hawks jumped us and we got them in the end, we’ve been finishing games really strongly.
Sure enough we kick a couple of goals but the pattern is established. Carlton break away and we reel them in. They look good and we’re playing catch-up. The Blues move the ball quickly and effectively with Murphy the driving force. Kelly is outstanding for the Cats. Put these two in a room together with a footy and no-one gets out alive.
A dubious free kick and goal to the Cats just before the main break and the scores are tied.
Some things in football are 100% predictable. Tonight it is that Darren Milburn will get roundly booed every time he touches the ball, and Joel Selwood will get the most free kicks and the Carlton fans will howl and moan at the injustice. Never mind that he goes where angels fear to tread and the ball is always his object.

Half time brings an unexpected question.
“How come your son doesn’t have a fishing rod?”
The enquiry comes from a big burley Blues fan sitting next to Sport Boy.
His name is Raff and he is friendly, engaging and good company, and seemingly equally passionate about the Blues and fishing.
I tell him my interest in fish only extends as far as eating them. He confides he’d rather catch them than eat them. I see a beautiful relationship forming!

The game restarts and the battle is rejoined. It’s a high standard game and the Cats need someone to stand up and break the game open. As if on cue, Travis Varcoe realises it is Indigenous round and this is his stage. He kicks the first three goals of the third quarter as a result of that most wonderful combination, speed and skill. The Blues hit back and Geelong lead by 7 at the last change.

The Cats had suggested they were about to run away with the game but one Blue has other plans and a certain dual Brownlow medallist threatens to win the game on his own. I’m sure he limped off with an ankle injury late in the second quarter but you’d never know when he kicks a brilliant goal to start the last quarter and follows up with a pinpoint pass to Simpson moments later and it is well and truly game on.
Can anything or anyone stop Chris Judd when he sets his mind to a task?

In the hour of need Chappy and Stevie J can always be relied upon. They both kick goals and the Cats grab back the lead.

Two defining moments bring the game to a thunderous crescendo.

The first is when Steve Johnson climbs high for a pack mark at full forward and is eclipsed by the soaring shadow of James Podsiadly who comes from four deep to fly even higher and pull down a screamer. I immediately look at Sport Boy and we share the same thought without having to say a word. Seven nights ago the JPod missed three dead-set sitters against the Magpies from about the same position. What would he do this time with the game again in the balance?
We needn’t have worried. He put it through the big sticks although the replay revealed the ball had helicoptered back from outside the left hand goalpost to get there. Cats by 10 and not long to go surely.

Carlton respond and Jarrad Waite goals shortly after. Cats by 4.
Andrew walker has a set shot from just inside 50 and misses.
Cats by 3.
Nerves fraying.

Then comes the final decisive moment. Corey Enright tries to spoil and succeeds only in clouting Blues ruckman Robbie Warnock in the head.
Free kick. 15 metres out, bit of an angle. The result rests on the big man’s shoulders but unbeknownst to anyone at the time, he is not a well boy. In fact he spends the night in hospital with concussion. Armed with this knowledge his miss to the left for a point is perfectly understandable. Never-the-less, at the time all we know is the Cats are clinging to a 2 point lead and in need of another hero.
Matty Scarlett volunteers for the job with two game saving marks in the heart of the Carlton forward line. The Cats clear the ball to half forward.
The siren goes.
I jump out of my seat in relief and joy and give myself a headspin.
We’ve won again.
Another thriller.
Saints by 1, Pies by 3 and now the Blues by 2.
What a ride!

“We are Geelong” rings out and I fancy Bobby Davis is grinning from ear to ear.
I swap phone numbers with Raff and picture a juicy snapper for dinner.

Votes: Kelly 3, Selwood 2, Murphy 1


  1. Richard Jones says:

    COULD you believe it, Marcus, when Hawkins scrambled through a little toe-poke goal centimetres from the goal line?

    I know I couldn’t. He normally can’t do anything right and I’m hoping with Vardy now on the scene they’ll gradually edge Tommy out. Slip him back permanently to the VFL.

    Still the TomaHawk did manage that miraculous major so it seems he’ll live again for another senior AFL outing!

  2. Marcus Holt says:

    I know there’s a lot of doubt and misgiving about Tom but I’m a fan. I truly believe he is the victim of unrealistic expectations. Before he’d even played a game he was being described as the “next Jonathon Brown”. How could he live up to that?
    He isn’t a star, I concede that, but he does a job and he gives a solid effort. He’s carrying a share of the rucking load, although someone needs to teach him when to jump, he goes too early most of the time. He doesn’t hold as many marks as I’d like but he is a target and draws a key defender.
    I don’t understand the development/physiology of AFL players but it often seems to be said that big guys take longer to mature. He is still quite young and I am prepared to give him more time.

    And finally, he kicked the vital first goal of the final quarter in the 09 Grand Final that sparked our come from behind premiership victory and therefore is a hero to me.

    I may sound a bit rose-coloured in my perspective but I’ve never been happy when any Geelong player is criticised or condemned by our fans. For instance, I believe David Mensch was a much better player than Geelong fans gave him credit for.
    Not everyone can be a superstar and when we’ve had Abletts and Hockings and so many other great players, the lesser players will always look less impressive and less spectacular. But, no player can win a game on their own, it is teams that win games and ultimately premierships.

    As for the goal on Friday night, he was in the right place at the right time and did what had to be done. It was a great win and the whole team made it possible.

    Go Cats

  3. Marcus – I think Hawkins has had a pretty good season so far. He’s starting to throw his weight around which is what the coaches want him to do. He’s also starting to hold a few grabs. I’d like him to work harder around the ground.

  4. Phantom says:

    Nothing wrong with the Tomahawk. He would be snapped up by most clubs.

    The expectation that he will be like Jumping Jack is ill conceived. He has good on ground skills and is improving. Don’t anyone get in his way.

    He has a premiership medalion as well. Bucks, for example, doesn’t.

  5. Anyone wonder if Hawkins is the next Brad Ottens in terms of where he’s at in his career?

  6. Richard Jones says:

    NABLETT has one too, Phantom. Nuff said.

    Bobby Skilton didn’t ever play in a grannie. One final, and a 1st semi at that, was all he racked up.

    Sorry you’re uncomfortable Marcus with lifelong Geelong fans criticising our own. One of my daughters was cross with me when i bucketed TomaHawk the other Friday nite at the Collingwood game.

    With 62 years of supporting the Pivotonians as a personal stat, I figure I’m entitled to be critical from time to time.

    You can’t be serious in putting forward supportive comments about Benchie Menschy? The name says it all.

    And no one has mentioned Bluey McGrath yet. Not to mention Tim Darcy.
    Dunstall’s eyes must have lit up when he picked up Friday’s teams pages before a Hawthorn-Geelong fixture.

    There’d be Timmy’s name slotted into the FB berth. Jason “The Chief” must have mulled over whether he’d get 10 or just be satisfied with a 7 or an 8 !!!

  7. Richard Naco says:

    Good report. Many thanks. I watched the game on 7 Sydney’s traditional early Saturday morning grave yard schedule and it was yet another nerve wracking barn burner. The Cardiac Cats have now won 10 of the past 11 games they’ve played where the margin was less than 6 points, so there has to come a time when it gets accepted as more than mere luck.

    I have no issues with supporters of any club bagging their own, but I can’t agree with the amount of flak that Tom Hawkins and Travis Varcoe draw. Both have superlative physical gifts, and both have offered tantalising hints of unique and devastating talent, but both have at times left us all shaking our heads at their inconsistency. It is quite understandable that so many become frustrated, then despair, and give up hope.

    Understandable, perhaps, but short sighted. Both are still very young men, and not all talented young men are going to explode on to the league in the manner of Joel Selwood. Young blokes improve with age, and all three of these young Cats are much better players now than they were in 2007. Now the probabilities of what Joel will be like when he does mature borders on fantasy fiction, but when they hit their prime I also firmly believe that Travvy & Tomohawk are also going to be totally dominant forces of mass destruction in our game.

    And behind them we have the New Wave featuring the remarkable Menzel, Christensen, Vardy, THunt, Brown, Motlop The Younger & Duncan. And beyond even them, the Stephen Wells’ School of “Who Needs Top 5 Draft Picks To Find A Champion” is still in full flight.

    As I said in a previous thread: I see the dawn approaching of a new golden age, and it still wears hoops!

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