26 March 2011

By Ben Jensen AFL ROUND 1 GEELONG CATS V ST KILDA SAINTS GEELONG overcame a twenty-one point deficit late in the third quarter to defeat the Saints by just one point at the MCG tonight in front of a disappointing crowd of 42,869, thanks to a goal from ‘super sub’ Darren Milburn just 19 seconds from the final siren. Cats fans held their breath for nearly ten minutes in the first quarter, when Joel Selwood was knocked out cold by Farren Ray. Selwood was stretchered off while being given an oxygen supply, but soon recovered in the dressing rooms and after precautionary scans at the nearby Epworth hospital, was back in the rooms to celebrate with his teammates after the game and later tweeted thanks for everyone’s messages.

GEELONG: 0.4 1.7 4.10 6.12 (48) DEFEATED
ST KILDA: 2.5 2.9 4.11 6.11 (47)

GEELONG: M Duncan 2 D Milburn D Wojcinski J Bartel J Corey
ST KILDA: B Goddard B McEvoy L Hayes N Riewoldt R Clarke R Gamble

GEELONG: J Bartel C Enright M Scarlett D Wojcinski
ST KILDA: L Hayes N Dal Santo B Goddard

ST KILDA: Ray (St Kilda) for forceful contact with Selwood in the first quarter.

GEELONG: Joel Selwood (Concussion, cut mouth – 14 stitches)
ST KILDA: Ben McQualter (calf)


FIELD Chamberlain, S.Ryan, T.Pannell, B.Ritchie
BOUNDARY C.Gordon, J.Morris, M.Foster, G.Large
GOAL C.Appleton, M.Canning, D.Flegg

THE CATTERY’S PRE-MATCH TIP? Geelong by a smidgen; 2 points OH SO CLOSE!!

With the Old Man and Baby Brother, managed to (finally) enjoy a quick meal from ‘Beer Deluxe’ at FedSquare before the game, though that was about all we got, after a twenty-five minute struggle to get the jug of beer we paid for at the bar, ended up leaving with a refund after one of the more unusual circular arguments I’ve had in some time, quite fun. Had an enjoyable enough walk to the ‘G, intermingling with plenty of huge blokes with no necks using words like ”ey’ and ‘bro’ a fair bit and naturally enough they headed off to AAMI Park while we continued over the spooky-bridge to the real game of the evening. Took our seats in GA on level four after entering through Gate 5; only went this far to look into picking up our membership item; gave up when we saw the queues! Next home game..

The game started well enough for the Cats; Cameron Mooney found himself with a regulation shot for goal just seconds into the match. Unfortunately for the ‘Big Hairy Cats’ he didn’t quite connect right and the ball sailed right of the behind post, out of bounds on the full. This pretty much set the tone for much of the match, certainly the first quarter for the Cats, as they failed to register a single major, just the four behinds. St Kilda opened their account courtesy of a free kick to the more prominent of the ‘Dickileaks’ victims, Nick Riewoldt.

What happened next sent shockwaves throughout the ground and no doubt Geelong and the entire Western District; acting skipper Joel Selwood was knocked out cold be St Kilda’s Farren Ray. Medical teams took nearly ten minutes to get Selwood off the ground on a stretcher, even going to the extent of administering oxygen. Good news came not too long after however, when the Cats Insider tweeted the news Selwood was OK, and would undergo a quick precautionary scan at the Epworth in due course. Darren Milburn, named as ‘substitute’ in this game, took his place to much excitement to the footy-nerds on every form of broadcast media in Australia. Thankfully for the Cats, the Saints managed only another goal by the then un-bandaged Brendan Goddard, and led by thirteen points at the first change.

News swept around the ground that this was the first time since round 22, 2003 that Geelong were held goalless in the first quarter of a game. But as we were only too happy to tweet back, the opponent was St Kilda and we won! See: GEELONG FINISHES 2003 IN STYLE

So the omens weren’t all bad even though it didn’t look so good! Funnily enough though the Saints had wobbles to the Punt Road End too, did not register a single major while all we could do was boot one goal, courtesy of Mitch Duncan in just his ninth game, roving a ball from a crowded pack outside the goalsquare, calmly dribbling it through to make sure of it. Video The Saints led by eight points at half time. Taylor Hunt was the Old Man’s pick to half-time; possibly masked by anger towards established stars like Mooney and Matthew Stokes. Hunt was good though, as was Mitch Duncan who started the game in the middle.

Things deteriorated in the second half pretty quick, with even former Cat Ryan Gamble kicking a goal for the Saints. Raphael Clarke added another about ten minutes in to push the lead to twenty points. But Geelong wasn’t dead yet, a mini-revival was about to get underway after several false starts. We should point out that to this stage the game had pretty pretty hopeless as a spectacle, as if the 55,000+ empty seats knew it so stayed home on purpose. The Saints like the Cats were hopeless in front of goal, not only that but continually bombed the ball straight to their opponents or contested packs.

As the baby brother went to grab a coffee for he and the Old Man, Joel Corey found himself right in front of us with quite a tough shot for goal, a bit over five metres in from the boundary line on the right-hand side, forty metres out. Of course, the little gem slotted it through and the goal drought to the Punt Road End was over! This little gem was followed two minutes later by a goal by David Wojcinski, who at the age of 30 (still younger than I) certainly hasn’t lost any pace and was the fasted on the field.

Mitch Duncan’s second a further three minutes later pushed the Cats to within two points. Another behind cut the deficit to just one point, the Saints now turned the hunted after having their way with the Cats until this point.

Not long into the final quarter Jimmy Bartel kicked an absolute gem of a goal with a left foot snap from the left-forward pocket boundary line; absolutely no right to goal from there but we called it before he kicked it; sure enough, through it went! Bringing the Jensen family to their feet at last. Video (Bigpond only). The Cats were in front now by five points now for the first time in the game.

St Kilda pegged snatched the lead back four minutes later thanks to Ben McEvoy, the underrated player not really making the distance from forty metres out, but an inexplicably unguardedgoal-line allowing the ball to bounce through to give the Saints a one point lead.

Geelong (almost) had a lucky escape with five minutes to go; Leigh Montagna appeared to put them back in front (by then the Cats had crept up by one point due to two rushed behinds), but the goal was disallowed with a free kick paid to Harry Taylor. The Cats couldn’t get the ball past the centre-square, the ball ending up with Lenny Hayes who made no mistake once receiving the ball forty-fiveish metres out. The game looked lost for the Cats, new boy Cameron Guthrie finding out the new holding the ball interpretation the hard way (you have to make an attempt to get rid of it, even if you’ve had no prior opportunity). Fair’s fair though, the rule was soon employed the other way to equal groans from Saints supporters.

Plenty of false-starts to get that winning goal; indeed it looked like the Saints were about to bang home a sealer and put it beyond doubt, but fortunately for the Cats with two minutes to go instead of backtracking, they pushed forward instead. Riewoldt bombed long from centre-wing only for Andrew Mackie to step up and take a contested grab inside his opposition’s fifty metre arc; it seriously looked like our chance was gone though, we turned the ball over a couple times in the centre-square but got a free kick for holding the ball and Joel Corey (one of our best we should add) again turned the ball straight over.

St Kilda likewise caught it up however, Corey Enright intercepting just inside the centre-square and a frenetic chain of short-passes and handballs later, Match Duncan who bombed it inside fifty to Jimmy Bartel who had two men to beat, lost his feet but so did they; Mooney roved the ball, beat an opponent or two and found the unmarked Milburn, who teased for a second or so and slammed the ball home deep into the Ponsford Stand to the delight of I reckon about 70% of the crowd left. Video (Bigpond only) Cue comments on ‘super-sub’, etc, and you’d be right though – he is the sub and he was simply super tonight, one Thompson legacy of September 2010 we can be thankful for.

News from the radio, as we happily tweated was that there was just 19 seconds left, all the Cats had to do was ensure no cheap takeaway to the Saints and try to get a ballup. They did even better than that, winning the hitout and booting the ball down to our half-forward line where it ended up with Dan Menzel. He popped out a handball when tackled only for the siren to ring, upon which the bandaged Goddard petulantly booted the ball sky-high. Backslaps all round, it was quite a turnaround given the state they were in after the first half.

It may have been Milburn’s goal that won it for the Cats but they wouldn’t have been in that position had it not been for a miracle goal from Jimmy Bartel earlier on to give them the lead; a lead the Saints took back but Geelong regained once more with literally 19 seconds left. Milburn was fed by another veteran, Cameron Mooney, who until that point had been quite poor, especially when kicking for goal, showing there’s fight in them old dogs yet. Farren Ray was reported for his contact on Selwood, though Selwood himself gracefully said it was ‘fair play’ from Ray.

Geelong travels to Fremantle next Saturday night, while St Kilda play Richmond next Friday again at the MCG. We’re glad to be back; hope you enjoyed the match and this match report; feedback welcomed. or thecattery @ keldar . net

PS We’re loving the ‘Game Analyser’ from; now that we’re a Bigpond customer we can actually make use of it!

About Ben Jensen

Geelong fanatic back in town after a few years away.

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