Cats trust themselves in September spotlight

Trust. A very important thing in life, and also a very important thing in football. I’ve trusted a lot of people, and trusted North Melbourne a bit too much sometimes, and its been thrown back in my face. This week, many of my friends and I faced a difficult task of trusting a wayward mate, his situation getting out of control and the trust we held for him being severely shaken and rattled. That trust is almost gone. Its been a turbulent week, for this reason only. It’s the only thing I can think about, and when it leaves my mind it soon hits back with such a force that I’m stuck with it for the next few hours at least.

Another week down, one more week to go, regarding school that is. The holidays are almost here, and I’m loving the weather. The deep smell of spring, the warmth from the sun, the greenness of the grass and the colours of the trees. This is THE season, Spring. Spring indicates finals footy, the time of the year that the sun shines, and that the real, strong teams that are serious about that premiership, they shine as well.

Shining brightly on the MCG for the first time in 2010 were the Fremantle Dockers. Full of buzzing youngsters, youth and enthusiasm, with a few old heads in the ranks. Des Headland came into the side for the first time since Round 4, replacing Jesse Crichton, while Aaron Sandilands completed his warm-up in a tracksuit top and struggled to get out of a jog. Definitely not fit.

Geelong ran out with a rapture of applause, 20 Cats players wanting to atone for the loss from the previous week and two Geelong players, James Podsiadly and Tom Lonergan, wanting to keep their spot that they regained for this match. Actually found out a story about Lonergan in English today. My English teacher used to get around with Lonergan in their youth, she confessed to this today.

The game got underway and Joel Selwood got off to the best possible start after last week’s shocker, earning the first free kick of the game and then drifting forward to gather at a stoppage and dribble through the first goal of the evening.

Shannon Byrnes got onto the end of a long Cam Mooney kick and rammed home another one, before Podsiadly marked and kicked his 5th goal at the MCG in his 5th game there. Mathew Stokes marked and looked hesitant about shooting for goal from outside 50. He wheeled around and booted it long, and it went straight through the middle. Steve Johnson almost nailed the door shut, causing a turnover in the midfield before running forward and kicking the goal on the run.

David Mundy handballed to Matthew Pavlich at close quarters, and the surprised Pav, still figuring out why the ball was in his hands, kicked long for goal from 50m and it sailed through for the Dockers’ first. Nathan Fyfe was running around with one side of his leg resembling that of a smurf, but not even that could inspire the Dockers (don’t know why it would inspire them actually) as Podsiadly goaled from a free kick against Luke McPharlin.

The margin was 30 points, and David Wojcinski felt like going for a run. So he gathered the ball, and ran, and ran. He ran along the wing, bouncing the ball at full tilt, and kicked long towards goal from 60m out, watching the ball clip Mooney’s hands on its way through the goals. The goal umpire signaled a six-pointer, and Geelong were up and about. Mooney was involved again, carefully and skillfully centering a ball from the boundary line, snapping around his shoulder to find Tom Hawkins as the siren sounded. Tomahawk kicked the goal and the Cats led by seven goals at the first break. Game over.

Podsiadly increased that margin after another stinging run by Wojcinski, but it was Fremantle that would score back-to-back majors through Michael Walters, who impressed all with his dash and run. Johnson snapped a trademark goal from the boundary line, before Chris Mayne went up in a pack and came down with the ball, taking a very good mark and he converted his opportunity from the goalsquare. Podsiadly seemed to injure himself just before half time, and that would keep Mark Thompson and the fitness staff at Geelong scratching their heads going into the main break, leading by 41 points.

The smurf started the second half in good fashion, crumbing and snapping a good goal before Wojcinski continued his great performance with a major from 45m out. Pavlich took a good mark and booted his second, cutting the margin back to 38 points, but Jimmy Bartel gathered at the back of a pack and rammed through his first. A long inside 50 entry from Mundy saw Walters mark uncontested and run into an open goal, and the faintest sliver of hope was shining for Fremantle. They wasted opportunities though, and Cam Ling didn’t waste his, for the second week in a row. He goaled on the run from 45m out, a beautiful kick, and this time the six points were put up on the scoreboard for Geelong. Mooney added to it, marking uncontested in the goalsquare and extending the lead out to 50 points as both sides retreated for the last break.

Everyone could tell Sandilands wasn’t fit. He was at best 50% going into the game, and he gradually deteriorated throughout the match. Evidence of this was when Brad Ottens ran forward, unopposed, and marked 20m out from goal with Sandilands lingering around in the midfield still. Usually it’s the other way around. Ottens goaled, then Johnson booted his third as the margin was stretched out beyond 10 goals. Paul Duffield showed his kicking prowess, splitting the middle from outside 50, but some classic premiership football along the wing, with Geelong players linking up perfectly, ending in a Stokes goal from the goalsquare, and the margin was 61 points again. Pavlich marked strongly and kicked his third, before Geelong ran away with it, Paul Chapman marking from an unselfish Bartel kick. Chapman goaled, then out of the centre the Cats won the ball forward, where Johnson cleverly gave a no-look handball to Travis Varcoe, and the Cats had another up on the board. Stokes quickly added another, curling through his third, a late goal again to Pavlich reducing the final winning margin to 69 points, 20.15.135 to 10.6.66.

Under the bright lights of the foreign MCG, the young Dockers tried valiantly, but couldn’t break the strong armour of the Geelong Football Club. They belong in the Grand Final, that is their place. Whether they feel like they deserve to be there depends to be seen. It depends on trust for one another.

Geelong 8.1—10.7—14.13—20.15.135

Fremantle 1.1—4.2—7.6—10.6.66


Geelong-Stokes 3, Johnson 3, Podsiadly 3, Wojcinski 2, Selwood, Byrnes, Hawkins, Bartel, Ling, Mooney, Varcoe, Chapman, Ottens

Fremantle-Pavlich 4, Walters 3, Duffield, Fyfe, Mayne


Geelong-Bartel, Wojcinski, Selwood, Johnson, Ablett, Kelly, Ling, Stokes, Enright

Fremantle-Mundy, Pavlich, Johnson, Duffield, Walters


45,056 at the MCG


3: Jimmy Bartel (G)

2: David Wojcinski (G)

1: David Mundy (F)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. John Butler says:

    Good work Josh

    Fastest reporter in the North once again. :)

    The Sandilands issue begs the eternal question, is there really any point playing unfit players in finals?

  2. Great article, Josh.

    Though I would argue Wojcinski deserves the three votes, as his pace destroyed the Dockers when there was still a contest. Jimmy Bartel capitalised on a dead game when the Dockers had given up.

    Too right, JB. There are a few coaches (Bomber being one of them) who infuriate me with their stubborness. There are players who they insist on playing, regardless of form or injury. Sandilands should never have been out there, as a less skilled player who could at least keep up with Otto would have been better than the world’s tallest witch’s hat.

    At the Cattery, the farce of the Max Rooke saga has boiled my blood all season. Rookey is in my top 5 players, or close to it, I love the bloke, but there is NO WAY he should even have been a blip on the radar or finals contention after playing only one game (and playing it poorly) early on in the season. The insistance of retaining Hawkins at the expense of Blake is another instance that reeks of Bombers’ personal preference.

    My advice to coaches: better to take a fit player than a reputation into a match. Only one can lay a tackle.

  3. Susie – I’m a Cats supporter but I don’t agree with your Blake over Hawkins argument. Both are playing ordinary football. Blake is good in the ruck but has no idea what “defense” means and never pushes himself. At least Hawkins takes a few grabs. If I had to toss a coin I would play neither. If I had to toss it again I would play Hawkins.

  4. Peter Flynn says:

    Hawkins will play. Blake will not.

    Hawkins will play because of the Jolly gibe.

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