2013 Geelong’s to lose

We Can Win This.

A phrase coined by John Harms some time last year. I didn’t think he believed it. I thought he said, wrote, published it to stir emotions – for and against Geelong.

Later in the season, I believed he meant it. After Hawkins kicked the winning goals against the Hawks in round 19, I believed him. I still think we should have won it if we turned up 30 minutes earlier against Fremantle in the first final.

It’s 10 minutes into the first quarter of the first round of the NAB Cup. I like what I see. We can win this. I taped the game earlier. I don’t even know if we’ll win this game against West Coast. Or the next truncated game against Freo. But I know we’ll win this year’s Grand Final in September.

We are a good side. And we know how to win. Geelong supporters now enter each season with confidence that we can win it all. We didn’t gain that confidence after 2007. Or even 2009. That came after 2011: a Grand Final that we would have been happy just to make, in a former life. Winning a Grand Final that wasn’t a breakthrough or redemptive, meant that we can enter a season and win them because they are there.

The 2013 Cup is there for grabs. And it’s ours. Sorry Malthouse, I read today that the Blues can win  it if the planets and the stars align. Nice caveat, but we don’t need those at Geelong.

I like that we have Josh Caddy in our side. But mostly, I like that he’s a very good young player that’s expected to contribute as a a very good young player. He’s not expected to dominate like a first round draft pick at Melbourne or the Gold Coast.

And I love Jared Rivers. He’s clever. When there’s a smart option, he’ll have taken it before most know it was available. Most of his work this year will go unnoticed.

Billy Smedts played last year. I can’t wait to watch him again this year. He will be something. I don’t know exactly what, (I’m sure he doesn’t know either) but it will be something; like Stevie J would have been something when he started.

Bartel played injured all last year; Varcoe didn’t play all last year injured. Both looked sharp tonight. (Bartel 2007 sharp; Varcoe 2011 sharp.)

NB: This West Coast side is weak. Once again, the sort of side that will fill space in the Top 8/possible Top 4 all year before embarrassing themselves and their fans in a preliminary final. To prove my point, no team with a hipster in defence will ever go on to win a flag. And yet there’s Schofield.

NB: I was enjoying the game. We were dead and buried. Then we won (because we do these days). And we won because our captain was clever enough to call for the footy outside the 50 and skilful enough to thread the goal posts from there off two steps under pressure.

Game Two: Pav’s in the commentary box. It’s all about the structures, says Pav. Lord help us, but specifically, may the Lord help Freo fans, forced to watch a team enthusiastic about the structures. (That’s not the Geelong way.)

Pav just told Gerard Healy he’s keen to play soon in what will be his first game since he cemented his super star status in the first week of the finals last year when he tore Geelong a new A-Hole. (Word just in from Google: Pav also played against Adelaide the following week but did not get a touch – my apologies for an honest mistake.)

Some turkey clad in purple just had a crack at Joel Corey. I don’t know who the player was, but he wasn’t Joel Corey. Joel Corey plays the game as it should be played (unlike Freo).

Into the second half, this game is a lot less enjoyable to watch than the first against West Coast. Geelong certainly looks tired, having played their first 40 minutes of the year in warm conditions, but I blame Ross Lyon and his game plan.

It’s going to be a long year for Freo fans and equally those fans watching their teams against Freo. Congestion in defence is ugly footy, and it won’t be premiership footy for the Dockers.

About Stephen Cooke

Cumbersome ruckman of the garden variety


  1. Nice wrap. I love pre-season optimism. A couple of years ago Hawthorn rested half their team and sent Box Hill over to play Freo and WC. They just missed beating the Eagles and thrashed Freo but this wasn’t the watershed moment for these kids – Jordan Williams kicked 2 goals but never played a real game and got delisted.

    I want to see Billy Smedts grow a mo to match his old man Alby in the 1978 Scanlens footy cards.

    I also remember a scene from the 1980 movie The Club which went a bit like this:-

    Jack Dyer – They’re March Champions

    Lou Richard – What’s a March Champion Jack?

    Jack Dyer – They’re players who come down in March and look great in the pre-season but then you don’t ever see them again.

    …..hang on, this is still February. At least we know what a great guide to season success is when based on NAB Cup performances.

    Geelong will be somewhere abouts the top this year – particularly if Vardy and Menzel can contribute – as will Freo and WC, but I don’t think the premier will come from this lot.

  2. David Downer says

    There is still a tender innocence in your inflammatory baiting, Cookie

  3. Cookie – well balanced and thoughtful summary. I’m not a fan of Rivers. Hope he proves me wrong. The 1st month if the seson proper will be a good guide this year.

    PS. – the Pies are gone.

  4. My dear friends, love the optimism, a special kind of Geelong optimism, and unfortunately, it’s too often (of late) correct. Nevertheless, there are no babies on the horizon that can align the planets completely so we’ll all have to wait and see. About babies and premierships.

    Have a great season, but may the Saints season be greater.


  5. Phil Dimitriadis says

    The heat has gotten to you hasn’t it Cookie?

  6. Andrew Fithall says

    I think I overheard some Freo players referring to Geelong as “Freo’s bunny”.

  7. Yeah. Went to the game(s) last night and came away thinking that’s it, Cats will win the flag.

    This AFL season will be like a Black Caviar race… I wouldn’t be surprised if Geelong are unbeaten.

  8. Some scattered thoughts.

    Young Smedts, unsure if his mo will match his dads, but Geelong fans would hope he has amore polished career than Alby did

    . Do Freo own Geelong ? Hmm, Dockers have beaten them 3-0 since Ross Lyon took over. Could they end up owning Geelong, similarly to how Hawthorn did for many years, 1971 onward.

    All will be revealed.


  9. Neil Anderson says

    Love your cheeky optimism Cookie. You sure got the Almanac ball rolling.
    I watched the Bulldogs to check out the new recruits and hoped they would put on a good show, particularly for membership reasons.
    I’m trying to blot out most of it three days later, but I can vaguely remember our two most skillful players, Boyd and Murphy directing bullit-like passes to the opposition.
    It was shortly after that I saw Liam Picken line up on Dustin Fletcher as a pretend fullforward. It was about that time I went into a foetal position.
    Thank God for the Almanac which made me get up off the floor and use the keyboard.

  10. Peter Flynn says

    We are definitely Freo’s bunny.

    Where would Geelong ever have supremacy over Fremantle?

    Where is Hasleby at the minute?

    Tim Rogers as Mick Jagger today did a mighty good job.

  11. Imagine that! Geelong being a long way short of good enough to beat Fremantle!
    Who’d have thought it? And a dodgy supergoal to beat the average Eagles.
    Just as well it’s only the pre-season.I can see the Cats losing a lot of games this year

  12. Great work Cookie, had similar thoughts while watching the Pies on Friday night. We are all full of hope and confidence this time of year. Just hope the planets and stars don’t align for Mick and his Blues.

  13. Neil Belford says

    Ah Geelong – Ahh Geelong supporters. the years in the wilderness are gone, the certainty is there. Reality has no effect. Another loss to Freo, another dickhead act by a Geelong player and it is still somehow a problem for Freo. I dont think I have ever seen a side go into season with such a curiously high level of supporter optimism. It is an odd year, but I dont think in itself that is enough.

  14. Andrew Starkie says


    headline put me off. didn’t read piece. waste of 3 mins of my life. doesn’t deserve a response.

  15. Neil – Johnno is officially an idiot. Fancy coping a week for hitting Ballantyne! He should have hit a good player. Now he misses the Hawks clash in round one. Idiot.

    PS – the Pies are gone.

  16. Dips, You have the Dockers in Round 14 with the Hawks the following week at the MCG. How do you reckon your VFL side will go against the Hawks?
    Your senior team will be out for the rest of the season on a gang assault charge if Ballantyne lines up.
    I suggest Chris Scott bring Scarlo back for a ‘farewell appearance’ in Round 14. He can be your “Vice President in Charge of Going to Jail”.

  17. Neil Belford says

    Hey Cookie, Dips – I’ve seen through your cunning 1 – 2 strategy. You are trying to to get better odds on Hayden for the Norm Smith.

  18. Looking forward to the thoughts of those Blues fans who thought (about 2 hours ago) that pre-season form counts for little.

  19. After a great win yesterday, this post, or at least it’s title, needs another airing.

  20. We can win this

  21. Peter Flynn says

    Geelong has to procure Ballantyne on a lucrative three-year deal.

    I’d still disapprove of his annoying tommy rot.

    What a Martin!

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