AFL Round 10: Skill, ability, speed, unselfishness. Cats are sensational.

by Josh Barnstable

A nice Sunday awaits me as I wake up from my sleep-in: 9:45am. Just enough time to get dressed, make a Milo and settle on the couch to watch three hours of consecutive footy replays from the weekend’s games. It’s a nice day to finish off the season of autumn, with tomorrow bringing a new season of much needed rain, cold and an end to the flies until spring hits again. It’s also a nice day to watch a bit of footy. In fact it’s always a nice day to do that. Essendon and Geelong is on the TV, the game of the round in my opinion and probably in everyone else’s opinion.

The first quarter begins and the Bombers are a good chance to snap a 9-game winning streak for the Cats. They start nicely, with Jay Neagle kicking the opening goal after a drilling pass from Jason Winderlich. The Cats go on a rampage though, kicking the next 6 goals through skill, ability, speed and unselfishness. Cameron Mooney marked inside 50, handed off to Joel Selwood who kicked the first goal for the Cats (unselfishness), Gary Ablett took a contested mark, 30m out and kicked the next one (ability), Steve Johnson marked on the boundary and made the impossible seem easy with a snap kick that curved through (skill), Cameron Ling received from Mooney and goaled (unselfishness), Shannon Byrnes ducked out of a huge pack with the ball, put it onto the boot and rolled it through (ability) and Max Rooke took a courageous mark running back towards the goalposts before slotting the goal (ability). Geelong had a healthy 33 point lead at quarter time, 6.4 to 1.1. Brent Stanton started well playing against Ablett to gather 9 touches while Heath Hocking has 8 possessions for the Bombers. For Geelong, James Bartel and Corey Enright have 8 touches each.

The second quarter began and Mooney kicked his 1st of the afternoon after marking inside 50 before Ricky Dyson ended a streak of 7 goals in a row with a 50m goal. The Cats started their streak again though, with Byrnes receiving from Mooney and kicking a goal on the run, Ling bombing away from 50m out to kick a goal, Johnson marking in the goalsquare for another, Ablett gathering the ball and kicking a running goal and finally Mooney took a strong mark and with the straightest kick you’ll ever see, he extended the margin out to 65 points. A late goal from Neagle reduced the margin to 60 points at half time, 3.1 to 12.7. Enright is up to 20 touches for the Cats while Selwood is on 17 possessions. For the Bombers, Bachar Houli is on 18 disposals while Stanton is on 14 touches.

The third quarter began and Johnson kicked the opening goal after taking an uncontested mark. Hocking kicked a long goal to reduce the margin to 62 points before Selwood gathered the ball from a hit-out, took 2 bounces and goaled from 5m out. The Johnson clinic then opened. He gathered from a hit-out to snap a goal, then received a free kick and goaled. A goal to Hocking reduced the margin to 76 points before Johnson booted his 4th goal of the quarter after marking strongly, taking the three quarter time margin out to 82 points, 17.13 to 5.3.

The final quarter got underway and Mark McVeigh marked and kicked a long goal to start the quarter. Then big youngster Cale Hooker kicked a mammoth 65m goal that was shepherded through by Matthew Lloyd, Hooker’s first goal in his career. Mooney ended rare consecutive goals for Essendon, marking and kicking a goal to take the margin back out to 77 points. Lloyd got on the end of an errant Darren Milburn kick and converted and then Stanton gathered and goaled. Hooker’s quarter had everything. He kicked his 1st goal in AFL, floated through the forward line minutes later to take a mark and kick a behind and, on the last line of defence for the Bombers, he clearly threw the ball after being tackled, straight into Travis Varcoe’s hands who ran in and kicked a goal. Andrew Lovett found himself running towards the goalsquare with the ball and he vented his frustration by slamming the ball into the crowd flooded with Geelong supporters. He apologized for hitting a fan with the ball. I know it may have caused one supporter to have a headache but I found it quite amusing. It was one messy case of the shot hitting the fan (Haha get it?) Neagle then ran into an open goal and showed Lovett what to do; kick the ball high into the top deck. Mooney finished the afternoon with a free kick and his 4th goal to take the final winning margin for Geelong out to 64 points, 20.14.134 to 11.4.70. Selwood finished with a massive 37 disposals for the Cats while Ablett and Shannon Byrnes ended up on 30 possessions each. For the Bombers, Houli finished with a career-high 31 disposals while Hocking played a fine game, picking up 23 touches and kicking 2 goals.

Well the Cats have beaten off another challenger, and on this occasion, not just beaten off but flogged and tossed aside. It doesn’t get any harder for Geelong, with a trip to Perth for the clash against West Coast next Sunday. In the last two matches those two have played against each other, the Cats won by 99 points in Round 22 last year and a 135 point win in Round 13 to Geelong as well, a combined margin of 234 points in two games of football. That is outstanding. I will be interested to hear the results of that game. For the Bombers, they host the Adelaide Crows on Sunday. I am having second thoughts about the Round 14 clash between Geelong and St Kilda. Previously I thought St Kilda would win but, after a couple of shaky weeks for the Saints and the Cats having seen off two contenders to the premiership, I think the Cats will beat St Kilda and not lose again for the rest of the year, including finals. I will bet my house on that.

Essendon 1.1—3.1—5.3—11.4.70

Geelong 6.4—12.7—17.13—20.14.134


Essendon-Neagle 3, Hocking 2, Stanton, Lloyd, Lovett, Dyson, Hooker, McVeigh

Geelong-Johnson 6, Mooney 4, Ling 2, Ablett 2, Selwood 2, Byrnes 2, Varcoe, Rooke


Essendon-Hocking, Houli, Neagle, Hooker

Geelong-Selwood, Johnson, Byrnes, Enright, Ablett, Mooney, Ling, Scarlett


48,852 at Etihad Stadium


3 Votes: Joel Selwood (G)

2 Votes: Steve Johnson (G)

1 Vote: Shannon Byrnes (G)

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