AFL Round 16: Cats too good but Walpiri Wizard delights Dees fans

By Steve Healy

It was just another day at the footy, but I had to travel much further to see the Demons play today. I woke up very early, which was quite unusual for me. I hopped on the V-Line train at Southern Cross Station, ready for a big game between Geelong and Melbourne.
Geelong is a funny old place. Every one-in-two shops says, “Proudly supporting the Geelong football club” on its window. A blue and white zebra is outside the paint shop across the road from the ground. Tom Harley is on a billboard advertising NIB.
I’ve been to Skilled Stadium twice before. Last year, and in 2002 when I was only seven. I remember standing on the Gary Ablett Terrace and not being able to see anything. I eventually stood on the bottom of the old scoreboard so I could see. Melbourne lost that game by 26 points, and players like Stephen Powell, Shane Woewodin and the late Troy Broadbridge were playing. My older brother had reserved seats, which probably weren’t worth the money that he paid. It was right in the top corner of the top level of the Southern Terrace, which looks like a temporary stand held together with huge amounts of metal poles. It’s only been there for about a year. Last year in Round 3 we sat on the bottom level.
We finally settled into our seats after my brother complained to the staff at the stadium. While we were outside we saw some players coming into the ground. I said hi to Robbo, who walked past us outside the Reg Hickey stand. The great thing about Skilled Stadium is that there underground car park from which the players get into the rooms.
I noticed a Geelong poncho on my seat. I shoved it aside and sat down. It turned out that there was some photo being taken from a helicopter to celebrate Geelong’s 150th anniversary, and obviously a poncho was provided for everyone in the stadium.
If anyone ever gets the photo, look at the top of the Southern Terrace and you’ll see a poncho-less 14-year-old standing up in a Melbourne jumper.
Geelong ran out in a celebratory jumper, which had lighter stripes that were made up of small prints of every player who played for Geelong. The Dees also ran out on to the ground, but without the cheering. Bennell was a late inclusion for Wheatley, who had only played two games back from injury and looked pretty good.
It was freezing. There was a howling wind blowing into my face for the whole game. The team kicking to the Doug Wade Stand end would clearly have an advantage. An old lady sitting next to us said that she’d sat in the same seat for years and it had never been that windy.
Geelong won the toss and got that advantage and immediately kicked the first goal. Joel Selwood kicked it from 65 and it just kept going and going with the strong wind. Mathew Stokes kicked truly for the Cats, and it only got worse for the Dees from there on. Defender Harry Taylor kicked one for the Cats from a tight angle. I was observing a well-drilled team using the wind to advantage. Another defender in Mackie, who spent a lot of the game in the forward line, kicked a goal from outside 50 and the margin was now over five goals. Chapman and Hogan kicked goals for the Cats and the score was 7.4 (46) to 0.2 (2) at quarter-time.
The Dees had barely done anything in that first quarter, but at least bald-headed Jones kept Ablett to five possessions.
Melbourne hit back, with Ricky Petterd kicking the first goal of the quarter from a set shot. Matthew Bate kicked a long goal with the breeze, giving the Dees some momentum. Ablett missed at the other end and then Jurrah did a magnificent steal in the goal square and I stood on my feet when the Walpiri Wizard ran in and banged it through the goals.
Cameron Mooney kicked his second behind for the Cats and it felt like the only thing that was keeping the Dees in the game was their kicking at goal. Ablett kicked a good goal from the pocket to bring the margin back out to six goals. Ablett tried to do the miraculous shortly after but missed to the near side. I let the crowd know about the miss. (Not that it mattered anyway.)
Mackie kicked the last goal of the quarter for Geelong and the Dees were down by 43 at half time, 9.9 (63) to 3.2 (20). It was time to get a pie, and I learnt that in Geelong they have Villa’s pies, not Four ‘N’ Twenty. It wasn’t as good.
The third quarter was about to start and I noticed Ablett was isolated with Nathan Jones in the goalsquare; it probably wasn’t a good match-up for Jones. In the opening minute, Ablett took a contested mark against Jones and popped through his second. A little while later he narrowly missed from 50 on the run. Ablett was everywhere early in the quarter.
The Dees didn’t give up, though. Dunn and Moloney kicked good goals in quick succession to bring the margin back to 44 points. Goals from Hawkins and Tenace didn’t help the Demon’s cause, but Bate managed to snaffle one at the other end. Travis Varcoe kicked the next two goals for Geelong before Morton kicked one from 30 on the siren of three quarter-time. The score was 14.13 (97) to 7.3 (45). I wanted a competitive last quarter at the least.
Brynes kicked the opening one for the Cats but the Dees managed to create some highlights. Jurrah basically leapt and stole the ball with an outstretched arm in the air, which was brilliant. He is a player like no other. Bate kicked his third from about 70 that bounced through. Morton marked on the line and snapped the ball high out of the Stadium. Morton kicked another from a set shot a few minutes later. He needs to keep playing forward; he has been out of form playing as a sweeping defender. The margin got down to 34 points and another couple of goals to the Dees would have been a good result. But Geelong got the last two and ran out winners 17.15 (117) to 11.5 (71). Ablett had 40 possessions, easily the most on the ground.
I left the ground surprised that they didn’t let patrons on the ground. Probably because of the weather.
I nearly fell asleep on the train back home.

Geelong 7.4 9.9 14.13  17.15 (117)
Melbourne 0.2 3.2 7.3 11.5 (71)
Geelong: Stokes 3, Varcoe 2, Ablett 2, Hogan 2, Mackie 2, Taylor, Tenace, Selwood, Chapman, Brynes, Hawkins.
Melbourne: Morton 3, Bate 3, Jurrah 2, Dunn, Moloney, Petterd.
Geelong: Chapman, Ablett, Selwood, Scarlett, Mackie, Stokes, Varcoe, Hogan.
Melbourne: Moloney, Green, Grimes, Jamar, Bennell, Bate.
My Votes: 3. Paul Chapman (Geel), 2. Gary Ablett (Geel), 1. Joel Selwood (Geel)
Umpires: Kennedy, Stewart, Kamolins.        Crowd: 21,160 at Skilled Stadium.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.


  1. pauldaffey says


    Nice report. Love reading about your chequered history with Kardinia Park.

    But I can’t believe that Four N Twenty pies are better than any pies. The fact that Geelong has locally baked pies at their ground is reason enough to go there.

  2. pauldaffey says

    PS. I grew up with my father telling me that Gillies’ pies in Bendigo are the best in the world. When I moved to Bendigo, I became inclined to agree with him.

    Gillies’ pies are the best.

  3. Damian Watson says

    I have never been to Kardinia Park. It’s silly how Carlton have never played at that ground since 1996. I wonder what the new Members Stand will look like.

    The best pies I have ever tasted was around the Keith and Bordertown area in South Australia. I know it sounds criminal for a Victorian to say that but they aren’t that bad.

    Not that I eat many pies.

  4. Steve Healy says

    The new stand looks like it’ll seat quite a lot of people.

    I think every Victorian club should play at Skilled. If Richmond supporters can fit in, then so can Carlton, Collingwood and Essendon. I think it would be more interesting if Geelong played all of their home games there, although i’d like a Geelong supporters opinion on that.

    When was the last time St.Kilda played at Skilled Stadium? I remember Collingwood played there in ’99.

  5. Damian Watson says

    I think the last time the Saints played down in Geelong was back in 2004 when the highly fancied Saints went down in a fairly close game. I remember Channel Nine showing it live and creating a huge build up to the clash. They both ended up as top 4 teams that year.

  6. Steve Healy says

    Yea you’re right.

    Round 18, 2004. Geelong won 15.11 101 to 15.4 94.

    I loved the days of the 1:10 games being broadcasted on 9. Bring back 9!!!!!!

  7. Danielle says

    The Last time i went to Geelong was…interesting.
    i was in year Nine and went with my school.
    We stopped at the station near the beach for a toilet break.
    In the girls toilets we were greeted by Geelong public school girls who asked my friend and I if we wanted a lollie. The phrase never take candy from a stranger had never been so clear!
    We politely said no and ran for our lives.
    Geelong is a scary place!!

  8. Damian Watson says

    Funny Story Danielle
    Intresting how they were public school kids!
    Weird breed down in Geelong.

    It would be great if we had the Sunday double-headers on Free To Air again.
    Unfortunately the current TV Rights deal prevents that and we have to wait another 3 years at least for that to happen.

  9. Steve,

    I don’t think Geelong should play all their home games at Geelong – I’d love it but I think they’ve got the mix about right at the moment. 8 games at Kardinia Park, and 3 at either the MCG or Telstra Dome.

    What I do agree with is the rotation of the visiting Victorian clubs – it’s long overdue for Collingwood, Carlton and Essendon to make the trip. It would be pretty easy to ensure the 10 Melbourne teams all make the same number of visits over a given number of years.

    If course you need an even competition for that to ever happen.

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