AFL Round 18 – Geelong v St.Kilda: Dear God, I think Podsiadly has you covered

I’m watching the 2009 Grand Final with Barry Mitchell.

So fragile were my nerves, I couldn’t take my seat behind the goals after the half time break. I needed beer and I needed to pace. As the masses returned to the arena for the second half, I stayed deep in the bowels of the MCG, moving to the TV closest to the bar. Soon enough, I had company.

I recognised Mitchell from his time at Carlton. I didn’t recognise his mate – much taller and hairless. There was no point conversing with him. He moved his index finger to his ear and mouth, gesturing that he couldn’t hear or speak. I turned my attention to Mitchell. It was early in the third quarter and I wanted confirmation that the Cats could win.

“Think they can do it, mate? The Cats any chance?” Too early to say. Mitchell was most forthright in his views that Harley was shot, that he couldn’t make the contests, that his team was carrying him. He shouldn’t be there, Mitchell said. I detected a tone of jealousy; many past greats must look at others on Grand Final Day and ask why them, and why not me.
Harley would later acknowledge he was cooked that day. He earned that second flag, though.

Deep in the third quarter, Mitchell’s mate spoke, then caught himself. Sprung – his eyes rolled; his grin was sheepish. I didn’t know who he was; although it was obvious then he possessed a healthy ego.
The three of us watched that screen deep into the fourth quarter until Chappy kicked his goal. The Cats had done it. “I have to go,” I slurred. “I have to get back to my seat.” I made it back with a few minutes to spare. The Geelong faithful rose as the siren blared. We hugged. I cried. Two flags.

* * * * *

I’m watching the 2010 series of Masterchef with my wife. I see a chef – tall and hairless. I recognise him this time. It’s Matt Moran, with plenty to say.

* * * * *

I thought of the 2009 Grand Final while watching its combatants on TV on Saturday night. A shellacking like that provides ample time for memories to surface.

Those battles between the Cats and Saints were mighty, and there was a healthy respect between supporters. Walking along the Yarra from the G after the 2009 Grand Final, Geelong fans told their St.Kilda counterparts how they wished they could have claimed their second flag against Hawthorn the previous year, so the Saints could have won that day.

Satisfaction can be found in 101-point thumpings against certain teams – Essendon; Fremantle; even Hawthorn, for mine – but not the Saints. They didn’t deserve what came their way on Saturday. Their list is full of holes; their best players are crook; their opponents, which rose with them last decade, should by all rights be declining too, not rubbing their faces in their continued ascent in this way.

There was no sign early of the belting to come. The Saints were up and about early – two big goals from Tom Lee and an inspirational long-bomb from Montagna that beat the pack for a third had them pumped.

When the skipper tackled Stevie J and put the loose ball through for another, the Saints extended their lead to 11 points. It wasn’t so much the goals but the nature of them, earned through aggression and energy, that made me think we were in for a close one.

Goals to Hawkins – who seems to be moving more freely than he had all year – and Motlop – who made amends for his earlier effort of a banana kick on the run by nailing a long set-shot – and scores are level at quarter time.

Big Simpson goes down a minute after quarter time (and when the Big Men go down, they go down hard, and there aren’t many bigger than the Beast from Barnawartha), which grants Vardy the freedom to run and compete wherever he wants. Scott Watters looked thrilled.

A big mark from Hawkins and Cats fans think forward to September; while a goal kicked from outside 50 by Varcoe has them thinking of September, 2011.

Riewoldt kicks his second and his team’s fifth goal halfway through the second quarter. It will be their last goal of the game. Geelong will go on to kick a further 15.

With the Cats up by seven goals at half time, their fans study the performance, comparing it to the best of the Swans and the Hawks – the only other teams with legitimate claims to this year’s flag.

Hawkins clutched his back after being dumped midway through the second quarter and left the ground for treatment from the physio. Cats fans were concerned, but after this Back Sack and Crack, he went on to show his first quarter form in the second half.

Podsiadly played his best game for the year. Granted, it was against an ill-equipped defence, but his form had been gradually building and it clicked tonight. His Mark of the Year was superb and immediately reminded me of Gary Ablett’s pack mark against Melbourne in the 1989 semi-final.

Click here for the footage of Gary Ablett.

(And the footage below is of the jPod on Saturday night.)

The Pod finished with two goals, Hawkins with five and Motlop, who is already compiling a superb career highlights package, with four. Motlop creates his chances through hard work – and he does it all in the number 32.

For those unsure whether Jack Steven is more than a good ordinary player, his game on Saturday night answers any doubters.

GEELONG 4.1 12.5 16.9 21.11 (137)
ST KILDA 4.1 5.1 5.5 5.6 (36)

GOALS
Geelong: Hawkins 5, Motlop 4, Selwood 3, Podsiadly 2, Varcoe 2, Johnson 2, Mackie, Vardy, Kelly
St Kilda: Lee 2, Riewoldt 2, Montagna
BEST
Geelong: Motlop, Hawkins, Selwood, Mackie, Taylor, Kelly, Vardy
St Kilda: Steven, Montagna, Hayes, Newnes

27, 200 at Simonds Stadium

VOTES: Motlop 3, Hawkins 2, Selwood 1

About Stephen Cooke

Cumbersome ruckman of the garden variety

Comments

  1. Podsiadly’s mark was very good, but still overrated; it’s a little like ‘Pet Sounds’.

  2. Matty Q says:

    I’m with Litza on the “mark of the year.” Here’s an idea everyone, how about we wait until the year (or the season) is over just to take into account the calendrical parameters of the statement. The mark was more “anything by Queen” for me.

  3. Neil Belford says:

    It’s great that the only teams with legitimate claims to this years flag are peaking in July against 15th( losses to 10th and so on notwithstanding.)

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