AFL Round 19: Ben Jensen’s (Cats) day can’t get much worse

Ben Jensen’s day went from bad to worse; first called into a crisis meeting; soon after dropping his 3G phone into his coffee and belatedly finding out the Cats lost to the Blues.

I WAS TORN on whether to wait until I got home or to listen to this one from work.  After a hasty meeting was called and then dropping my 3G phone in a cup of coffee the decision was made for me. It was already going to be one of those ‘too much sport is barely enough’ days with the 4th Ashes test kicking off at around the same time, so I now went on a media ban and waited until I got home to watch the game on the telly. You see, this was the first day of ESPN’s Aussie Rules coverage, having picked up the pieces from Setanta Sports’ demise. At twelve quid a month it was 99P cheaper than the old but unfortunately no Blue Square Premier coverage. So after seeing Melbourne’s ‘Sammy J’ perform in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival it was upstairs to the mezzanine level to watch the Cats hopefully beat my other half’s Blues.

Geelong kicked the first two goals of the match but wouldn’t trouble the scorers again until there were four minutes to go. Matthew Stokes goaled in the opening minute and when Cameron Mooney converted a set shot from just inside fifty a few minutes later the Cats were off to a flyer. The Blues peppered the goals from that point on, the Cats twice saved by 251-gamer Darren Milburn on the last line of defence, Brendan Fevola kicking the only goal.

Mooney missed a shot from closer in, while Corey Enright and Shannon Byrnes both had attempts at goal spoiled on the line. Nick Stevens struck home with a soccer kick to a vacant goal square to snatch a two point lead with two minutes remaining and made a few bookies who gave away $4+ nervous (let alone this Geelong fan). Another one of Carlton’s draft gems Marc Murphy buried his post-siren shot deep behind the goals, giving his side a deserved 7 point lead at quarter time.

After nearly ten minutes of end to end footy with only minor scores, Simon Hogan broke the shackles, after Steve Johnson did the hard work before handpassing to Hogan who ran on from just inside fifty to goal. Mooney had a chance to stretch the lead to seven points the very next play and did so, his second goal again from a set shot just on fifty.

Kade Simpson showed Geelong fans he’s a force to be reckoned with Carlton’s first goal to answer Mooney’s, cutting the Cats’ lead to just one point. Murphy’s second goal from a not-dubious free kick in the goal square against Jimmy Bartel put the Blues in front by a goal. Earlier Chris Judd levelled the scores with an astonishing burst of speed from a stoppage that would have brought the house down had he goaled. Evidently Juddy’s been not only attending three hourly biomechanist and pilate sessions, and also bounces on trampolines, attributing this regime to now being virtually injury and niggle free for the first time in several seasons.

It was then Geelong’s skipper Tom Harley’s turn to level the scores, benefiting from a fifty metre penalty given on the wing for his first goal of the season. The only class ruckman on the field, 20-year-old Matthew Kreuzer snatched the lead back the next minute, grabbing the ball from a ballup in front of goal and confidently slamming it home through traffic. Ryan Houlihan, who this correspondent minutes earlier said was no good, made certain of a half time lead to the Blues with a goal two minutes from the main break.

The second half didn’t really start off too well for the Cats. Fev missed his early chance but then Wojcinski was spotted walking the boundary wearing trackie dacks. Not quite as obvious as showering and getting back into the suit but it appeared as though he would ‘be taking no further part in this match’ to quote Billy Birmingham as Tony Greig. But Cameron Ling, the next skipper of the side, curved back a shot to peg the lead back by a goal, another goal sparked by Johnson. Milburn still attracts plenty of boos, more so than Ricky Ponting at Headingley (where I was heading for day 2). For the uninitiated, see the Youtube video ( Simpson’s second pushed the Blues’ lead back to thirteen points. Stokes soon had his second, a tough shot ten out from the boundary forty-five metres from goal.

Joel Corey had a real good game, one of Geelong’s only midfielders to really stand up after half time as Ablett, Bartel and Ling were quiet. Mooney had a chance to answer back Fev’s second goal with a set shot about thirty metres out but could only manage a poster. Max Rooke though showed he has the right stuff with the next goal, nearly stuffing it though up as he took on three opponents to step around them and snap it high straight through the middle, Carlton’s lead now just seven points.

Again however the Blues struck back early, Heath Scotland kicking probably the best worst goal of the season, but six points don’t lie and the Cats trailed by 13 points again. Although Carlton were scoring, Tom Gillies acquainted himself well in defence. The Blues lead was less than at half time but only just, an eleven point lead at three quarter time.

Guy Pearce was deployed to the Cats coaching box for the final term however his initial move didn’t appear to have worked, as Simpson’s third goal put the Cats the better part of three goals down. The Cats came so close to being four goals down it was not funny, Milburn kicking straight into Setanta O’hAilpin but instead the ball was rushed downfield to Travis Varcoe, who missed his second set shot from on the fifty metre line. The monster from Bunyip Shane Mumford took a good grab that could have sparked something but it wasn’t to be.

Gillies took three or four bounces on the wing to get the ball deep into the forward line to Stokes, who kicked terribly for a behind from just ten metres out, but still with twelve and a half minutes to go. First year player Aaron Joseph’s second career goal put the Cats’ deficit at seventeen and too many points as it turned out. Fev ended up with for goals on a night that wasn’t great for tall forwards, Mooney two. The final margin was thirty-five points, clearly Geelong’s worst effort of the season as they went goal-less in the last quarter.

Not quite the way I expected the night to end up, listening to the not so sweet sounds of ‘We are the navy blues’ on the way to bed. Still it kept the Mrs happy!

CARLTON 3.5, 7.7, 10.10, 14.13 (97) DEFEATED
GEELONG 2.4, 5.6, 8.11, 8.14 (62)

CARLTON: Mooney 2, Stokes, Hogan, Harley, Rooke, Ling, Stokes
GEELONG: Fevola 4, Simpson 3, Murphy 2, Kreuzer, Stevens, Houlihan, Scotland, Joseph

CARLTON: Gibbs, Thornton, Judd, Russell, Bower, Murphy
GEELONG: Corey, Enright, Selwood, Harley

CARLTON: Nil on night; Mark Austin replaced by Simon Wiggins
GEELONG: Wojcinski (ankle), Milburn (ankle)

CROWD: 55,047 at MCG, Melbourne

About Ben Jensen

Geelong fanatic back in town after a few years away.


  1. Update on the phone; getting a free replacement under my insurance. But may not need it as after two hours under a desk lamp it started working again. And overnight the coffeestain on the touch screen is almost completely gone!

  2. Ben – as Rohan Connolly in today’s Age points out, the Cats have a distinct “Essendon 2001” look about them. They look physically and mentally shot. Lets hope the coaching staff and fitness people know what they are doing.

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