AFL Round 20: Amid much swearing and confusion over flirting with form, the Cats get home

Sydney v Geelong, ANZ Stadium, Saturday 15th August 2009.

Sydney are coming off annihilating a pitiful Richmond, while Geelong were comfortably beaten by Carlton. A lot of criticism has been directed the Cats’ way, especially against Gary Ablett and Steve Johnson. Be interesting to see how the team responds against tough opposition tonight.

Ablett starts up forward, and immediately marks in front of goal. His shot however hits the post. Hawkins gets infringed on by Barry in a marking contest, and kicks truly. Geelong are already looking much better than last week. It’s noticeable that they are playing on at all costs. Ablett looks good for the Cats, and Goodes is prominent for Sydney.

Discussion turns to Mike Pyke and whether Robert Walls is a fan. Turns out he is, and Pyke is Canadian. There’s no end to his insight. Steve Johnson kicks a goal around the corner. O’Loughlin takes a strong grab over Mackie and kicks Sydney’s first.

Walls points out that Tom Harley has been playing on smaller players in recent weeks. This makes sense, as he’s being doing this for the last 3 seasons. Byrnes goals for Geelong, then just before quarter-time Jesse White takes a screamer and his kick finds Moore, who goals after the siren. Good first quarter, with Geelong leading by 7 points.

The second quarter is underway, slightly more subdued than the first. After nearly 10 minutes without a goal, Mooney draws a free kick and kicks straight. O’Loughlin marks unguarded inside 50, and goals to put Sydney within 5 points. After a very patient build-up, Mackie centres the ball inside 50 for Lonergan to mark strongly and goal. Very tight game now. Geelong find Johnson, who finds Selwood, who gets collected high. Selwood goals to put Geelong 18 points up.

Brett Kirk goals for Sydney, and White is paid a mark against Scarlett and adds another. Sydney back to within 6 points. The replays show Scarlett clearly got a hand in before White marked it, however we are reminded that you can understand how the umpire would not be aware of that. We better not lose by a kick.

At half-time Geelong lead by 6 points, 6.5 (41) to 5.5 (35).

The second half begins, and Steve Johnson finds Hawkins out wide, who centres for Blake. Blake however misses a sitter and I offer helpful advice on his skills.

Why can’t we ever kick straight?

O’Loughlin finds Mattner, who goals. Sydney to within 2 points and I’m swearing a lot. Geelong are looking jittery according to the commentators. Varcoe gathers the loose ball, rides a bump and misses a sitter. Then he misses an even easier one. I’m headbutting the coffee table. Hannebery goals and Sydney hit the front.

Geelong have been upgraded from jittery to tired and worn out according to Anthony Hudson. Corey find Hawkins on the lead, who has presented well at times. He misses, Geelong trail by 2 points and I’ve lost my mind. Geelong move the ball quickly from a Sydney point, resulting in Mooney marking 25 out straight in front. Pressure kick, but he nails it and we’re back in front.

Hawkins takes a tremendous mark and goals. Geelong are 9 points up. Meanwhile Walls and Lane try strenously to get Mooney suspended for life for making the slightest contact to O’Keefe off the ball. O’Keefe’s acting is a far worse crime.

Walls adds that Geelong are flirting with their form. This is all of 3 minutes after we were told Sydney were hard to find form against. A new world record is set for the finding and flirting of form.

Mattner goals and the margin is 3 points. I hate close games.

Minutes later Byrnes roves well to kick his second. Three-quarter time arrives, with Geelong’s nose in front by 10 points. Ablett has racked up 33 disposals so far. Hope he gets criticised more often.

The final quarter starts as Ablett brilliantly shakes off Jack to goal. 16 point lead. Goodes answers for Sydney for his first. Mooney marks strongly and handpasses to Byrnes for his third. Frenetic opening to the last quarter.

Selwood kicks long where Mooney marks again and goals to put Geelong 22 points up. O’Loughlin kicks his third for Sydney. Ablett takes another great grab and finds Bartel, who just misses. Sydney find Jude Bolton on the rebound who cuts the margin to 11 points. Ablett draws a free kick from Jack, who looks out of his depth now on Gazza. Roberts-Thomson takes an excellent mark over Mooney, but his kick results in a turnover and a goal to Corey. Goodes then marks on the lead and kicks his second – 9 points the difference.

A horrendous mistake by David Johnson results in an O’Keefe goal. Margin now 4 points. There isn’t anyone I haven’t abused. Plenty of time remaining. Sydney kick to Goodes in the square but Taylor spoils well.

In time-on now, Geelong are retaining possession and look OK. Can’t be more than a minute left. Mackie passes superbly to Mooney, who marks 50m out. Geelong still 4 points up. His kick is rushed through for a point. Sydney rush it up the ground but Geelong tie it up at half-forward. The siren sounds, and Geelong win by 5 points. The final score is Geelong 13.14 (92) to Sydney 13.9 (87).

Ablett with 44 possessions was easily best afield. Corey, Bartel and Mooney excellent for Geelong, and O’Keefe and Goodes probably Sydney’s best.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, I feel a sense of elation and relief. It must have been a neutral supporter who said they enjoy the tight results. With  Geelong having 1-point, 2-point, and 5-point in the past month, I think we’ve filled our quota well and truly.

Excellent win overall, certainly the best they’ve played for four quarters for some time. If we can get Chappy and other regulars back into the team in time, we may still be a chance in September.


  1. Nice review. And Wallsy, hmmm. He’s an odd chicken at times.

  2. Nice piece. I like your work ;-)

  3. Peter Flynn says

    Walls is looking more and more like Colonel Sanders every day.
    Not a huge fan.

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