AFL Round 21: Another thriller, and the Bulldogs win

It was my brother’s birthday. Dinner was followed by cake and then the presents came out. The time wasn’t on my side. Luckily, I made it on to the couch just in time to see the game between the Bulldogs and Geelong.

Cameron Ling wins the toss in his 200th game and points towards the Coventry end. The game gets underway. The Cats look good. Rooke takes a beautiful mark and the ball ends up with Taylor, who converts his fifth goal of his career from 50. The Bulldogs begin to flood back so space can open up in the middle. First it is to no avail, but eventually Picken passes superbly to Hahn who kicks a goal. The Dogs open the game up. Higgins hits the woodwork but great goals from Gilbee and Hill put them 19 points ahead. The in-form Brynes replies for Geelong and Hawkins goes back from outside 50 (for perhaps the first time of his career) and sticks it through. The teams’ trade a couple of behinds each before Welsh hits the post from the goal square and Boyd hits the post as well. At quarter time, it’s the Bulldogs by three, 3.5 23 to 3.2 20. The margin should probably be more. Cooney and Giansiracusa have nine possessions each for the Bulldogs and Corey leads with nine for Geelong.

The second quarter begins and the Dogs miss a couple of chances. Cooney bursts through the pack and snaps a goal, after eight consecutive behinds from both sides. Murphy drills a pass to Hill who kicks his second. The Cats can’t hit the target from kick-ins, which is a worry. The Cats finally clear, and when they do the space opens up through the middle. Mooney kicks an easy goal and from the clearance he marks and kicks another. The Cats are back in it. Murphy hits the post for the fifth time in a half for the Dogs (must be a record) but Boyd and Welsh kick good goals to open up a worrying 20-point lead at half time, 7.12 54 to 5.4 34. Boyd and Cooney have 15 touches each for the Bulldogs and Ablett and Ling have 17 and 16 touches respectively.

The third quarter begins and the Bulldogs continue their onslaught. Ward goals and a clever Eagleton pass sees Murphy kick one. It looks shocking for Geelong, but we’ve seen them come back before. Hawkins gets a 50 against Lake which gifts him his second goal. Gamble marks strongly on the line and snaps through another to get them within three goals. Akermanis senses the occasion by kicking a goal. Ablett hit Hawkins on the lead, who kicked another. Mumford went forward and took a strong mark and kicked an incredible goal which somehow swung through. Mooney marks and kicks another one. Stokes runs to 50 and kicks a brilliant long goal to put Geelong in front. The crowd is alive and the three quarter time siren sounds. It all fell apart so quickly for the Dogs. 10.12 72 to 11.9 75 is the score. I prepared myself for a great last quarter. I have a look at the possession-getters. Cooney has 20, Hargrave 19 and Ablett has a huge 30 for Geelong.

The last quarter begins and the Bulldogs lift their game. Johnson marks in his least favourite pocket but kicks a good goal from a tight angle to snatch the lead. The Cats immediately get the clearance and Brynes runs into goal and drills it home. Boyd replies with a simple goal for the Bulldogs. Selwood puts Geelong back in front. This could go down to the wire again, like in round 9, I thought. Johnson answers for the Bulldogs. Despite the efforts of Ablett, Corey, Selwood and Bartel the Bulldogs edge ahead. Cooney replies with a brilliant clearance and goal, and Hill beats Gillies in a one-on-one contest and strolls in to an open goal to kick the Bulldogs’ eighth consecutive goal. Mooney misses a crucial one but then snaps a goal with goal over two minutes left on the clock. It’s only eight points. The Bulldogs wind down the clock and Higgins marks on the siren and kicks a goal to seal a 14-point victory. 16.14 110 to 14.12 96. Another great game in 2009.

Cooney lead with 29 possessions for the Bulldogs, Ablett had 40 for Geelong and Corey had 39. Ablett now breaks the record of most 40+ possession games in a season with six, breaking Greg Williams’ five in 1985. Corey also had a career high possession game for the second week in a row.

The Bulldogs did well to win; they had less inside 50’s and 65 less possessions than Geelong. They were also without two of their best midfielders, Cross and Griffen. Williams also didn’t play with a foot injury. Chapman’s injured Hamstring is a bad sign for Geelong. The Bulldogs confirm a top four spot with the win; all is looking true for the red, white and blue.

Western Bulldogs  3.5  7.12  10.12 16.14 (110)
Geelong  3.2  5.4  11.9  14.12 (96)

Western Bulldogs: Hill 3, Johnson 2, Boyd 2, Cooney 2, Hahn, Higgins, Gilbee, Welsh, Ward, Murphy, Akermanis.
Geelong: Mooney 4, Hawkins 3, Brynes 2, Selwood, Taylor, Gamble, Stokes, Mumford.

Western Bulldogs: Boyd, Johnson, Cooney, Hill, Eagleton, Lake, Harbrow.
Geelong: Ablett, Corey, Selwood, Ling, Bartel, Mooney, Brynes, Scarlett.

My Votes: 3. Matthew Boyd (WB), 2. Gary Ablett (Geel), 1. Joel Corey (Geel).

Umpires: Vozzo, S Ryan, Jeffery.                   Crowd: 46,818 at Etihad Stadium.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

Leave a Comment