AFL Round 7 – Geelong v Essendon: Geelong Time.



John Burke’s original Footy Record from the game. Click the image to enlarge.

 It is an unseasonably warm Friday evening. The aridity of the desert breeze influences the mind. Momentarily, I daydream of hiking in Pindan country. In reality, I am gently kicking fallen autumn leaves in the Flagstaff Gardens heading towards Etihad Stadium.

There is much anticipation about tonight’s clash. And, of course, indelible memories of watching Ablett take on Essendon. It is nearly two decades to the day that he bagged a lazy 14.7. One outrageous goal stays with me. Opposing Hird, Ablett reads the bounce and boots a right-foot 40 metre banana kick. The ball follows a Lee Trevino six-iron trajectory away from the goals. Yet it still bisects the big sticks.

Then there is the eponymous ’89 Preliminary Final. Early on, the free-spirited genius (ignoring Blight’s positional instructions) extravagantly sells the dummy to a hapless Paul Hamilton to kick the first of eight goals. Later, after Ablett snares a one-hander, Dennis Cometti utters, “That’s not a mark. That’s a party trick.”

There are many old mates to imbibe with pre-match. Dom, Wally, C. Little and I review our bucket lists (the Kentucky Derby is high up) and raise potential ‘fitty-fitty’ candidates. Pal, Longy, PD and I talk about Augusta. PD and I giggle about the night I nearly gave Doug Sanders a putting lesson.

Essendon come out resembling a bunch of Gigantors and Voltrons. They have real pep in their step.

In these days of supposed jumper clashes, Geelong rarely dons the navy shorts. They do tonight. It’s as comforting as Mum’s Sunday night banana custard.

A coin toss takes place under the roof. Why? It is as pointless as Shane Watson taking guard in a Test match.

Pal and I crack the Friday night alcohol conundrum. He guzzles cider. In tune with Sam Pang’s less-is-more-as-I-get-older-drinking-at-the-football-philosophy, I lob for ‘shiraz’ presented in a sealed plastic vessel.

For some strange reason, the ‘shiraz’ perhaps, I recall how much Darren Bewick used to annoy me. The prospect of chewing on an oleander sandwich was infinitely more preferable than suffering a Bewick goal and celebration.

Pinpoint Geelong passing jolts me back to the present. Blicavs boots Geelong’s first. The Steeplechaser will win the Brownlow in Geelong’s 2019 premiership year. Early doors, Johnno cracks Essendon’s midfield and defence with trademark creativity. The increasingly valuable opposition negator Taylor Hunt cracks his collarbone.

Pal asks who number 40 is for Geelong. “Thurlow, the new Enright” I reply. He belongs.

Many Cats seem rejuvenated by fulfilling a different role. Bartel plays down back and performs the kicking out duties with precision and coolness. A fit and totally committed Stokes, who could be leading the Carji at the minute, covers ground and racks up possessions at will. Stokesy chest-marks a Bartel kick and converts an important first-quarter goal.

The game settles into a tug-of-war between the 50 metre arcs. Down back, Lonergan, Taylor and Enright continually exhibit their mastery of the timely spoil. Mackie provides the glue.

Up forward, Motlop exhibits more toe than a Roman sandal to kick a contender for behind of the year. Motlop in full flight gives the same sensory effects as touching a charged Van de Graaff generator. When held up, Motlop coolly bides his time, employing the cat-and-mouse tactic of touching the ball on the ground while assessing when to explode away. Anna Meares would approve.

Geelong’s first goal of the second quarter starts with a perfectly-weighted Bartel pass to the Pod who wheels around and kicks long to Hawkins one-out who snaps a clever goal. Hawkins moves like he has a catheter.

The world suddenly becomes a crappy place. The ‘shiraz’ queue is 25 metres long. Essendon dominate all the metrics and kick four goals on the trot (one freakily kicked by Paul Salmon).

Geelong is losing the clearances and begins to employ the ‘long bomb’. A good tactic if Snake Baker is the focal point. Against the tide, Johnno’s influence is still profound, marking a la Royce Hart and handballing over his head at every opportunity.

Close to half-time, as has become de rigueur, Geelong begins to claw their way back.

It’s Geelong time.

Geelong time has its basis in belief, flamboyance, hardness, will-to-win and trust in your teammate.

Stokes, after chest-marking a Bartel torp, finds the Pod who kicks to a contest. Duncan roves the pack and brings the margin back to 15 points. Duncan is as certain to kick a goal as Wayne Swan is to produce a budget deficit.

Selwood kicks a skipper’s goals. Soon after, Lonergan sneaks down forward to take a towering mark. He converts. The Pod and Stokes (odd) coupling is prominent during Geelong’s fightback. Thurlow must be thinking how long has this been going on? Motlop reveals such a vertical spring that I reckon he could emulate C.B. Fry and leap from a stationary position backwards onto a mantelpiece.

The Cats grab the half-time lead after the siren thanks to Jordan Schroder, another of Wells’s weanlings,

In the engrossing third quarter, Geelong’s pressure creates turnovers for their small forwards to pounce. Essendon respond by playing herring-bone football. Smedts, now playing with greater assurance and poise, finds ‘Carji’ Stokes who kicks his second.

Johnno risks a 50 metre penalty by launching a 30 metre quarterback throw to free-kick recipient Watson. Watson does not have to move. It is so Johnno. His richly connected left- and right-brain hemispheres are on full display tonight.

When Motlop gets the ball, he can make football look like a cartoon. Napkin-wearing Essendon coyotes zero in on Motlop, threateningly brandishing an oversized knife and fork. Motlop simply looks, pokes his tongue out, utters ‘meep meep’ and vanishes in a puff of smoke. He snaps another contender for behind of the year.

Geelong’s efficiency matches Essendon profligacy (a run of 1.13) in front of goal. Lonergan goals after taking another pack mark. Stokes pickpockets an errant handball and converts to bookend a brilliant term.

Kelly nails Goddard in a passage of play that ends with Smedts goaling from 50 metres. The consensus is that his bump will be looked at. Dennis Denuto’s advocacy should be sufficient to get him off.

Geelong plays with freedom in the last quarter. Bartel dobs torps, Bundy and others handball to voices, Johnno handballs over his head into open space and Enright is always in the right place. The Steeplechaser opens Geelong’s last quarter account. Bartel sneaks down forward to intercept an errant kick and goal.

Enright, whose standing in the game has seemingly enhanced appreciably between game number 249 and 250, instigates the most unforgettable passage of play. In response to either Johnno’s voice, waddle or just simpatico, Boris fires out a 20 metre handball seemingly without looking. The ball’s trajectory perfectly meets Johnno moving at full pace down the flank. Johnno crosses the ball like Beckham to find Smedts lace out directly in front. The consensus from a few people with football nous is that this passage of play is bullshit!

High fives are exchanged. The busty (we think) mother of six standing near us can barely contain her excitement.

Geelong kick 17 goals and Essendon kick 11 goals. Not much more than Ablett and Salmon did in 1993. Much has changed in 20 years. With Geelong, it’s now rejoicing about the collective rather than eulogising over the individual.

In the 1970’s the Dutch adopted a philosophy of total football where players were equipped to play in any position on the ground.

Geelong is laying a similar foundation today.


Geelong           2.2 7.7 13.9 17.11 (113)

Essendon         2.5 6.9 7.18 11.19 (85)


Geelong: Stokes 3, Smedts, Blicavs, Hawkins, Lonergan 2, Christensen, Bartel, Schroder, Selwood, Duncan, Motlop

Essendon: Myers, Gumbleton 2, Davey, Goddard, Hocking, Hibberd, Hurley, Crameri, Bellchambers


Geelong: Johnson, Motlop, Stokes, Podsiadly, Enright, Lonergan, Smedts, Taylor, Bartel

Essendon: Watson, Zaharakis, Hocking, Bellchambers, Hibberd

Umpires: Stevic, Rosebury, Ryan Official crowd: 53,014

Our Votes: 3 Johnson (Geel) 2 Motlop (Geel) 1 Stokes (Geel)


  1. P Flynn

    Loving the observations re various – especially Johnno, Boris, S. Motlop.

    In that premiership side you mention I think young Murdoch will play a running, high-flying Royce Hart centre half forward role (and finish second in the Brownlow).

    Great time to be part of Geelong Time.


    PS Am amused that you and Bruce are starting to think along similar lines. He made a similar observation re Total Fudball if my middle-of-the-night memory serves me correctly.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Oleander sandwich. Brilliant!

    The coin toss/Shane Watson analogy too. Great, very funny report.

    Hats off to Geelong for rejuvinating their list with some great young players while still playing an entertaining brand of footy. And never letting the premiership window shut along the way.

  3. Flynn the Eloquent. My highlight was Selwood chasing down 3 Essendon players on the wing when the game was in the balance. The dogged little bugger refused to let the Bombers get the ball away, so he tackled and hassled them like a pissed bloke at a night club spotting 3 girls dancing around their handbags until he forced the ball over the line.

  4. Andrew Fithall says

    Enjoyable read as always PJF.

    I do have one question. “The busty (we think) mother of six standing near us can barely contain her excitement.” Does the bracketed “we think” refer to the bustiness or to the number of children?


  5. Lord Bogan says

    “Essendon come out resembling a bunch of Gigantors and Voltrons. They have real pep in their step.” Gold Flynny

  6. Stephen Cooke says

    Anna Meares would approve. Perfect.

  7. Paul Daffey says

    Top report, Flynny. (Say hit to Pal.)

    The most telling observation for mine is Johnno’s (does anyone call him Johnno?) audacious 30-metre quarterback throw to Watson.

    Much can be learnt between plays.

  8. David Downer says

    Aridity, “eponymous”, Sunday night banana custard, Pal drinking cider, Van De Graaf generators.

    Crikey, how long has this been goin’ on for??

    This article is “hiking in Pindan country” hot.

  9. haiku bob says

    I think I’m falling in love with Geelong.
    (I fell in love with you a long time ago Flynny).


  10. Flynny – beautiful work great man. The biggest surprise in this article is that you were drinking Shiraz!… the footy! Was it a house red or a vintage drop?

    You should have left the second last paragraph out. It gives away our secrets.

  11. Peter Flynn says

    JTH, Me and Bruise. A worry. I was thinking about the Total football analogy over the weekend and then Eff me I heard Bruce make it when I watched the replay.

    Cheers Luke, LB, Cookie and DD.

    Emmy Q: Good pick up. I omitted my crappy description of the Selwood frenzy. Your description is a ripper. Cheers.

    AF: Crafty bracket positioning. We think she had six kids there.

    Cheers Daff. Will do. He threw that while running downfield away from Watson. I was astonished. I just shook my head and sipped the ‘shiraz’.

    Cheers HB, not long until Stockholm Great Man. What grog has Annika ordered for her birthday?


  12. Peter Flynn says

    Cheers Dips.

    The ‘shiraz’ wasn’t all that flash.


  13. “The consensus from a few people with football nous is that this passage of play is bullshit!”

    Brilliant. Even Lethal sounded like he was in disbelief at that piece of play.

    I remember Enright firing out one an even better one that that back in 2002, the night the Kittens ran rings around teh Swans on the SCG. Eade resigned after that game.

  14. Witty and perceptive as always PJF.
    “Catporn” is rapidly becoming a frequent guilty pleasure. It started out as a term for Catmanacker drooling, but I now use it to describe my own lusting after your boy’s creativity and skill.
    Catporn is like being caught admiring the blond page 3 girl in stilletos, instead of the (elegant and refined) Avenging Eagle.
    Every time I see the Cats I graduated one of your youngsters from ‘flashy’ to ‘serious’ footballer. Motlop got the nod against the Swans. Smedts this week. When he arched his back and took off he looked like a young Judd (better kick than Judd too).

  15. Peter Flynn says

    Cheers PB.

    The Catporn call is very amusing. And accurate.

  16. Great stuff, Flynny.

    I actually paused the broadcast and replayed that Enright handball a couple of times. It was outrageous.

  17. Terrific review Flynny. I’m with you on D Bewick, though I’d have to think hard about the oleander sandwich option. Bewick seemed to save his best footy for the Cats. I recall he kicked nine against us at the ‘G one year and let the crowd know all about every one of them, fisting the air etc. On second thoughts where’s that sandwich?

    The ’93 game was a cracker. I still have the record with all the goals and behinds filled in. By coincidence Ablett and Salmon were on the same line on the same page. You could say that space was at something of a premium on that line. Must show it to you sometime. As with the game, we’ll never see its like again.

  18. Gareth Andrews says

    Flynny I was lying on a bed in a Rome Hotel listening via the AFL Live App or whetever it was that my son put on my phone. I had an early flight the next day and chose a miserable inn one block away from Termini Roma–as drab an area you might wish for. I only listened to the last half but it was radio joy. I loved it when Brian Taylor started talking about recruiting guru Stephen Wells and how he continued to pluck players from nowhere. ” I have been in footy for 40 years and never met this bloke.” Dwayne Russell replies ” Thats because he’s running around Australia chasing footballers” Taylor responds “Whatever for? Wells is so good he could pick up any unemployed down -and -outer from the streets of Geelong, give him a wash and a shave and he would be a star in this team.” See you 1st June Flynny–useful place.


  19. Andrew Starkie says

    Gold Flynny. WOuld’ve been ‘intelligent’ pregame chat with the boys, I’m sure.

    Great parallel with Anna Meares. Would you believe she came to my mind as well. You obviously saw her on Aust STory as well.

    Loved road runner line on Motlop, Spot on.

  20. Peter Flynn says

    Cheers Smokie. Possibly the greatest handball I’ve ever seen.

    Cheers Burkie. I wonder if you can take a photo and send it to JTH or Cookie to put on the site.

    Cheers Gareth: Yes I’ll be there. I know the area around Fiumicino. Lots of washing lines!

    Cheers Starks (GM): I did see A Meares on Aust Story. What a tough cookie. Really impressive. Ditto Pendleton.

    Motlop moves too fast for his own good sometimes. Hilarious.

  21. Bob Utber says

    PJF as usual captures the total story and even gave one of my favourites C.B.Fry a mention. If anyone is in Repton this year go to see CB’s grave. It has not been nurtured since the infamous Centurions visited there and did some good work in 1997. perhaps your mate Mr Vaas could help out. I’m still trying to find him!
    Your ability to use words that leave us mere mortals feeling insecure continues to astound me. Though why should it – The Pivotonians are beyond that.

  22. Richard Naco says

    Flynny, fellow Catter, you write precisely in the manner that Stevie J plays footy. The humble observer never really knows what twists and turns are going to arise from any given passage of pl … errrm … prose, but we do know that there’ll be an inevitable (pen/ key) stroke of genius, upon which the Vision Splendid will unfurl before us, and a collective gasp while herald indelible smiles rising on the dials of the True and Faithfull.

    A fantastic game played here, and my old personal term of “Footy Porn” has now been forever superceded by your more unapologetically feline version.

    “We Are Geelong!”

  23. Edward Rush says

    Good observation Daff. I was pretty impressed by that throw. The essendon fans around me grunted and cursed a bit, but were clearly impressed.

  24. Peter Flynn says

    Cheers Bob and Richard. Very kind.

    Burkie, what a Footy Record! I can imagine the banter as Ablett’s surname is progressively drawn on. Hilarious.


  25. Sneak,
    I’m not sure how you managed to refer to Beckham, Watson, Mears, Dennis Dinuto and your mum all in one article. Was never a big Bewick fan.

    Your mention of Pal asking who number 40 was reminded me of when I enquired about number 28 in what must have been about his 5th game, by the end of the year (and still 2 yrs later) i certainly knew who he was after he outmarked 2 pies players in the GF. Christensen spoke at the Camberwell Sharks medal night recently, very impression 21 year old.

    I remember the 89 prelim, hapless was the current term to describe Paul Hamilton.

    Interesresting to note the 93 match produced 5 coaches and 1 player that still running around.

    Don’t think I’m up to Saturday night, Bronchitis is lingering.

  26. PS: when collingwood played hawthorn this year the scores were 10.9 to 8.8 at one stage whilst freo and collingwood were locked on 10.9 apiece for a short time. Both unfortunately ended in tears!

  27. Burkie, that Record is superb. And the quality of the entries is faultless. Do you take a rubber to the footy?

  28. Peter Flynn says

    Catporn only in the 3rd Q tonight. Pieporn for the other 3.

    S Dwyer superb.

    Harry O out of control.

    Blair good.

    For Geelong, J Bartel played a sensational 2.5 quarters.

    Old mate Enright was his usual.

    It’s Hawthorn’s to lose.

  29. Rick Kane says

    Hello Mr Flynn

    I have to call you on how your comment about how the Cats got trapped and beaten deftly moved the spotlight from the Cats to the Hawks. It’s what we call in the trade, a sleight of hand.

    You know as well as the reader that the 2013 Premiership is still very much the Cats to lose.

    What you didn’t say, which I think deserved to be said was that, because of the surprise result, Hawthorn are now of top of the ladder. See, you should have said it. I feel good, having said so why wouldn’t you? :)


  30. Peter Flynn says

    Touche R Kane.

    I thought I’had got away with it at 1:53am.

    OK I’ll say it. Hawthorn are now top of the ladder.


    P Flynn

  31. Peter Flynn says


    How’s the bronchitis?

    A few Fat Yaks and a Pie win might have been just the medicine.

    Terrific match last night, particularly the 2nd half.

    Good pick re coaches from the ’93 game.



  32. RK,
    With top spot comes great responsibility.

  33. Richard Naco says

    I think that yesterday showed that it would be foolish to presumethat any team(s) have a lock on a Top 4 position right now, let alone a premiership. Brisbane and Collingwood both fully deserved their wins, but lessons will be undoubtedly learnt and applied following this round. What doesn’t kill only serves to strengthen, after all.

    There are so many variables at play within any footy season that crystal balls will only inevitably get well and truly shattered should they be gazed at too seriously, or for too long.

  34. Peter Flynn says

    Fair call Richard.

    I was being mischievous.


  35. ‘Napkin-wearing Essendon coyotes zero in on Motlop, threateningly brandishing an oversized knife and fork.’ That is ACME dynamite, Sneak

  36. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Entertaining as always , Flynny surprise surprise the , Shane Watson coin toss taking guard was my highlight . We will never no whether , Enrigh inj and Chapman suspended cost the cats a flag thanks PF

  37. Peter Flynn says

    G’day Rulebook,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Enright’s knee and Chappy’s suspension were crucial.

    Entight is an ATG.

    All-time great.



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