Oh yeah, and Ablett did his groin

By Steve Healy

Nine seconds had lapsed in this game between the Dees and the Cats and it was already apparent that Geelong had the game on a string.
I watched in disgust as Gary Ablett, the Brownlow favourite, stormed through the middle without a Demon in sight. He sprinted up to the fifty and kicked a goal into the Geelong faithful at the City End. The No.29’s bald head reflected the afternoon sun. Horrible images came into my mind, ones similar to those in Round 19 last year. But it wasn’t to be this time.
The Dees tried the “tackling plan” that the Pies had used against the Cats last year and all was well after the Ablett goal. Ablett was being tagged by McDonald initially but then Bartram had a shot and did a great job, forcing the champ to work for his touches. A great first quarter was constructed from the Dees, but for the third week in a row they couldn’t capitalise on first-quarter efforts.
The long-awaited return of Robbo was the story of the day for the Dees, but he, too, missed an easy one in the first quarter. Our back line was up and running, with the likes of Matt Warnock, James Frawley and Stef Martin steadying the ship with some great defensive work and spoiling. Petterd kicked the first for the Dees and the fire had set alight; the question now was whether the Demons could keep applying that pressure. Cale Morton put his foot on the pedal and weaved through the centre and kicked a magnificent goal, putting the Dees in front and bringing the supporters around me on to their feet.
Addam Maric was struggling with his first game for the year, after a huge hype from Demon supporters in previous weeks. Maric gave away a goal with a terrible handball under pressure, gifting Cam Mooney his second goal of the quarter. Geelong held a five-point lead at the first break, but signs were still great for Melbourne.
The Dees continued the pressure throughout the second term; I also noticed they were developing a cluster through the middle. The Cats eventually broke away through goals from Varcoe, Rooke, Stokes and three from Steve Johnson, one of which was a toe poker where the ball and his foot were clearly over the line. The fans booed at the decision but cheered loudly after Robbo kicked a goal (his 400th) in the quarter. PJ (Paul Johnson) kicked another but the Cats still held a 32-point lead at the half.
Geelong came out in the third and dominated, but couldn’t put it on the scoreboard, kicking five behinds to begin the quarter (three from Max Rooke) but Jimmy Bartel and Paul Chapman kept delivering the ball back into the Cats fifty. When the ball came down Melbourne’s end it was used effectively, with Robbo kicking two goals in a row, the second a great one set up by Stef Martin, who had moved forward. Robbo’s celebrations may have been a bit over the top, but the margin wasn’t. It was only 31 points and I was happy with the performance, but Geelong extended the margin to 46 points at three-quarter time.
Great substance was shown by the Dees in the last quarter, and we ended up winning the last quarter by half a kick. Miller kicked a couple and Bennell kicked a great one, but in the end the Cats run out victors by 43 points in front of 36,932 people. Melbourne’s backline and midfield looked strong, with great games from Davey, Moloney, Frawley and Warnock.
The debut of Jack Watts still awaits. News has gone around saying he will debut in Round 12 against the Bombers at the Dome. The day before Jack had showed his potential, kicking three goals against Coburg in a seven-goal win. He will now play for his school, Brighton Grammar, in the upcoming week.
The final margin of 43 points seemed about right, with both the Cats and Dees showing periods of ineffectiveness. Geelong set the disposal record with 498, breaking the record of 490 set by them last week. The Dees face the Eagles next week in Perth; the Cats play the Swans in Geelong.
Oh yeah, and Ablett injured his groin.

Melbourne 2.4  4.6  6.7 10.8 (68)

Geelong  3.3  9.8  12.17  15.21(111)


Melbourne: Robertson 3, Miller 2, Morton, Johnson, Bennell, Petterd, Sylvia.

Geelong: S.Johnson 4, Mooney 3, Varcoe 2, Rooke 2, Chapman, Stokes, Ablett, Hawkins.


Melbourne: Davey, Morton, McLean, Frawley, Warnock, Jones.

Geelong: Chapman, Bartel, S.Johnson, Enright, Corey, Selwood, Mackie, Mooney, Rooke.

Votes:  Chapman (G) 3, Bartel  (G) 2, Davey (M) 1.

Umpires: Kennedy, S.Ryan, Dalgleish      Crowd: 36,932 at the MCG

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

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