Round 1 – Collingwood v Geelong: Cats get under Collingwood’s guard



Collingwood       3.5.  4.9    7.10    9.11 (65)
Geelong              3.3   3.4  7.10  10.12 (72)


Votes:  3. Kelly (Geel)     2. Stanley (Geel)     1. Treloar (Coll)


There is nothing but winning for Collingwood in 2019.


Having revealed the potential of a decade of near perfect trading and drafting the Woods missed the 2018 premiership the by length of Adam Treloar’s back ‘n’ sides.


So like Geelong fans in 2009 after their perfect season had been spiked in the 2008 Grand Final,  the big games of previous years won’t signal high points of excitement, comaraderie, suffering and joy, the 2019 Collingwood fan will journey through a year of games like road corrugations.


For Geelong, having returned to the pack, the first game of the year brings the great hopes of the new season and a chance to get one under the ribs of the champs in waiting, before they really hit their straps.


Six new Cats were minted tonight: Rohan from the Swans (new forward speed), Dahlhaus from the Dogs (new forward muscle), Atkins from the VFL (new forward muscle), Clark from the draft (half-back renewal) and Constable after a delayed career start due to injury (midfield renewal). Maybe the new rules would help. Had the club recruited with this in mind?


When joined by Ratugolea 1/3 of Geelong’s team were not wearing hoops last August.


Collingwood welcomed back Beams after a few years in Woolloongabba, where I had flown in from. They don’t care about the new rules, they don’t have to. The return of Jamie Elliot and Darcy Moore of greater interest.


At 8pm it was 25 degrees in standing room, 78,000 breathed in as the big men rose into the air.


The first half was an odd affair, no doubt influenced by the new level pressure Geelong brought to the game and some rust still being kicked off. Targets and goals missed aplenty. The Woods were the major offenders, though not an island.


Elliot got a great mismatch in Blicavs and made the most of it, firing home a couple of easy goals by being last man in line.


Blitz had a shocker with every Collingwood goal of the first half coming through or around one of his mistakes. Fortunately (for the Cats) there weren’t many goals to speak of. Treloar was everywhere, Dangerfield seemingly nowhere, while the new fleet of Cats midfielders were finding their feet.


While Collingwood went into half time two goals up, they moved into their forward line with a degree more purpose and control, usually only let down by the last kick to man or goal.


In the latter part of his career Andy Warhol would stand on a chair in New York’s Studio 54, step off it and then try to sell the space he formerly occupied as art. The spaces formerly occupied by Enright, Harley, Scarlett and Mackie across the Geelong backline could be sold as art to supporters, such is the grief at their retirement.


But as brilliant as this generation of champions (and Harry Taylor who played well tonight) were Geelong have made great progress in replacing them. Tonight they went without Zach Tuohy and Bews, but with the new kid, Clarke, stepping in for his first game to join Stewart, Blicavs, Henry and Taylor. The kid Tdid OK, running at the ball with confidence and moving it with speed with in hand.


He was able to more easily link with Geelong’s silk in the second half as Selwood, Duncan, Ablett and Dangerfield all played wide of each other. Kelly kept the quality extractions up and Geelong should have gone into the ¾ time ahead.


Collingwood could never find the space they needed. At times they were able to move down the ground seemingly at will and without challenge, but Geelong gave them nothing inside the 50 arcs at either end. Dangerfield’s bewilderingly appalling kicking kept Collingwood alive.


While the new 6-6-6 rule only played a minor role, due to the lack of goals, it did become noticeable in the final term as the Cats started spearing the ball to wings from the bounce and players got tired. Ablett’s quality ball use meant Geelong always had an option.


A special mention has to go to Rhys Stanley. The often maligned (and injured) ruckman was brilliant tonight in keeping the game’s most damaging ruckman (Brodie Grundy) in check. He was not a star but was one of the most important players for Geelong in not allowing The Magpies easy first use from contest. It meant Collingwood had to fight for every touch.


In the end Hawkins swung home his 500th career goal from 45 out with three minutes to go and Geelong were home. The first surprise in a weekend of surprise results.


For Collingwood, nothing so much to worry about, just a blip.

About Hamish Townsend

Hamish Townsend was born and raised in Geelong, supports the Cats and lives in Brisbane.


  1. It was a beautiful thing wasn’t it Hamish!

  2. It certainly was. It had been a few years since I had been to the G and experienced the thrill and roar of a big game and close win.

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