Round 17 – Fremantle v Geelong: Win is a win..especially in Perth

The interstate supporters club is in many ways now turning in to a Blockbuster Video store or a presenter on The Footy Show for relevance in the modern age. Created for fans from elsewhere to meet up it has become more of a struggle with all footy now live in your living rooms and the corporate beast widening the gap between average fan and goals of a modern club. I guess it’s another example of the ever growing gap between the modern corporate club and the common fan. Do we hold on to the beliefs and memories that made us fall in love with the club in the first place or do we need to evolve with the club to wanting to be at the big table and competitive no matter what the cost is to the quirks and nuances of the club that we cherish. When do we have to just let some things go and stop being retrospective hoarders.

 

I’ve pondered this a lot in the past few years as President of the Perth Cats. The club turned 25 this year and was started by Geelong alumni Marshall and Farmer in 1991 run by volunteers and forever strong as a meeting place and safe haven for Cats in the West to get together and watch games or when the boys are in town having a pre-game knees up. At the Irish Club in Subiaco last Friday this was no exception. Brian Cook talked to fellow pivotonians about stadium upgrades and extraordinary dollar amounts to make it all happen. Fans watched in faded old AFL jumpers, badges attached to the scarves over the years and other indicators that their love of team will hopefully survive and transcend the club and stadium’s eventual morphing in another corporate entity. There was no mention of swapping hot dogs and pies for lashings of pheasant and plastic cups of swans blood just yet though. Some fans expressed their justified dismay to Cook about the way fans in WA are treated with no open training sessions or chance to meet the players meaning it’s harder to not have their kids morph in to an Eagle or Docker. Some were proud to have someone like Cooky steer the club to premierships and a brave new future albeit saddled with debt. More than a couple wanted to make sure the standing room down at Kardinia Park would survive in some way. Cooky promised a roof and that’s it.

 

I spent most the time running around organising things, briefly meeting Mr Peter Flynn from the Almanac and managed to convince the quiet lad that comes down to the club most weeks to watch games that he does in fact bear a remarkable resemblance to Cam Guthrie and could he draw the raffle prizes for the club seeing as it was his 100th game.  Now after all the effort to put the event together we all just wanted the Cats to win the game.

 

I was late to the game and finally got up to a primo spot in the second tier stand to sit with Elliot the hate filled Docker and his old man (see the 2013 Footy Almanac). I was disappointed to miss out on Mack and Guth’s banner for their respective milestones. I was further disheartened to see the Dockers had kicked out to a two goal lead early and my first image of the game was seeing Cockatoo get caught holding the ball. The Cats seemed to be continuing their form that could only be described as poxy-at-best with Dangerfield and Enright seeming to be the only ones standing up as Barlow, Walters and Taberner had the home side up by three goals at quarter time. The locals were happy with the start yet there is something missing from the Dockers crowd as opposed to previous times I’ve been here. The cold embrace of a rebuild? Worrying if Ross can lead said rebuild? Every game getting closer to the end for Pav? This season would be like swallowing battery acid after the brave new world of 2013-2015.

 

In the second half with a bit of a breeze the Cats are better but still passing the ball around poorly leaving the receiver to mop up a hurricane of piss more often than not. They were also not handling the extra defender well at all. Son Son is everywhere. Cocky, booed off the field here at Subi in the pre-season after cleaning up Johnson, ran in from 50 and nailed a goal before quick thinking by the Dockers defence didn’t quite work out and Stanley ran in to kick another after a lovely fist from Freo boy Shane Kersten. Pav restored the balance as the crowd dabbed eyes over the old workhorse before the Cats got another through Smith with those strong hands. This game at the start of the season was one where I thought we would not only lose but our small defenders would struggle and they do with Kolo’s kick out of the defence meant for Hawkins intercepted and ending up a goal for the dashing Weller. The Cats were getting on top but Freo seemed to have the easy answer before Dangerfield, again, became the difference.

 

The Cats locked the Dockers down in their own defensive 50 pressuring their young defence in to mistakes which Tommy Sheriden excels in ‘anytime anywhere’. One of his errant kicks resulted in a strong mark and goal to Danger in the square. Then two minutes later Paddy collected a ball in the pocket heading out of bounds from a Crozier fist and used brute strength and suspect Russian athletic like pace to run in to the goalsquare and goal giving the Cat hoards at the city end of Subi more voice and the team the lead. Was it out? From my position I could not see but the Dockers around me were incensed and had their excuse ready to go should they lose. The umpires had it in for them apparently. A howler by Boris at the back gave Ballantyne a chance to lay a self-abusing tackle and gave the lead back to Freo right on half time and Ballantyne a broken nose to make it a more than interesting second half.

 

In the third term Geelong again dominated the stoppages and pressured the Dockers defence with Motlop and Menzel kicking goals mainly thanks to the anticipation and safe intercepting hands of Northampton’s finest Harry Taylor. The Dockers lost Barlow after a clash of shoulders with little Lincoln and then in an accidental clash the ever reliable Hendo flew and crashed hard knocking himself out in the process. The Dockers tried to follow Ross’s plans but handballs sold teammates in to trouble and switches to the other wing would be intercepted or trundle out of bounds. Son Son was still everywhere taking down a screamer that should have been paid. Groans emanated throughout the crowd, the look on every face one of resignation and betrayed feelings. Arms folded everywhere like a massive game of ‘Simon Says’. Danger goaled again and a host of chances were spurned to have the Cats almost comfortable at three quarter time. The Dockers around me seemed to have reset back to old discussions at breaks such as ‘anyone but the Eagles in September’ on top of bagging out Danger. He was only back in Geelong to chase the money you know. The free agent system was going to kill football you know. How dare a young man with a new bride return to be based near Moggs Creek to raise a family. How dare Geelong get involved in the free agent system much like Freo may have to at the end of this season.

 

The Dockers tried to grab the ascendancy back in the final term missing some chances with Hill particularly dominant in the times he wasn’t sold in to trouble by his less experienced/skilled teammates. The ever respectable Mundy snapped a captain’s goal to cut the Cat’s lead to less than a goal with a wicked bounce very much helping. The crowd found some voice to try and get their misfiring side home. Some 50-50 umpiring decisions went the Cats way that had the Dockers fans all fire and brimstone and all of a sudden a Josh Cowan kick in to their 50 was marked strongly by Smith with the goal restoring a gap that the Dockers couldn’t seem to make up with their injury hit side. A snapped goal to Hawkins put the game almost to bed and showed that he had emerged from the same place Mayne was hiding. Time ticked away and the Cats were just home with a goal to Murdoch making it looking a little better and a few more cynical Cats fans hoping that junk time goal would mean he was safe in the seniors for another week.

 

All in all a closer game than many expected but nothing to write home about for the Cats. Our first win over Lyon in the West is something I should’ve been jumping off the walls about but there’s still something missing with the Crows back home next week that will hopefully jolt us back in to form. The Chicken Littles that support Geelong won’t be convinced in any way that it isn’t the end of the days after this effort. The Cats premiership hopes aren’t dead, they just smell funny.

 

FREMANTLE       4.1    7.2    7.3    9.7  (61)
GEELONG             1.3    6.7    8.11     11.12   (78) 

 

GOALS
Fremantle: Walters, Barlow, Taberner, Weller, Blakely, Pavlich, Ballantyne, Mundy, Sutcliffe
Geelong: Dangerfield 4, Smith 2, Menzel, Cockatoo, Stanley, Hawkins, Murdoch

 

BEST 
Fremantle: Hill, Walters, Neale, Mundy, Blakely

Geelong: Dangerfield, Enright, Henderson, Mackie, Selwood

 

VOTES

3: P.Dangerfield (Geelong).

2: S.Hill (Fremantle)

1: C.Enright (Geelong).

 

Honourable mentions to Son Son for the Dockers and Hendo for Geelong before he was concussed.

 

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

Comments

  1. Sean Gorman says:

    Den – I have always liked you until i read Mifka as part of the triple holy helix. I mean…like…wtf?

    As for the game Cats were just better: better chains of play, more class, more entries to score, more composure. I can’t wait for the season to end to be honest…..Danger was v good.

  2. Dennis Gedling says:

    It changes from time to time. It seems almost everyone I know when younger run foul of him when he was on duty as a cop.

    Composure from quarter time on definitely. You could see what the Dockers were trying to achieve but they just can’t carry out the plan because of the skills. One plus for this season for your lot is hanging on to Neale. A shame injuries and incident in Leederville have stopped Yarran having a cracking at the top level.

  3. Paul Spinks says:

    Was looking like a train wreck early, Denis, and we’re still not on track (as it were), but as you say – a win is a win.

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