Round 19 – Geelong v Western Bulldogs: Time Stands Still in Cat country

 

NOT for the first time I felt blessed to be a Cats fan last Friday night.

Geelong refuses to be reined in by the corporate world which is the AFL of the 21st century despite being a key player on the field in 2016.

Early in the evening I could be forgiven for thinking I was in a time warp.

A throwback to the days of six games on a Saturday afternoon when fans trekked through suburban streets in readiness for tribal warfare on the terraces.

I dropped in for a pre-game Sav Blanc at the revamped Geelong Hotel only to be greeted by the waitress brandishing a bus ticket to get me over the Moorabool Street hill to the confines of the terrace.

Each ticket was accompanied by two tear off butts which allowed the holder to a couple of complimentary pots of the locally brewed Furphys lager.

A glance out of the bus window took me past the Commun Na Feine Hotel where Larry Donohue (he of the bushy sideboards and lethal right foot of the 1970s) is only too willing to pour you refreshing ale.

Cats fans donned in duffle coats and beanies were wolfing down the Parma and Pot special as the opening bounce beckoned around the Kilgour Street corner.

Savvy locals armed with hot flasks and picnic baskets, which at a guess comprised of ham sandwiches and shortbreads,  ducked down side streets and laneways cutting valuable minutes off their travel time ensuring punctual attendance in time to cheer two Cats champions on to the hallowed turf of Kardinia Park.

The terrace was as full as I have seen in recent years.

While the Bulldogs hierarchy deemed the trek down the Princes Highway lengthy enough to necessitate a motel booking for its players the night before, not so the fans.

They left factories and offices at knock off time and headed down the highway in their droves.

My good mate P J Flynn emerged from the ruck at quarter time in an optimistic mood.

My observation of a tight shoot-out outcome was met with disdain by Flynn who confidently predicted an eight goal margin (Cats way of course) at the final siren.

Flynn was in peak mid-season form exuding all the bravado of a man who had been (Almanac) lunching at the North Fitzroy Arms earlier in the afternoon.

Flynn recounted the events of the day to anyone who cared to listen and even several who didn’t.

How guest speaker  Bill Deller rated NFA mine host Percy Jones best afield in the goal-spree that was the 1972 Grand Final.

Flynn was on good terms with himself as he went the early crow and predicted three goals in a row for the Cats.

The injury ravaged Bulldogs showed admirable intestinal fortitude as they refused to be shaken off despite the mid- game loss of key play maker and diligent Dangerfield tagger Liberatore.

We reckoned the out of favour Shane Kersten squirmed uncomfortably in his seat in the Players Stand as Rhys Stanley slotted a career high fifth goal putting the finishing touches on a best on ground performance.

With only seconds remaining the crowd received what they had wistfully hoped for.

The heavily stubbled Bartel sealed game number 300 with a left foot snap goal which caused the crowd to erupt as the roar reverberated around the walls of homes which enveloped the ground in the leafy streets of Newtown and surrounding suburbs.

With his black beard and long sleeves Bartel wouldn’t look out of place in the Cats 1925 premiership photo while the newly crowned club games record holder Corey Enright played the game in a manner for which it was meant.

Perfectly judged marks punctuated with vice like tackles completed with disposal by hand or foot to a teammate in a better position.

The AFL needn’t have decreed it Retro Round to those who call the City by the Bay home.

After all ‘We play the game as it should be played …….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Cat from the Country says:

    Great picture you painted.
    We were in KL and could not find an Aussie Bar that could broadcast the game.
    I used my AFL app and kept close tabs in the scores.
    Hubby is a Doggies man!!!
    We are now in Phuket. I may have a better chance this week!
    Go Cats

  2. Would have been nice to watch J Dunne, but the Cats infuriated me at times on Friday night. Motlop drove me to distraction with his refusal to take the first option (or second or third) instead causing chaos for his team mates. But a win is a win.

    Great picture you’ve painted here.

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