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Round 20: Geelong v Sydney – Blame it on the Bogey

 

All throughout the week I was anticipating Friday night. While I was excited to lie in front of my plasma TV watching two heavyweights slugging it out, I was also really nervous. For my Swans, a win would keep our top four aspirations alive, and more importantly, our premiership credentials. However, lose and we may miss the finals altogether.

 

Geelong are an absolute powerhouse, particularly at Kardinia Park, having won their last seven games there, and three of five against us in the last seven years. However, we are incidentally the last team to beat them there, in an emotional lead-up, where Kieren Jack was involved in an unfortunate family feud involving his girlfriend, only to rack up 24 touches and kick 3 goals in a best-on-ground performance.

 

The last time we played them was the preliminary final last year, a game most Geelong fans would prefer to forget. In that game, we blew them away in the first quarter, kicking seven goals to zip, and they never got up after that.

 

After our loss to Hawthorn and Geelong’s romping of Carlton, I would have said it was a 50-50 game, due to our recent record against them, but also because it was at the Cattery. Then, Danger gets rubbed out. He is a massive loss. This will be a massive test for the Cats, to show that they are still premiership material without their Brownlow medalist. Then we lose Kennedy and Naismith to injury. This is also hard to take, so I think that it is still an even chance.

 

The Cats start well, with the Tomahawk booting the first goal, and us barely having a possession. But from there, the Swans flick the switch. Lonergan loses sight of the ball, and Sam Reid out-muscles his opponent and capitalises in his return. Only 30 seconds later, Reid gets the free, and young Papley takes advantage, managing to get a boot to it while almost running himself into trouble. Then our stand-in skipper Luke Parker snaps one from 50 metres, and it clears the unguarded goalsquare with ease. Three entries, three goals in the blink of an eye.

 

Geelong start making panicked decisions as Jakey Kolodjashnij’s kick is intercepted by the youngest man on the ground, Will Hayward, who pounces for our fourth. Papley snaps another. Hannebery manages to work his way through traffic en route to goal. Hayward thumps it inside 50 where Reid marks uncontested in the goalsquare, and kicks his second. This run of seven goals only matched by a major from Zac Smith.

 

In the second quarter, Geelong do a little better. After Rohan slots a major, Geelong take just 7 seconds to respond through Hawkins. They manage to kick three in a row, before we respond with the next two to lead by 29 at the main break.

 

There were some danger signs for Geelong though. Hawkins laid a couple of jumper punches, which could see him under MRP scrutiny. And the decision to keep Joel Selwood playing on through an ankle injury backfired in the premiership quarter, as he ended up pulling his medial ligament and was done for the day. Meanwhile, James “Allan” Parsons snaps one to get it back within 22. But the Cats have four more shots on goal, and none of them are capitalised upon, and against the run of play, Nic Newman shows us his inner Franklin, but we only have a lead of 25 going into the last change.

 

Now, the Cats are the best fourth quarter team in the competition, but we have never lost a match we have led in at the final change. One of these stats will change today. Then, Geelong start to lose it. After Hannebery’s cool set shot from the goalsquare, Duncan gives Papley a tummy tap, resulting in a free kick right in front of goal, and not from the centre. Papley stuffs his kick, but gets a reprieve from a 50 metre penalty. So with 2 kicks (and 2 goals), we have all of a sudden blown the game open, and all of a sudden, any hope the Cats had of winning this game have been dashed by their lack of discipline.

 

Hayward does his best Lionel Messi impression to score another, and he and Papley finish with three goals apiece. The siren sounds on a 46-point win. Geelong had their opportunities, but ultimately, their disciplinary issues got the better of them.

 

We have now beaten Geelong in our past three outings, all away from home, and 2 at the Cattery. Much like the Hawks have us covered with the past three victories, and 2 at the SCG. They may be our bogey team, but we can rest easier now they will not be featuring this finals series. Geelong have a new bogey team now, so they should brace themselves come September.

About Daniel Saunders

I have been an AFL fanatic and Swans supporter for most of my life, much to the dismay of those around me; they never hear the end of it! What else do you expect from New South Wales school life?

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