Round 7 – Geelong v West Coast: Unconvincing

On Friday night the Hawks beat the Tiges by 46 points in what many scribes of both social and ‘real’ media called unconvincing. The next day the Cats, according to the same circles of critical analysis, influence and chatter, “punished” West Coast by 44 points. What?


I saw both games. Interestingly, and counter-intuitively, as a Hawks supporter, I watched the Hawks game via the great establishment and font of all footy know-it-allism, Channel 7. I watched the Cats game live.


If I can, for a moment, digress. Let me share this with you good neighbour. For it is a tale of terror. The take out? If you don’t barrack for the Cats, then you have no reason other than a life-saving mission or parental responsibilities (that your partner will guilt you with) to visit the home of the Cats.


And it’s not the players who create the terrors. It’s the supporters. The fans look pleasant enough, as you would expect from Western districts stock. However, they more resemble characters from Paul Kelly’s expose of 1950s Australia in aspic, Adelaide. Sitting in the same chair, they were sitting in last year. Then they start to barrack! Wow.


Pies fans get a bad rap for their behaviour and teeth. West Coast fans cop it too. Maybe there is some truth to the generalisations. A one eyed mob can distort reality. In both cases, the fan’s appearance is brought into play as an unstated reason for such uncouth demonstrations of allegiance.


Don’t be fooled by Cats members’ gentility and well-coiffed appearance. Once they barrack they are as feral and impatient as the worst. Don’t be fooled by the country oval feel of the place. The locals are as demanding and pushy as the top end of Collins St suit and tie brigade hunting a latte. Don’t be fooled by the air of humility. I can’t recall breathing in any of that air.


In the irony heavy and humility absent titled Premiership Stand where I was sitting the umpires were cajoled and threatened and disdained and taunted and mocked. They were, not to put too hyperbolic a spin on it, bullied relentlessly. It was the most tiresome crowd commentary on umpiring I have endured in a very long time.


The weirdest thing about the crowd’s robotic insistence that every free go their way was that, well, for starters, that is what seemed to be happening. Secondly, and more to the point, the Cats were on fire. You can read reports from Cats fans on this site but for what it’s worth, the Cats are the real deal. They are going to be up there at the pointy end. Playing eight games at whatever the hell their home ground is called these days won’t hurt.


The team is chock full of talent. Dangerfield is the key. Menzel is charging back to what he has threatened to deliver before being cruelled by knee injury after knee injury. Motlop, big tick and elephant stamp to boot. Bartel plays like he’s 28 (he’s heading towards 33). Etc, etc, etc.


There was one bit of play when Dangerfield smothered an Eagles kick deep in the Eagles forward line. He gathered the ball and sprinted through a pack. (Is he the fastest player off the first 10 metres in the comp?) He headed down the field. As he was about to be tackled he dummied then shot a handpass to Selwood, who was running with him. Selwood took the run. As he entered the Cats forward line he passed to Caddy, who with plenty of time centred a neat punt to Kersten. Two handpasses and two kicks and a goal. In a moment like that the Cats look unbeatable.


So how did they squander a 50 point lead in the Premiership quarter? I was as disinterested in the result as you can get but even I thought at that point the Cats were about to blow the game apart. Maybe a 100 point win. Then the irrepressible Nic Nat turned the game inside out for ten minutes and West Coast scored five goals and the Cats lost their compass. Completely.


Was the Cats 44 point win convincing? That is the question. They were never going to lose. Why didn’t they regain control to thrash the WC Evils? This hangs over game not unlike the air of self-satisfaction that hangs over the Cats ground itself. I don’t think the Cats fans will investigate this matter with the same forensic intensity they seem to place on every non Cats umpiring decision.


Other clubs will. Sydney and Western Sydney both venture to sleepy hollow over the next month or so. They have the means, skill and runners to crack open the fault lines that Nic Nat so easily exploited. If they are successful, the Cats will be re-counting their lives. And as for the fans in the stands? I don’t think I could bear to hear them baying when things don’t go their way.


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About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day


  1. Trucker – would it be apt to speculate that Cats supporters lack a certain mental toughness?

  2. Nice try at stirring the pot old mate. A Hawk supporter writing about the Cats is a bit like a Pepsi fan critiquing Coca Cola.

    Geelong people are so nice. You must have been sitting near the exceptions to the rule. By the way I’m still having tetanus injections after being spat on by a Hawk supporter 2 years ago. I told him to settle down after he threatened to kill a 70 year old grandmother seated in front of me. Other than that he was a nice bloke.

  3. Bob Morrow says

    Well don’t go then !

  4. Cat from the Country says

    There were some very odd decisions by one umpire in particular.
    We refrained from calling him names, but we did suggest he visit his sponsors and have his eyes checked!
    So we fl7ffed a 5ppt lead, qe got it back to 44. That says a lot about the players intent.

  5. Earl O'Neill says


  6. E.regnans says

    Love it Trucker.

    Historically Collingwood fans have been baked for this kind of behaviour.
    The behaviour goes on. But, it goes on everywhere – that’s the point.
    Ridiculous trying to deny it.
    Brilliant reactions from the cats here.

    In my experience, the most obnoxious I’ve seen have been wearing Sydney, Geelong and Hawthorn colours.
    Probably fits with winning and entitlement.
    (Like Collingwood of 50 years ago?)

  7. If you want entitlement, go to a Crows game.

  8. @E.regnans – back to the Espy

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Brilliant Rick.
    Living near Colac as I do, where 96.37% of the population are Geelong fanatics, can be tough. September 2011 was a nightmare.
    Any year where the Cats make the finals, 9 out of 10 cars will have a Geelong flag flying. Grannies with pointy umbrellas and blue and white scarves threaten any non believer in the streets. The Geelong Advertiser (formerly Ablettiser) prints 5 Colac editions a day to rush down the highway to the fanatics.
    For every loss Collingwood receive, I cop 10 times more grief from feral Cat fans than any other supporter group.
    It’s time to claim our game back from these rabid fans. Clearly the worst in the league. Thinking of moving to Adelaide to live amongst a more genteel group of supporters.

  10. I didn’t understand this story. Where was Cyril? Hodgey? Mitch? Poppy?
    You can’t ditch all your favourite characters and expect us to keep up…

  11. Rick Kane says

    Graser, that would be so unfair … (psst, we’ll talk later)

    Dips, I report what I see and hear. Don’t hurt the messenger.

    Bob, absolutely, just being a good parent to my son

    Cat from country, that’s one way to look at it and probably the right way but there might be something for better oppositions to exploit as well

    Earl, ta

    Er, in my experience Hawks fans are the bees knees. Every year they just get more joyful!

    Bucko, good point, or anywhere the crowd might be so one-sided

    Graser, don’t remind him

    Luke, surely Hodgey has turned a small section of Colac to the Hawks. Surely

    Les, merely a digression my friend. Those characters are central to the story of life itself. It’s the mighty Mitch by the way.

  12. Dips-you nailed it.

    Rick- Cat fans feral?!! Pure hyperbole. Passive as any group of AFL supporters can be .Too accommodating and accepting in fact. Did you notice the white shorts for a home game? Still liked your article though.

  13. Paul Spinks says

    Cat fans at KP have been previously accused of not being vocal enough, but they have their moments. The current arc-up (sic) has more do to with the latest episode of umpire moggie-bashing.
    Will be interesting to see what happens on Friday night after the Crows aired their complaints.
    Whether our win against the Eagles was unconvincing, or showing room for improvement, time will tell.

  14. Home town umpiring is a major problem in AFL. The Crows were crucified on Saturday night, and the baying mob at KP induced 10 Cats free kicks to my Eagles 5 at quarter time. And each of those 5 was greeted with howling derision from the feral mob. We were a goal in front at quarter time so it had nothing to do with playing behind and scragging.
    I don’t generally complain about it for 2 reasons. The reverse happens when we play at home and nearly always get a good trot from the men in lime. Not that you would know it listening to the howls from my fellow supporters. And that is the problem – umpires are conditioned like pavlov’s dogs to reach for the whistle when they hear the howl. A good umpires coach would do some reverse conditioning if we want a fair contest (big if).
    Secondly my Eagles were so inept by hand and foot on Saturday that they couldn’t have won if the umpires had given us 20 extra frees. Focus on the things you can control, rather than complaining about the things you can’t.
    Nice one Rick.

  15. Paul Campbell says

    Hi Rick, in your comment at 9:13am you confirmed what I thought was the position. You went for your son and that is to your great credit. I don’t think I could. I have creeping dread for injudicious repudiation. Despite running a relentless campaign since their birth (assisted by some success), I’m vigilant of a world of insidious corrupting influences and their ‘Kinder’ friends.

  16. Luke Reynolds says

    Rick, most of the other 3.63% of Colac people are Hawthorn fans

  17. Matt Quartermaine says

    Excellent Ricky. Poking the (blue and white) hornet’s nest with a stick.

  18. Rick Kane says

    Hey Joe, of course it’s hyperbole, from a cat’s perspective. Yes, I did notice the white shorts. That intrigued me. I wondered if it was a fashion statement because they did go well with the jumper.

    Paul, you’re far too circumspect for this discussion. The Cats looked great, which grated with me.

    PB, I call it the Hawks curse. A team that looked like champions (WC last year, Port the year before) gets done by the Mighty’s and next thing you know, their wheels come off. I don’t think any team was going to beat the Cats last Saturday, which is why the home town crowd behaviour puzzled me.

    Yes PC, I did it for the kid. (why, oh why!). Injudicious repudiation, I like that phrase. Consider it stolen, I mean appropriated.

    Luke, good to hear. from small things …

    Matty Q, just reporting from the battle front!

    Cheers all.

    I reckon, having thought about things for all of a couple of minutes, that there is an anxiety swelling in the bosom of Geelong (the place, the team the vibe) based on whether Dangerfield will deliver. They know this is their window and with every game and every grand effort they lift but through the couple of hours of play they are but one heart and mind surging with the team’s highs and crashing with its missteps. That is their only view and only focus. Everything else is peripheral. Anything that disrupts real or expected joy is damned. Therefore umpires are dragged through their anxieties. This amorphous entity is only going to get bigger and more demanding as the season goes on.

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