Friday, October 9, 2009

Ben Jensen in Edinburgh 26 September 2009
GEELONG has defeated St Kilda by twelve points to win the 2009 AFL Premiership. On a damp day the Cats will be considered lucky to have overcome the Saints, who for several periods early in the game were dominant but failed to score goals. But Geelong rebounded strongly in the second half, after unluckily trailing by a goal at half-time, conceding three goals inside a minute. They held St Kilda to just two goals in the second half and none at all in the final term, booted five themselves including three in the last quarter, to snatch their second flag in three seasons. Paul Chapman edged out Max Rooke and the excellent Harry Taylor for best afield to grab the Norm Smith Medal. Geelong legend Bob Davis, 1963 Premiership coach and 1951-52 Premiership player, presented the Premiership cup, setting off wild scenes of celebration and a touching moment as Mark Thompson helped Davis from the podium.

GEELONG: 3.0 7.1 9.4 12.8 (80) DEFEATED
ST KILDA: 3.2 7.7 9.11 9.14 (68)

: Chapman 3, Hawkins 2, Mooney 2, Rooke 2, Selwood, Byrnes, Ablett
ST KILDA: Schneider 2,Goddard, Hayes, Dempster, Jones, Koschitzke, Riewoldt, Montagna

: Chapman, Enright, Ablett, Milburn, Corey, Selwood, Taylor, Rooke
ST KILDA: Gram, Goddard, Hayes, Ball, Montagna

: Chapman (hamstring), Harley (soreness)
ST KILDA: Goddard (broken nose, shoulder)

CROWD: 99,251 at MCG, Melbourne

FIELD: Stephen McBurney, Brett Rosebury, Shaun Ryan
BOUNDARY: Darren Wilson, Adam Coote, Mark Foster, Mark Thomson (4 of them!)
GOAL: David Dixon, Mark Canning

Tom Harley won the toss and chose to kick to the Ponsford Stand end, same as 2007 if memory serves me correct. We aren't at the game but will be bringing you updates from the Cattery residence in Edinburgh, host to possibly the city's only Grand Final house party. So far the entertainment has included Mark Seymoor or Hunters and Collectors fame; Jimmy Barnes; Johnny Farnham and even James Morrisson (the trumpet guy). It's going to be a wet Grand Final, conditions Jimmy Bartel will be lapping up but may dampen some other more skillful players in either side. Stay tuned.

Geelong dominated play early in the first quarter but didn't capitalise on the scoreboard when kicking to the favourable Ponsford Stand end, whereas St Kilda finished off the quarter strong to lead by two points at half time and were unlucky not to be further in front. The Saints went on with it in the second quarter but again kicked more behinds than goals, while the Cats made hay, with goals to Byrnes, Ablett, Hawkins and Chapman giving them a handy two goal lead. Then with less than a minute to go, Clint Jones made something out of nothing, squeezing a stolen ball from a stoppage through a crowded pack of players for a team lifting goal. When Justin Koschitzke booted his first from the goal square thirty seconds later to equalise, it was all too much for Darren Milburn, who characteristically mouthed off at the umpire who had no hesitation in awarding an unprecedented free kick right on the goal-line before play restarted in the centre. The Saints went into half time with a six point lead.

The third quarter was a tough one with little scoring actually occurring despite many opportunities. Geelong managed to level the scores with 5 minutes remaining and should have at least taken the lead but could not manage even a behind in several plays in front of goal. The Saints again came up with a late quarter goal, Leigh Montagna breaking the deadlock to put his side up by a goal. Another behind next play gave the Saints a seven point lead at the final break.

Tom Hawkins' goal in the third minute, converting a strong contested mark from 35m out on an angle, put the Cats right back into it from a spiritual basis and had the crowd (especially in this house) pumping. Tense moments ensued as the Saints went close but could not manage an actual goal the entire quarter. The Cats did though, Paul Chapman's 3rd putting the Cats up by six points and a behind the next play making the margin a seemingly unassailable seven points. Matthew Scarlett conceded a behind in the dying moments of the game before Max Rooke marked inside fifty in the final seconds of the match. When the siren sounded the Cats were six points up, Rooke's 2nd goal stretching the margin to the equal biggest of the day, twelve points.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


GEELONG'S GARY ABLETT has won the AFL 2009 Brownlow Medal, stunning everyone by winning by a massive eight votes from Carlton's Chris Judd. Ablett stormed into the lead from round one, scoring six votes in the opening three rounds before two more best on grounds in rounds four and five. After eleven rounds Lenny Hayes was Ablett's principal rival, trailing on 16 votes to Ablett's 19. But despite playing in almost all winning sides since that point, Hayes' teammates took votes from him in all but rounds 17 (3 votes) and 22 (1 vote), to finish with 20 votes. Jonathan Brown, likewise, had a hot streak after being on just 8 votes at the halfway point, polled 11 votes in the next seven rounds to move into second place on 19 votes by round 18, but didn't poll again. Chris Judd averaged a vote a round, having a total of 11 votes by round 11, and finishing on 22. Watch Ablett's Acceptance Speech


Gary Ablett Geelong 30
Chris Judd Carlton 22
Lenny Hayes St Kilda 20
Simon Black, Jonathan Brown Brisbane 19


Gary Ablett
Joel Selwood
Jimmy Bartel
Paul Chapman
Joel Corey
Steve Johnson
Shannon Byrnes
Matthew Scarlett
Cameron Ling
Darren Milburn
Cameron Mooney
Brad Ottens


GEELONG are into their third AFL Grand Final in a row, defeating Collingwood at the MCG by a massive margin of seventy-three points in front of a decent crowd of 87,258 at the MCG. The Cats will play St Kilda next Saturday afternoon, aiming for two Premierships inside three years.

GEELONG : 3.6, 7.7, 11.13, 17.18 (120) DEFEATED
: 2.2, 5.8, 6.9, 6.11 (47)

GEELONG: Chapman 5, Byrnes 2, Hawkins 2, Ablett 2, Varcoe 2, Ottens, Mooney, Johnson, Corey

COLLINGWOOD: Brown, Didak, Johnson, Lockyer, O'Brien, Macaffer

: Scarlett, Enright, Ablett, Milburn, Bartel, Chapman, Mackie
COLLINGWOOD: Gilbee, Cooney, Boyd, Higgins, Lake, Akermanis

: G Ablett P Chapman J Corey J Bartel H Taylor C Ling T Hawkins
COLLINGWOOD: S O'Bree B Johnson N Maxwell L Brown

UMPIRES: FIELD: Brett Rosebury (8) Scott McLaren (11) Shaun Ryan (25) EM: Simon Meredith (21) BOUNDARY: Adam Coote Cameron Ward Rob Haala Jamie Giles GOAL: Mark Canning David Dixon EM: Chris Appleton

CROWD: 87,258 at the MCG

Collingwood had the early play in the match, leading for half the opening term before the Cats got cracking, booting three unanswered goals. Both sides went pretty much goal for goal in the second quarter but as described earlier, Geelong should have pushed to a thirty point-plus lead. The Cats led Collingwood by fourteen points at half time, but should have led by over 30, Brad Ottens missing an easy chance and the Magpies taking advantage, kicking another two goals before the main break. At half time Chapman and Hawkins had two goals each for the Cats, Ablett, Byrnes and Ottens the other goal-kickers. For the Magpies Brown, Didak, Johnson, Lockyer and O'Brien had one goal each.

The Cats started the second half out of the blocks however, booting three early goals and missing a third to push to a thirrty-one point lead eight minutes into the third term. Mooney, Johnson and Corey kicked their first goals of the match, Johnson missing two other shots that would have really put the foot on the Magpies' throat. Macaffer kicked a goal for the Pies a second or so before the three quarter time siren; the Cats going into the final break thirty-six points ahead, and hoping to take things easy in the last quarter ahead of next Saturday afternoon's Grand Final against St Kilda at the MCG. But, Collingwood being what they are, Geelong will have to be on their guard this final thirty minutes, and keep attacking until the end.

Two minutes into the final term, Travis Varcoe got on the end of a turnover by Collingwood veteran Simon Prestigiacomo to boot his first goal and give the Cats a forty point lead. Paul Chapman's third goal a couple minutes later, created by Joel Corey and Jimmy Bartel's tenacity, was the genuine sealer that sent the Wobbler fans packing back home; the margin out to an unassailable forty six points. Gary Ablett was next to sneak one through and it was party time in all corners of the world as Geelong fans rejoiced in the knowledge they would be watching their side in another Grand Final next week. Unfortunately for this 'viewer' the person streaming the match at this point decided to play the Geelong, Collingwood and finally St Kilda theme songs over the top of the match audio, but it's free so we can't complain. We can complain, however, about ESPN's decision to show Rangers v Kilmarnock from the Scottish Premier League, a game sure to attract far fewer UK viewers than Geelong-Collingwood.

Paul Chapman slammed on three goals in the last ten minutes, his fifth of the game pushing the margin out to a massive 74 points. Neither side would kick another goal for the match, the final 7-8 minutes petering out as the Cats conserved energy and the Magpies gave up.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Ashes, 4th Test, day 2 - My Story

Off to the cricket it was for our second day of Test cricket this season. Beautiful train ride down to Leeds if you overlook the 6am start. The vibes of Headingley were so obvious as we got close; loads of good spirit, which would have been difficult for those English folk after yesterday. Absolutely perfect conditions (con-di-ti-ons as the Yorkies say it) for cricket and even a few weddings – barely a cloud in the sky, no wind and mid twenties. Outside the ground, which is under reconstruction we mingled with folk in fancy dress, ticket touts, lager louts and enterprising souls flogging off anything from sunglasses to ham sandwiches for £1.50. The atmosphere continued inside – outside our aisle you could even have a bespoke cricket bat made up by Gray Nicholls; now I’ve seen it all. This was clearly a proper cricket ground all right, in spite of what the press say about the ‘West Stand’ and construction works. Unlike Lord’s, no alcohol allowed into this game, though you could bring flags of all shapes and sizes.

The Aussies resumed at 196/4, Clarke (34) and North (10) not wasting any time achieving their 50 partnership and Australia’s 200. Clarkey soon had his fifty in the sixth over; the 100 partnership and team 250 by the tenth, and the crowd were silent. The guys next to us from the Midlands said they’d be quite happy with a declaration by tea time as North racked up his 50 and Australia’s 300 in the 25th over, 72nd overall. Milestones dropped quicker than our odds of retaining the Ashes, the Clarke/North partnership reaching 150 off 251 balls. Clarke looked set for another hundred but fell on 93, LBW by Onions ten minutes before lunch. 29 overs bowled in the session, Australia 306/5.

The little league certainly brought the Western Stand to life; indeed it was ‘kicking off’ as one wag suggested as more and more boxes of four pints each were brought up into the stands as everyone panic bought to beat the mandatory one hour bar closure ‘some time between lunch and tea’. Copped a couple of ‘Go Blues’ from Aussies out the back on account of the Geelong jumper, all deserved though.

The new ball paid off immediately for the Poms, Haddin had no answer to the rising ball from Harmie, caught Ian Bell for 14. The joy was tempered when word got round the bar was now closed for an hour and a HALF(!) ‘You’re joking!’ went the cry from Aussies who remembered that Toohey’s ad from years back, ‘afraid not lad’ was the reply. The response was for a semi-spontaneous rendition of ‘Neighbours’, and the banter was officially on.

We had no answer for ‘Sand up… if you’re 1-Nil up’ but attention was soon turned to the poor old ‘Green Team’, whose job apparently includes deflating beach balls. ‘Geeeet a propeeer job; get-a-proper-job’ is all I can print. When some Aussies in the AST group fired up they were treated to a rousing rendition of ‘Especially for you’. Just let them bait the stewards I thought! And so it was on again; the new steward on the boundary line apparently looking like Gary Barlow from ‘Take That’, so he was treated to various chants such as ‘There’s only one Gary Barlow’, ‘He’s the fat Gary Barlow’ ‘Sing us a song if you’re Gary Barlow’ etc.

I can assure you this was much more entertaining than the cricket over the next agonising hour and a half. 350 runs went and gone, boring stuff. The Yorkshire tradition of blowing up long thing balloons (I kid you not), letting them jet off and cheering them onto the ground was the major activity. Poor old Ravi Bopara, who made a duck yesterday and put in a pathetic attempt at stopping four in today’s first over (ie he just let it go) copped stick. So it was pretty funny when Mitchell Johnson was caught near the boundary by Ravi off Stuart Broad for 27; all is forgotten! For ten minutes until the next misfield anyway.

Poor bloke next to me was dispatched to do a beer run after we saw some punters walking in with beers; returning empty handed ten minutes later. Didn’t help him but I was wrapt when Marcus North belted a six to bring up three figures in style, the Aussies now 406/8. Stuart Clark his partner after Siddle went for a golden duck, and proceeded to belt the case off the ball, smashing three sixes, the first going straight over bowler Swann’s head onto what will be the third tier of the new stand. He gave the crowd what they deserved after an extended middle session as Australia went all out for 445, North last man out for 110.

Broad was their best bowler but was still made to look good with six for; Jimmy Anderson opened today and bowled six straight before being taken out, the injury discussed before play eventually ruling him out, but he strangely remained on the field. Onions was canon fodder, and Swann, well I barely noticed him. Harmie went for a few runs but bowled OK. Not much imagination from Strauss, would have liked to see Collingwood roll his arm over for one or two before lunch or midway through the second session.

The final session’s first hour was incredibly boring as far as on field goes; off field it was in full swing, beer cup ‘snakes’ and then beer box castles the rage along with the balloons and more banter, and even a few ejections. Johnson came on second change in over 14 to cries of ‘who?!’ but soon wiped the smiles off everyone as he laid into Strauss and Cook.

More bar closure action, this time they shut our bars at 5pm without warning. Fortunately I’d just found out about a bar on the opposite side of the ground that sold bottles of Carlsberg cheaper than pints, so I was saved. Soon though this ‘Island’ bar was shut and that was that, perhaps mercifully as it was well and truly on. The opening pair put up quite a fight; it wasn’t until half five when Strauss was trapped plum LBW by Hilfenhaus. Poor old Ravi was next in, given out first ball LB despite clearly nicking the ball. You make your own luck in cricket but he was given a shocker.

What happened next is a bit of a blur. Johnson, with a great new haircut, ripped through not only Ian Bell (caught Punter) and Collingwood (LBW) but finally Cook to an absolute ripper caught by Haddin. The damage at stumps; England 82/5; Anderson needing a single to extend his record of 52 innings without a duck.

Almost felt sorry for the Poms today but after they got stuck into us at Lord’s they don’t completely deserve it; still that was a very different crowd and these guys, from all over but generally the North or the Midlands, were great craic and I’d love to come back here again some day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


To say myself and the lovely wife were looking forward to today at Lord's is an understatement. Last year we lived a stone's throw from the ground and vowed to do anything possible to get to the Ashes test the year after. Anything - even signing up to be a member of the England's Supporters Club 'Twelfth Man' thing. So despite yesterday's dodgy effort at bowling, we were looking forward to a speedy wrap-up of the tail, and some world-class batting from the Australians. And hopes of seeing the Queen and maybe even Ritchie Benaud. Made our way down from Edinburgh on the train before checking out our old neighbourhood to see what had changed.

The entrance ticket puzzled me initially; a maximum of 750mL of alcohol per person could be taken into the ground. A maximum! Gee, back home you're allowed a maximum of nothing and lucky if you can get full strength beer.

Despite gloomy forecasts and ominous showers the night before, when we had walked to St John's Wood from Harrow Road it was reasonably sunny and obviously the game would start on time. Our first setback of the day was soon to occur though, at the body search area they were letting through amounts by far in excess of 750mL alcohol through but my Australian flag was confiscated as a prohibited item; I was told to wait until a Green Team manager came over who took me to the 'Confiscated Items Office' where said flag was deposited and I was given a number so I could collect it later; not too bad really, I thought that was the last I was going to see of it again! They weren't this toffy at the Oval for the World T20; flags were allowed there, cans/bottles etc, not. As this was occurring Strauss went out, second ball of the day, bowled Hilfenhaus (sure I saw that name in Germany last weekend).

Went to take our seats in the Compton Stand, top deck. Fantastic view of the ground, although no cover. Had to wait to take our seats, and as we did so another wicket fell, this time Swann, caught Ponting bowled Siddle. This brought groans from the Poms and cheers from the small pattering of Aussies, and allowed us to find our seats. The steward handed us each two feet of kitchen absorbent towelling; a sign of things to come no doubt.

We were pretty much smack in the middle of legitimate members of the ECB Twelfth Man club, with a few interlopers like us in between. Next bay though was mainly folk from Australia, mostly 'grey ghosts' on package tours, kitted out in various supplied uniforms that did look a treat. Broad went out the very next over, like skipper Strauss bowled by Hilfenhaus. I felt cockahoop by now, despite the Poms being none-for nearly two hundred we were going to bowl the bastards out for well under 400, less than at Cardiff when the tail wagged.

Unfortunately, three bowlers had other ideas, Jimmy Anderson, Graeme Onions and Mitchell Johnson. Every run these guys made was cheered like the Ashes has been won; I mean every run. Soon the 400 was posted to justifiably immense cheers, as the Aussies bled runs at a ODI-rate of 5 an over. No cheers louder than for the bloke who popped his champagne cork into the lower deck, or for any Aussie overthrows. It actually surprised me how raucous the fans would be, I expected a very reserved crowd, not one cheering every quick single or cork popping.

England were finally all out for 405, time for a quick drink and coincidentally the Queen's arrival, as the St George's Cross was taken down and replaced with some sort of Royal Standard we can only assume. On a tour here last year we learned Prince Phillip had twice been president, so thought he might have been here today but not his more famous Mrs (or not Mrs as it was). The tenth wicket ended up costing 47 runs.

The Royal visit combined with Anderson and Onions' tail wagging efforts had their morale sky-high, and the young Aussie opener Phil Hughes was again the first wicket to fall for Australia, this time for just four runs, the wicket taken by Anderson in the third over. His replacement, skipper Ponting, didn't last much longer himself, out in mildly controversial circumstances two overs later, caught by his opposite number and bowled Anderson. Ponting wanted the umpires to give him out rather than walk, the decision passed to the third umpire who ruled the catch had been taken cleanly.

The Aussies were certainly in a bit of a hole now at 10 for 2 and Katich still on nought. By lunch they crept to 22 runs for no further loss, altogether a fairly disastrous session overall.

Not a lot of excitement after lunch; two rain delays at least gave us a chance to engage in a bit of polite banter with our neighbours, heard one bloke's story of his cricket trips to the Caribbean and how at The Oval in the 1980s the crowd would be three quarter West Indies and was a great atmosphere. We found the same at the World T20 game with the Windies back in May. After the first delay, the pompous bloke next to me returned to grab his bag, but seemed in an altered state of mind and hurried off.

On the wireless in between shipping forecasts, as usual Ian Chappell was in his element in the rain delay, telling very amusing stories of his time in the Australian side. Just love the way he tells stories and does his impersonations of others with a bit of an uneducated tone ,no matter who he's quoting, to illustrate his point. Also for the second game running, Dizzy Gillespie gets asked to tell us all about the time he made two hundred for Australia, in case nobody heard it at Cardiff last week.

Pompous bloke returned sans bag but holding laptop and blackberry as there's still a few spits of rain, and takes his seat. Showed us all a photo on his blackberry his mate sent him from the MCC bar. Shortly thereafter the mate returns, after this life-changing experience. Pompous one asks if he has his bag; no he says, so pompous one asks around after said bag; we had to turn away to hide the giggles. Lefties Katich and Hussey batted very sensibly, giving nothing but creeping towards fifty runs each to reach 87 for 2 by tea, held late at 4:20 due to the rain delays. Pompous one eventually realised he's lost the bag so set off at tea, promising to buy the folk behind a bottle of wine (he doesn't come back).

We were then treated to a bit of Cricketing royalty, as Ritchie Benaud joined others inducted into some sort of Cricket Hall of Fame. If only Ritchie or his younger broadcasting colleague Shane Warne could roll the arm over and let Nathan Hauritz rest that dislocated finger of his...

After resting following both rain delays, Flintoff took the ball first after tea. The Hundred was up shortly after, from 30 overs as I bet the Mrs Katich would reach 50 first. I soon lost this bet as Katich was out leg glancing into the deep, caught by Stuart Broad to the cheers from the Lord Tavener's stand off Onions for 48, Australia 103 for 3.

Flintoff gave Michael Clarke two high balls to start off with to 'Ooohs' from the fans, but Clarke was soon off the mark with a single. Hussey scored his fifty with a single from the next ball, even getting a few in our area to stand and clap politely. Next over however he made his first mistake, leaving a 95 mile an hour ball from Flintoff that removed his off stump to leave us 111 for 4, and the rot set in again.

Clarke was next to go, caught at mid-on by Cook from Anderson, 111 for 5 now. First talk of Australia needing to follow-on, but this talk was dismissed as wishful thinking, after all the two in now (North and Haddin) each made centuries at Cardiff (then again so did Katich and Ponting).

Haddin got off the mark stylishly, well sort of, three from a misfield that should've been a dot ball. But his technique was flawless as he gave every ball and his wicket the respect they deserved, meticulously counting the number of fielders each delivery so he knew where he could score. North was similarly conservative, but seemed content to block out each delivery and not make a single run. After umpteen balls and about half an hour he was out for a duck, bowled middle peg by that man Anderson, who by now was starting to menace with both bat and ball like Flintoff of 2005.

Started to feel a bit sorry for my clansman by now, as the English sportsmanship came to the fore again, en mass getting stuck into anyone in yellow so much as going for a slash getting a rousing 'cheerio' on the way out. It was now up to Johnson to atone somewhat for his bowling effort and have a long innings and let Haddin score. He was out soon however, playing a similar shot as Katich but in front of our stand, caught near the boundary by Cook off Broad for 4, 148 for 7 now as 'Are you Kiwis in disguise' was chanted out.

The 150 was brought up however Haddin was next to get himself out, a real shame after such a promising innings, out hooking, caught Cook off Broad for 28. Hauritz now took to the field, dodgy finger and all. Not surprisingly, an over later when the light was offered the Aussies charged from the field at 156 for 8 at a little before half past six. On the way out we saw our mate with the lost bag, only this time he was minus his laptop also and really looked in a state.

A perfect day's cricket for the English fan; the tail wagged, the Queen appeared, and Aussie batsman were literally shaking in their boots. And for many folk the £125 charge for a magnum of champagne was no object, so why wouldn't you be happy! For our lot though I didn't think it could have gone much worse really. But I will not forget today and will make sure next time we're on top of our game to ensure similar good sportsmanship next time I make it to an Ashes test at the MCG (or in any other sport for that matter). Still think we can 'save' this game, or even win it, just need the top four to get a century each in the follow on and skittle the Poms for under 200 in the fourth innings.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


AFL 2009 ROUND 15 BRISBANE LIONS V GEELONG CATS GEELONG are struggling against Brisbane at the Gabba tonight, trailing by 26 points at half time and 31 points at the final break. The Lions midfield are tearing apart the Cats, while the skill level from the Cats was often woeful, displaying almost a lack of interest. Debutante Tom Gillies acquainted himself well, while other rookies Nathan Djerrkura and Simon Hogan had little impact, the former playing out the game despite an obvious injury impeding his ability to run while Hogan booted a conciliatory goal in the final minutes to bring the Lions' margin back from 50 points. Twin forward towers Jonathan Brown and Daniel Bradshaw toweled up the the Cats' defence, Brown booting four goals from fifteen marks.

UK based Geelong fans, in the absence of Setanta, can watch the game live thanks to the AFL / Telstra:


BRISBANE LIONS 3.4, 10.7, 12.10, 16.12 (108) DEFEATED
GEELONG 3.2, 6.5, 7.9, 9.11 (65)

BRISBANE: Brown 4, Bradshaw 3, Black, Polkinghorne, Clark, Notting 2 , Redden
GEELONG: Rooke 2, Blake, Byrnes, Gamble, Hawkins, Mooney, Mumford, Hogan

BRISBANE: Black, Brown, Polkinghorne, Bradshaw
GEELONG: Chapman, Rooke, Mumford, Selwood

BRISBANE: Jed Adcock (serious knee injury - season ending)

CROWD:TBC at the Gabba, Brisbane

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

End of Aussie Rules in UK / Ireland / America?

Nice, tough and grinding win for Geelong over West Coast on Sunday. Didn't get to watch it live as I down in London for the (ill-fated) Twenty20 of the Aussie and Scottish sides, but recorded it, and watched last night from the comfort of home. Is this the last time this will happen?

Today's news is that Irish pay TV company Setanta are pretty much knackered and may shut down altogether this week as they head first into administration and then inevitably receivership once the creditors call it in. While rights such as English Premier League, FA Cup and England games will be snapped up pretty quick, there's little chance of anyone wanting AFL or NRL rights. And the poor old SPL may end up with nada, and the various GAA sports too.

As well as their Sports 1, 2 and Golf channels, Setanta also package up the various club football channels such as Rangers TV, Arsenal TV, Liverpool TV, Chelsea TV. And, interestingly, ESPN, the Mickey Mouse (Disney) owned global sports media giant's European channel. ESPN, fresh from ruining Cricinfo's simple website layout, are keen to get into the UK market and bid for the EPL rights last time round but lost out to Setanta and Sky, and are believed to be keen to pick over and carcuses left from Setanta.

While I hope it doesn't eventuate, looks like it'll be a reality soon enough. If ESPN takes over in an orderly fashion perhaps the coverage won't be interupted, but we'll see.

Sports covered by Setanta (other than football):

Indian Premier League Cricket
Rugby (various UK / Irish professional comps)
GAA (Hurling; football)
F1 Grand Prix Racing (in Ireland)
'UFC' (boxing / other fighting)
Major League Baseball
PGA Tour Golf


GEELONG 5.1 7.5 12.7 15.9 (99) DEFEATED
WEST COAST 1.3 5.6 8.9 11.11 (77)

GEELONG: Chapman 3, Hawkins 3, Ablett 2, Byrnes 2, Mooney, Stokes, Gamble, S Johnson, T Varcoe
WEST COAST: McKinley 2, Brown 2, Lynch 2, Cox, Kennedy, LeCras, Rosa, S Selwood

GEELONG: Ablett, Chapman, Ling, Scarlett, J Selwood
WEST COAST: Cox, Stenglein, Hunter, A Selwood, Hurn, Glass

Friday, June 5, 2009

English Football journos are clowns

Monday; Carlo Ancelotti is appointed as the new Chelsea manager. His very first interview, admittedly covered by ChelseaTV, is entirely in English. He may have even thrown in the odd 'to be honest' line just so show his street cred, but alas no 'nowotameaaaaan?'. Yet, the first thing analysts say is "well he really needs to improve on his English". Only one bloke, I think he was a normal Sky News (not Sky Sports News) reporter put someone back into their box. When the main news presenter said something about him only having managed in Italy (well only the premier league in the world over the past 15 years on average for those with short memories) and couldn't speak English properly. The reporter, on the scene at Stanford Bridge, pointed out that a. he managed AC Milan including UCL wins and b. only three players at Chelsea actually speak English as their mother tongue, the rest Carlo can deal with in Spanish, Italian, French etc as he pleases.

Ever since all I read I hear is about how his first battle is to learn English. FFS.... move on you gits.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cats smash Bombers; Looking forward to weekend down in London for Twenty20 Cricket

Geelong gave the Bombers a decent old hiding at the former Phone Dome last Sunday. Didn't get to watch or listen to the game, just caught up with the news that morning.

The Cats thumped Essendon by sixty-four points in front of just under 49,000 punters. Steve Johnson went one better than last week with six goals, while Cameron Mooney enjoyed his first game back from suspension bagging four. While the Bombers opened the goal scoring on the night, the Cats booted the next six to build a thirty-three point lead at quarter time and were never challenged from that point onwards, although the Bombers did outscore them six goals to three in the final term. Joel Corey was a late withdrawal with a footy injury, replaced by Shannon Byrnes who himself missed last week. Geelong skipper Tom Harley is another injury concern, having left the field clutching his right hamstring and set to miss at least the next two games.

GEELONG 6.4, 12.7, 17.13, 20.14 (134) DEFEATED
ESSENDON 1.1, 3.1, 5.3, 11.4 (70)

GEELONG: S.Johnson 6, Mooney 4, Selwood 2, Byrnes 2, Ablett 2, Ling 2, Rooke, Varcoe
ESSENDON: Neagle 3, Hocking 2, Lloyd, Dyson, McVeigh, Lonergan, Lovett, Stanton

GEELONG: S.Johnson, Selwood, Scarlett, Mackie, Ablett, Enright, Mooney, Byrnes, Ling
ESSENDON: Houli, Hooker, Hocking, Lovett

GEELONG: Harley (hamstring); Corey (foot - 'plantar fasciitis'), replaced in selected side by Byrnes; Rooke / Selwood - clash of heads
ESSENDON: Bellchambers (knee)

CROWD: 48,852 at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Docklands

Sunday, May 31, 2009


GEELONG just got over the line against the Bulldogs in the best game of the season thus far a few hours ago at Etihad Stadium. Bulldog Brad Johnson had a chance to be a hero after the siren but could only manage a behind, after marking right on the goal line but between the goal and behind posts. The Cats led by 36 points at one stage in the third term but the Bulldogs, led by Jason Akermanis in his 300th game, would not let the matter rest and pushed Geelong all the way and at one stage looked likelier winners.

GEELONG 6.4, 9.10, 14.12, 17.14 (116) DEFEATED
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.2, 8.3, 11.8, 17.12 (114)

GEELONG: S Johnson 5, Stokes 4, Chapman 3, Bartel, Gamble, Rooke, Selwood, Varcoe
WESTERN BULLDOGS: Akermanis, Johnson 4, Giansiracusa, Griffen 2, Cooney, Eagleton, Hill, Minson, Picken

GEELONG: G Ablett J Selwood S Johnson M Scarlett C Ling J Corey
WESTERN BULLDOGS: J Akermanis N Eagleton B Johnson R Griffen M Boyd D Cross

CROWD: 44,620 at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Docklands

Hate ‘watching’ a game online. It’s a bit like waiting for exam results. Only at least with the Cats now I’m pretty sure I aced the exam but you never know. Thinking about it, all through VCE I thought I’d nailed the likes of a Chemistry or English exam and ended up with a dodgy mark.

Why am I merely following the scores instead of listening via online radio? Well, my employer blocks streaming media, while my mobile phone carrier, Orange, has terrible 3G coverage in Edinburgh! I listened to most of the pre-game before my service was downgraded from 3G to a 2G or GPRS service; short answer, it ain’t workin’!

We seemed to be blitzing the Bullies as expected, to lead by 6 goals to 3 at quarter time. But when I started following the game more closely in the second term, I was in for a rude shock as the Dogs started piling on the goals. Giansiracusa seemed to be on fire, and had two ten minutes in. Worse was to come when Josh Hill’s goal put them in front for the first time.

God bless wee Matty Stokes, his second some three quarts of a minute later put us back in front, hopefully for good I thought at the time. Ryan Gamble added a customary behind while Stokes’ third increased the buffer to 11 points.

Something I have noticed is the ‘HTML’ version of AFL Game Day is quicker to update than the fancy one that shows plays, etc. I first saw our score updated to 9.8, and was then able to see how play was setup from half-back by David Johnson, the ball ran all the way around the Bullies’ 50 arc, up the right-wing to Gary Ablett who got it to Gamble, who marked around 35-40 out and converted for his first goal, hopefully one of many.

Bloody Adam Cooney, forgot to mention he’s a Brownlow Medallist, narrowed the lead to just under two goals in time-on. Hawkins added his second behind almost 33 minutes into the quarter, surely this would be the final score (and it was). Geelong up by thirteen points.

Looking at the team stats, a bit worried about Ablett; 25 touches already! Our next best were Selwood at 17 and the Two Corey’s with 15 apiece. The smiling assassin, Brad Johnson, needs attention; like Stokes, three goals already. Can’t make out who’s manning up on him, hopefully not poor old Tom Harley (still remember that game in round one, 2007)..

Finally got the internet radio working through work computer just in time for the second half! First goal, to Johnson, and the 3AW crew went ape droppings, 21 seconds in. Fortunately it was the ‘right’ Johnson, Stevie J and not the assassin. Cats by 19.

Chappy slammed home Geelong’s second almost straight after to make the lead 25. Johnson’s 4th brought he house down, I nearly missed it after having my office invaded by a persistent Kiwi who was trying to organise a pub lunch, but was able to confirm it from the main webpage.

Rooke’s goal had Rex’s alter ego the Fat Lady singing with fifteen minutes left on the clock and a 37 point lead to the Cats.

I am reliably told Scarlett’s on Welsh, Taylor on Brad Johnson and Harley fairly loose.

Ryan Griffen finally broke the Bulldogs’ goal drought with what was apparently an impressive goal, pegging the Cats’ lead back to 30.

The Cats ran the ball from their back pocket down to Stokes in the forward pocket, the ball not coming close to the Bulldogs’ hands at any stage. Stokes converted unconventionally but accurately, Geelong’s lead 36.

Aker, in his 300th, banged home a consolatory goal. Making a mockery of everyone writing his side’s chances off 15 minutes earlier, Aker slammed on another goal to cut the Cats’ lead to ‘just’ 22 points with a minute or two to go. Geelong kicked five goals two behinds for the quarter to the Bulldogs’ three five. Ablett, who had 25 possessions at half time, only added another 7 for 32. Plenty of Bulldogs players in double figures (17), not so many Cats (12).

Griffen got the Dogs off to the best start possible, cutting their deficit to just 16 points with a team lifting goal 40 seconds in . Steve Johnson’s fifth, which was created following a turnover by the Dogs in their forward line, really steadied the Cats but didn’t dent the Doggies’ enthusiasm nor the game’s intensity. With 16 minutes remaining, Griffen missed a chance to peg the lead back to 16. Eagleton too could only manage a behind. Still plenty of time left though, 13 minutes.

Nightmare ending coming; Matthew Boyd misses a fairly easy shot but big Wil Minson marks from point blank range, and makes no mistake. Eagleton goaled after the ballup and made the margin just 8 points, the margin now just 8 points. I hate this happening to Geelong; same thing happened in round one against the Hawks. But we normally pull through, at least. Hopefully when we finally face the Saints we smash them good and proper.

Steve Johnson could only manage a behind from a mark 35m out, the margin now 9 points. Panic stations in here... even more so when Hill had a set shot the next minute, but could only manage a poster.

7 ½ minutes to go, Cats by 8. Too long left to just try to hang onto the ball, they need a goal. And they got it! Harry Taylor setup a goal to Jimmy Bartel to pretty much snuff the Bulldogs out Surely that’s it? The Bulldogs need about three goals now.

Chappy had to go off with what sounded like a sickening finger dislocation (with blood and all). Ablett had a chance to really smash the game beyond doubt, but smashed the ball into the goalpost instead.

Brad Johnson, kept out of the game by Taylor for the middle two quarters, spoiled the Cats’ revival with his 4th goal with four and a half minutes remaining, the margin just 9 points.

How it happened I’ll never know but Aker managed to kick his fourth, the margin now only one kick (3 points), with plenty of minutes remaining (three and a half). He out-muscled his customary Geelong opponent from the last few years, David Johnson. The Cats might lose this now and it’ll ruin the entire weekend! Like last season’s round 9 shocker against Collingwood.

Travis Varcoe came from NOWHERE to kick Geelong’s 17th and possibly their final goal to increase the lead back to a more comfortable 9 points. Varcoe grabbed a ‘loose ball get’ just inside 50 and didn’t need to be asked twice to have a ping, with now just under two minutes to go.

Arg! Higgins decided he wasn’t happy with the ending of Geelong winning and with 64 seconds left on the clock kicked his first goal of the game and it was again just ONE KICK in it. Not long after the ballup Welsh took a mark 55m out from goal, but elected to try for Aker instead, who couldn’t take possession. And with 20 seconds to go the umpire took the ball in the Bulldogs’ forward pocket for a ballup. Brad Johnson took a mark just before the siren sounded between the goal and behind posts, quite a tough shot. He possibly played on but was told to go back by the umpire as the siren went. He could only manage a point however, the Cats winning by two points.

In a way, glad I'm here in sunny Edinburgh and not at the game, but it must've been a thriller. That's the lot of a Geelong fan sometimes though, even when you win you feel you've lost (face). People will cackle and carry on about how we nearly choked having been 6 goals up. I partially agree with them, too, we should have went on to win by 10 goals the way we were heading. It was a relief to win; though still expect the Bullogs and their fans would rather be in our shoes.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


ANOTHER change to watch the Cats on Setanta this weekend, that's two in a row now! Unfortunately we had a prior engagement so had to 'tape' the game on our Sky+ box and watch it the next morning. Due to an idiot neighbour hooking into our sat dish we'd had a few problems of late, so we were dismayed to see 'partial recording only' when we got up to watch the game. It appeared most of the game had recorded, possibly without Channel Ten's post-match coverage (we hoped). Most predictions were for the Cats to easily win this one ahead of their higher-stakes clash with the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium next weekend, and that's pretty much what happened, the Cats running out winners by 70 points.

GEELONG 5.3, 12.5, 15.9, 18.11 (119) DEFEATED
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2, 3.3, 6.6, 7.7 (49)

GEELONG: J Bartel 3, S Byrnes 3, A Mackie 2, T Varcoe 2, C Mooney 2, M Stokes 2, T Hawkins, C Ling, M Rooke, D Wojcinski
NORTH MELBOURNE: D Hale 2, H McIntosh 2, A Swallow, L Thomas, S Wright

GEELONG: (Cattery's best) Mackie, Johnson, Kelly, Bartel, Taylor, Byrnes; (Official) Johnson, Bartel, Kelly, Mackie, Selwood, Byrnes, Scarlett, Taylor, Blake
NORTH MELBOURNE: Hale, McIntosh, Harding, Petrie, Ross, Gibson

CROWD: 20,873 at Skilled Stadium, Geelong

One late change for the Cats, Paul Chapman pulling out with a sore lower back. His replacement, Tom Lonergan, lined up in the backline, with Joel Corey lining up in midfield instead of down back. The Roos had two forced changes of their own, tagger Brady Rawlings and Daniel Wells, replaced by two debutantes. One of whom, Sam Wright, hails from Katamatite, a wee town near Cobram that gave the Cats Darren Flanigan. Of course, other fairly famous recruits from the big smoke in Cobram were the Hocking brothers and John Barnes.

After a couple misses from Matthew Stokes and Cameron Mooney, Travis Varcoe opened up the goal scoring for the day, getting on the end of a string of handballs, goaling from about forty out. At the other end, David Hale, who caused massive problems last time with 8 goals, kicked North's first halfway through the quarter. Cam Mooney made ammends for his first miss, converting a set shot from 35 out. Hawkins played a role in both goals.

With just under four minutes to go, Varcoe kicked his second goal, this time playing on from a the most uncontested of uncontested marks at centre half forward to slam it home; Andrew Mackie picked him out. Bartel's first a minute or so later put the Cats in front by . Johnson brought the ball inside fifty, Hawkins unlucky not to take a mark before the bal spilled to Bartel. Bartel had a second less than a minute later, on the end of a string of handballs, the goal looking inevitable, the margin now out to 25 points, where the margin remained at quarter time.

Mooney slammed a torpedo over the fence from point blank range, benefiting from the doubt in the umpire's mind if he'd pushed out his opponent. Mooney slammed home his first from a free kick 35 out not long after, slamming home not only the kick but perhaps his critics.

Mackie playing well, along with Varcoe, Bartel and Corey about Geelong's best. Kelly, Mooney and Johnson also had plenty of impact, Johnson sitting around centre-wing rather than his customary role roaming with intent inside fifty. The backline hadn't had a lot to do but Scarlett, Taylor and Lonergan were really tearing it up. Milburn and Wojcinski had spent a bit of time on the bench.

Max Rooke finished off another team goal for the Cats, the boy from Casterton another beneficiary of Johnson's architecture from outside fifty. Stokes nearly had a contender for goal of the day, smothering an opponent's handball, stepping around him, skirting the boundary line before firing in a shot from thirty out for a behind. Stokes did have his first a few seconds later, Hawkins again involved in a chain of possessions before Stokes out-smarting everyone to kick it on his left from the goalsquare amoung ten other players.

David Wojcinski slammed home another goal for the Cats under 30 seconds later, accepting a handball from Corey just ouside the centre square, slamming it home from 55 out, Mooney shepherding it through, the margin now 56 points. As a sideshow, highlighted by the commentators, Mooney had a third run-in (that we know of) with opooanent, former Geelong VFL player Scott Thompson, this time appearing to give him a little nudge to the guts after the goal was given. After Stokes's first goal Thompson sat on top of Mooney, who made have held him to him. Towards the end of the first quarter Mooney missed the ball by miles in a marking contest, and while from our view should escape sanction that may not stop him being investigated.

Matt Thomas finally awakened the Kangaroos cheer squad, pouncing on a loose ball from a stoppage to cleverly dink home to an open goal square from just on fifty. Almost straightaway after the next ballup, Mackie continued his good game, caressing a goal from outside fifty with the wind behind him. Hard to tell who Mackie has been playing on, whenever he has the ball there seems to be no North player near him. He AGAIN drifted down from half-back at the next ballup, this time taking a mark just inside fifty. He may have rushed the kick but put it through the middle, just clearing the pack for his second. The margin now stood at 62 points. A charitable-ish free kick to Hale against Lonergan made the margin 56 points. By this stage Harry Taylor, who'd really had a good game, was having a spell on the bench with Joel Selwood having a spell down back, and actually had his own tagger despite playing in defence.

What is it with ordinary players getting heaps of tattoos? Today's target is Edwards of North, but so far this season other candidates include Collingwood's Dane Swan and former Hawk-Roo Jonathan Hay. No doubt plenty down at Freo, Melbourne and the Tigers but we don't see them play often enough to know.. be that as it may, the Cats led 12.5.77 to 3.3.21 at the main break, Geelong scoring seven goals to North's two, increasing their lead by 30 points

Some more injury worries for the Cats; at half time when Milburn emerged, it was to sit on the bench with his right foot bare and elevated, obviously taking no further part in the match. As always though, 'Dasher' wore that trademark smile of his (possibly John Newcombe-esc, in that he really isn't happy). Byrnes finally had his goal a couple minutes in, Ling pouncing on a mistake by North and Byrnes fed the handball by Enright to run into an open goal. The Roos dominated goal-scoring in the next ten minutes or so with two goals, one to ruckman Hamish McIntosh.

The game then really took on boring status, neither Geelong nor North troubling the goal recorders until Wojcinski and Bartel made something out of nothing for his third. The Cats had just had a let-off after Hale missed a sitter of a set shot for his third, Geelong creating another 'team goal' to push the margin back to 56 points. This really brought the game back to life, the Cats nearly scoring another after putting the North defenders under enourmous pressure in their own forward line next passage of play, the Roos escaping with a touched behind.

Johnson continued to spend most of his time in the centre of the ground, his labours helping Byrnes to his second goal and should have got Mooney his second but he missed a set shot. Thompson continued his relaxed demeanour in the box (and why wouldn't you?). His main problem will once again be who's going to play down back, this time veteran Milburn being the injury worry. David Johnson may well make another appearance, or perhaps Kane Tenace will get a run, with Corey / Bartel playing off half-back and Tenace the extra midfielder.

Didn't see much of Adam Simpson; Selwood too wasn't that prominant (for him), he and Corey attracting the attention of taggers. The boy from Katamatite, Dale Thomas lookalike Wright had his first AFL goal towards the end of the term, trimming the Cats' lead to 57 points, which stood as the margin at the final break, the Cats outscoring the Roos by 1 behind that quarter. The game had lost all intensity by this point, the crowd a bit of interest. Our pick of the best for the Cats to this stage were Johnson, Mackie and Kelly, with Varcoe getting an honourable mention. The third quarter was a day when the smaller players such as Kelly, Varcoe, Wojcinski, Byrnes and Stokes got plenty of the ball.

Byrnes booted his third 3 minutes into the final term, finishing off another team goal (an overused term but the best description). Rooke set it up, his third bone crunching effort getting the ball to Byrnes whose split-second snap was a good one. Geelong's 'mayor' Cameron Ling had his first courtesy of Varcoe and Mooney, Mooney marking just on fifty but handballing to nearby Ling who slotted home from outside the line to an open goal square.

The game needed to be euthanised in the last 7-8 minutes, absolutely nothing happening as the Cats racked up possession after possession. Stokes' second rounded off a professional 70 point win. The Cats play the Bulldogs in another 'home' game at Etihad Stadium this Friday night.

The couch-sitter's observations during the game:

Mooney needs to trim his hair
Byrnes hopeless
Harley Mr Media
Varcoe's facial hair growth seems to have improved his game
Geelong Doctor in force
'Kick it pretty boy' 'stop feeding your face' - comments as Hawkins lined up for goal from a free kick in the 2nd quarter. 'My goodness me he's kicked a goal; maybe they've done kicking practice like Carlton did a couple weeks ago'


KANGAROOS affiliated North Ballarat out-gunned Geelong in the VFL match curtain-raiser earlier in the day. James Podsiadly kicked another big bag of goals, his third bag of five or more so far this season.

NORTH BALLARAT 3.4 9.8 12.8 17.9 (111) DEF
GEELONG 2.3 4.4 6.9 9.9 (63)

GOALS: NORTH BALLARAT : J. Smith 3, J. Spolding 3, B. Driscoll 2, D. Chester 2, C. Jones 2, M. Wundke 2, B. Goodes, W. Benjamin, T. Cartledge
GEELONG: J. Podsiadly 5, A. Varcoe, T. West, J. Laidler, J. Hollmer

BEST: NORTH BALLARAT : M. Sewell, B. Goodes, O. Stephenson, C. Garlett, C. Jones, T. Cartledge
GEELONG: K. Tenace, J. Podsiadly, S. Hogan, D. Johnson, N. Djerrkura, J. Simpkin

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cats on TV in the UK this week! (About time)

Joy! A month after I returned to Scotland, Setanta are finally showing the Cats this weekend. And I get to write an article that should get published at the end of it (wonder if I can claim Setanta on the tax that I aren't actually paying anyway? Hmm..) I keep thinking this may be someone's idea of a sick joke, but two days out I'm pretty sure it'll be on now, at 5am this Saturday.

Further good news; the bastards at the UK Border Agency finally approved The Cattery's admin manager's visa and although they're trying it on in terms of actually returning the passport in a timely manner, she should be resuming her posie over here soon.

Ironically there may be more AFL watchers in Scotland now than in England. Main reason being that Setanta holds the exclusive rights to the Scottish Premier League, so a fair few punters up here actually have it (plus more people up north go for Virgin instead of Sky, and often get Setanta thrown in). Am yet to spot any Geelong gear up here but have noticed a bird at the gym wears a Bombers jumper a couple times a week, and spotted another clown in a Bombers scarf on Monday. Even seen Melbourne Victory merchandise; alas haven't found any fellow Catters just yet.

The Cats are boosted by the return of Captain and Vice Captain Tom Harley and Cameron Ling, respectively. Of course they have lost Gary Ablett for a few weeks, but the team shouldn't feel it (at least not against the Swans). David Johnson, who played the last two weeks, has been dropped. Sydney made no changes after defeating Richmond last week.

In the VFL the Cats are attempting to get their first win, in their first home game of the season against Werribee prior to the AFL match. Werribee however have two wins out of three and will be no pushover that's for sure. We're keen to see how Tom Lonergan, Nathan Djerrkura, Ryan Gamble and particularly Trent West go.

Cats by 37 points, big Tom Hawkins to bag four.

Monday, May 4, 2009

GEELONG again outclassed an opposition in Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday , but will miss Brownlow favourite Gary Ablett for three weeks with a groin injury.

While I spent the weekend tracing family history in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Cats were running rings around the Demons, who in fairness got a lot closer than the Lions did the week before at Skilled Stadium. Geelong led at every change to win by forty-three points, but it may yet come at a great cost in the longer term for Gary Ablett. The midfield maestro was below par and spent the final quarter on the bench as fellow class midfielders Paul Chapman, Joel Selwood and 2007 Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel kept things ticking over.

The reasons for Ablett's benching were revealed afterwards, it being confirmed he would miss up to three weeks with a groin complaint. In the VFL the 'Bendigo Bank Cats' were overran by an experienced Port Melbourne side in the final term to go down by two goals after leading by fifteen points at three quarter time. They remain winless down the bottom of the ladder, third last on percentage from Frankston and Bendigo. James Podsiadly, formerlly of Werribee Tigers fame (literally) kicked a bag of five to go with his three in round one. The other two multiple goalkickers, Ben Johnson and Scott Beattie, were also VFL only listed players ('top up' players if you like, but we don't).


As eluded to earlier, we were not able to watch nor listen to the game live, being on the road for the weekend in Denmark. But fortunately thanks to what we can only presume to be Channel Seven's intervention, we were able to watch the game online. Initially I wasn't looking forward to it, given the winning margin looked so-so compared to last week. But we were in for a treat of sorts.

For once, a hyped-up Channel 7 pre-game promo actually lived up to the hype; a video collage juxtaposing Garys Senior and Junior and about either's ability to pull a crowd conjured up images of various other father-son personality cults such as the Two Kims in North Korea and the Two Marks at Ansett. I digress; 'The Artistry of Ablett' as it was billed actually started off on script, little Gary kicking his first goal within literally NINE seconds. After a slightly wayward bounce, Mark Blake knocked the ball forward. Ablett, who was already moving at speed, grabbed the ball, bounced once three metres from the edge of the square and when he kicked (6 seconds gone) was just inside fifty. As Bruce pointed out a minute or so later, it was his 200th career goal.

While we're still on the pre-match, the highlights from 2007 were illuminating; up front was not only Cam Mooney but one Nathan Ablett; he really only spent the year in that spot but it's clear the Cats still haven't convinced fans, and maybe not themselves, they're sorted out the second tall just yet.

The Cats' second and 'The Camster' Mooney's first was created by David Wojcinski, who is now officially 'back'. Wojcinski ingeniously won the ball within Melbourne's half, took two bounces and disposed of the ball 60 metres from goal. The result was by no means certain however, Mooney marking right on the goalline between the goal and behind posts, the goal a confidence builder for the 2007 All Australian.

After ten minutes of messing around by the Cats and good, honest footy from the Dees, Melbourne hit the front with their second from Mitch Morton, with two minutes to go in the quarter. Unfortunately for Morton, his kick out on the full in Geelong's forward pocket helped Mooney to his second and the Cats to the quarter time lead.

The opening five minutes of the second quarter pretty much belonged to the Dees, but it was Steve Johnson who broke the deadlock, accepting a handpass from Joel Corey just outside fifty and running on for a goal. Geelong's second a couple minutes later was sparked by Tom Hawkins, who took possession on the lead under pressure, handballing to a free man (Wojcinski) who spotted out Travis Varcoe in the goalsquare.

With eleven minutes to go the Cats had piled on three goals to the Demons' none, to lead by twenty-four points. Unfortunately inaccuracy was setting in, Mooney and Hawkins each missing getable shots at goal, for just one behind between them.

As with last week, the Melbourne president, former great and Brownlow medallist Jim Stynes, was shown sitting with regular 'punters' (punters with tweed hey?) in the style seen recently by English sports retailer Mike Ashley at Newcastle games. Incidentally the side wearing a sinful strip is about to get relegated, something that would have happened to the Dees by now had we had such as system. Good luck to him. He gave a rousing "Yeah! Yeah!" when Russell Robertson kicked his 400th goal for the club.

David Johnson, in his second game of the season, had plenty of involvement in setting up play from the backline, along with Matthew Scarlett and Corey Enright. Darren Milburn also did his best to demonstrate that he's not too old just yet. Shannon Byrnes lost possession a little too easy a couple of times. XXXX Meeson, recruited from Adelaide but originally from Modewarre / Geelong Falcons, .

With just over three minutes to go Stokes kicked his first, the Cats had seven goals. But if the Dees thought they'd be able to see the game out to half time they were wrong; the Cats booted another two goals and two behinds to lead by thirty-two points at the main break. The crowd pleaser was the first, Max Rooke running from the 50m arc to accept a handpass in the goalsquare from Stokes for a goal that looked easy but, repeated over a season, is what wins Premierships. Steve Johnson's goal a minute later was another case in point, and from our perspective was the correct call from the goal umpire; just because the TV cameras were obscured doesn't mean someone else (ie. the umpire who was RIGHT THERE) didn't get a good luck at it. (See below).


Paul Chapman finally opened the goal scoring midway through the term from outside fifty. Earlier, Joel Selwood took a courageous mark (See below). At one stage Melbourne were outscoring Geelong for the quarter but the Cats slammed home the final two goals of the quarter to increase their lead at three quarter time to forty-six points. Johnson and Rooke each kicked their fourth and second goals (and final) of the game.


Tom Hawkins, relatively quiet during the middle period of the game, got on the board with Geelong's first of the final term. He'll be in against the Swans next week at Skilled Stadium. A minute later Mooney kicked another behind for himself, one of twenty-one in all by the Cats of the match.

Paul Chapman was again one of Geelong's best, and should take over the mantle from Ablett in the next month against the Swans, Kangaroos and Bulldogs in a run of three 'home' games for the Cats. Commentators talk too often in clichés but Chapman really is benefiting from an excellent pre-season and while the season's only six rounds old looks like he has shaken off persistent hamstring injuries he suffered from in 2008, restricting him to work more as forward than playing a significant role in midfield.

Geelong's final goal came from Varcoe (his second), another 'team goal' by the Cats, no less than six players getting hands on the ball in the seconds leading to the goal. It started from a smother by Jimmy Bartel in the centre, and after Wojcinski's run and carry the ball ended up in the goalsquare, passed from Mooney to Hawkins then finally to the waiting Varcoe who still had plenty of work to do to put the ball between the big sticks. Neither team scored in the final two minutes of play, Geelong fans going home happy with the four points (but less so about losing Ablett), Melbourne fans happy to see their young players take it to the Cats.

The Cats host the Swans at home next Saturday afternoon, a game FINALLY to be broadcast to the UK / Ireland by Setanta Sports. The Cattery however may have to watch the game on slight delay, picking up the other half from Glasgow airport after the UK border gardaí finally approved the visas! Until then, GO CATS!

GEELONG 3.3, 9.8, 12.17, 15.21 (111) DEFEATED
MELBOURNE 2.4, 4.6, 6.7, 10.8 (68)

GEELONG: S.Johnson 4, Mooney 3, Varcoe 2, Rooke 2, Stokes, Ablett, Hawkins, Chapman
MELBOURNE: Robertson 3, Miller 2, Johnson, Morton, Bennell, Petterd, Sylvia

GEELONG: Chapman, Bartel, S.Johnson, Selwood, Enright, Mackie
MELBOURNE: Davey, Robertson, Morton, Sylvia, Frawley, McLean

CROWD: 36,932 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

FIELD: Hayden Kennedy (7) Heath Ryan (14) Jeff Dalgleish (16) EM: Shane Stewart (10)
BOUNDARY: Matthew Payton Chris Gordon Mitch Lefevre Mark Foster
GOAL: Darren Mills Stephen Williams EM: Luke Walker

GEELONG: Gary Ablett, left adductor (a groin injury in other words). The City of Greater Geelong remains in a trading halt pending further scans.


PREMATCH ODDS: Geelong $1.01 - $1.04; Melbourne $300 - 400 (OK we're kidding, but that's the only condition we'd have backed them

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cats v Lions

FINALLY had a chance to watch highlights of the game tonight. Not too happy with the picture quality of Setanta but it didn't take anything away from the extraordinary skill level of our boys in such crappy conditions. How Rooke and Ablett kicked their goals are beyond me.

A highlight, on top of Rooke & Ablett's goals of course, was when Cam Mooney inexplicably trundled a pass along the ground in to Tom Hawkins, who had one opponent on him and another on the way, somehow took possession and snapped it over his right shoulder for a goal.

Hopefully some kind person will seed the game before too long so I can watch it in all its glory.

Fast forwarded through the first five games, so only saw our game and Carlton/Bulldogs, Melbourne/Adelaide. Gee the final match was atrocious; mercifully they didn't actually show any of the post half-time action and stuck with the first couple quarters. The Blues Bulldogs game was worth a look however, big Fev (who looks more and more like Willie Mason each time I see the prick) kicked a couple rippers, one he had absolutely no right to kick and bettered Hawkins' effort. Little Eddie Betts kicked another ripper.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What's the difference between Alan Shearer and Newcastle?

The answer of course: Alan Shearer will be on MOTD next season!

For the uninitiated, one of the biggest and oldest clubs, and one with the worst strip as it resembles Collingwood and Juventus, Newcastle United is now almost certain to be booted out, or relegated from, the Premier League, after they had a goalless draw at home against Portsmouth tonight. Their manager of three games now, club legend Alan Shearer, is also almost certain to resume his day job as a pundit on the Saturday night institution of a TV show, 'Match of the Day'. A bit like if when Paul Roos took over towards the end of 2002, finishes bottom of the ladder. In our game you just carry on the next season with heaps of gimme draft picks, but in 'football' it ain't like that, you just get kicked down to the next level and someone else takes their place. Most people get sacked, club owners get tired of it all and kind of wander off. Good for those in lower leagues as it gives you hope; when you get relegated you may think otherwise. It'll never happen to the mighty Gooners!

Tell you what, Aussie Rules (it isn't called AFL, that's the number one comp, all the other forms of the game are Australian Rules football or Aussie Rules) would be a hell of a lot different. Most grades of the game still don't have it; from my time out in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne it certainly made the EFL (or is it the EDFL) worth keeping an eye on. Football Geelong tried to get it up and running in the mid-1990's when the GFL and BFL tied up but clubs (such as the ones I follow, Grovedale and Leopold) got scared and it's gone nowhere since.

What if there were relegation in the AFL? For a start we'd probably have avoided artificial Premierships from the likes of Brisbane, Hawthorn and of course Sydney. Don't think it's ever going to happen in my lifetime however, the game just isn't big enough, far too big a gap between the elite and state levels.

Out of all soccer clubs worldwide, what club would Geelong most resemble?