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.

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