Geelong delivered a potentially fatal blow to Sydney’s premiership hopes for 2008 by recording a 39 point win at ANZ Stadium last night. The Swans dropped out of the top four last night with the loss although Paul Roos would have been happy with the Swans efforts for most of the match.
Despite kicking the opener through Brett Kirk, the Cats jumped the Swans and kicked the next seven goals before a late rally in the first brought Sydney back into the game. The Cats looked very light on in defence with Milburn not selected and Matthew Scarlett rested because of his back related hamstring issues. An early inspection of the maligned turf at ANZ found the surface to be quite hard so as Geelong tend to do, they took no risks with the gun fullback. In Scarlett and Milburn’s absence Barry Hall had a night out, totally outpointing Harry Taylor to kick five goals. Brett Kirk, Marty Mattner and Jared Crouch played pretty well in the first quarter in the half and during the latter part of the first term and the majority of the second a satisfied Roos would have noted that the game was being played on Sydney’s terms.
The match was turned on its head in the third quarter when Geelong unleashed a goal barrage and Geelong’s efforts up forward were bolstered by the second stringers in Tom Lonergan, Shannon Byrnes, Travis Varcoe and Brent Prismall. Of the usual suspects Gary Ablett returned to top form with a three goal haul, backman for a day Joel Corey thrashed Ryan O’Keefe and Tom Harley was most effective in his role in dropping back to assist defenders Taylor and Hunt with Ted Richards not quite having the same effect as the loose man in defence at the other end.
At the start of the game Sydney were prepared to play an open style of game and a shootout looked on the cards. Then Sydney dropped one back in traditional fashion to lock it up again. The third quarter ended the match as a contest and Paul Roos delved deep into his considerable bag of tricks and the Swan workrate was fantastic throughout. However, Geelong were too good on the night prompting the Sydney coach to declare them unbeatable. While that remains to be seen it is clear that this breed of Cat with it’s fast play on style is also adaptable enought to play shutdown footy as well and has the depth to cover injuries over the journey. For Sydney’s part, they played pretty well and if they replicate last nights effort they should be able to end the Collingwood jinx next week.
Geelong 7.4 9.8 16.10 – 20.13.133
Sydney 4.1 6.4 8.5 – 14.10.94
Geelong: Ablett, Enright, Corey, Bartel, Kelly, Harley
Sydney: Hall, Kirk, C Bolton, Bevan, Kennelly
Geelong: Lonergan, Ablett, Byrnes 3, Mooney, Varcoe, Johnson 2, Stokes, Prismall, Bartel, Gamble, Ottens
Sydney: Hall 5, Moore, Goodes, McVeigh 2, Kirk, Mattner, Bird