The Swans were brave but ultimately not good enough on the day as they finished 51 points astern of Geelong at Skilled Stadium on Saturday. The Cats made it a magnificent seven despite the absence of the leading gun Gary Ablett. In the first quarter of the game the Swans started solidly and had Geelong playing their style of football. The first goal of the game arrived belatedly, slot through by Michael O’Loughlin after some comedic misses by Steve Johnson and Adam Goodes earlier in the quarter.
The Cats sprung into life in the second quarter as the goals began to flow. Geelong were sparked by the efforts of Steve Johnson who was causing major headaches for the Sydney defence. Paul Bevan was the Swan who was assigned to run with Johnson and he did his best but the Dog was well and truly in the zone and his efforts stood out like a beacon as many star players struggled to get going. For Geelong the other contributors were Joel Selwood yet again as well as Joel Corey, Corey Enright and James Kelly who stood up in the absence of Gary Ablett to assume a greater role. The defence was solid with Harry Taylor and the returning captain Tom Harley serviceable. Matthew Scarlett totally eclipsed an increasingly frustrated Barry Hall but he wasn’t helped by some shoddy delivery at times.
Too much was left to too few for the Swans. Michael O’Loughlin showed flashes of brilliance and Adam Goodes was a threat all day. Jarred McVeigh was shut out of the contest, tagged by Cameron Ling in an intelligent match up by Bomber Thompson. In the past Adam Goodes had been one of the few to slip the leash of Cameron Ling but the Geelong tagger did a fine job on the dangerous McVeigh and this really restricted Sydney’s drive.
The Swans were given an unexpected boost with a bemusing 50 metre penalty to Adam Goodes and another goal that resulted from a bounce free 30 metre run from Martin Mattner but Geelong always appeared to have the answers. Apart from the standout effort of Steve Johnson it was a total team effort by Geelong which would have pleased Mark Thompson immensely.
Sydney have shown not only during this game but all season that they are a team that makes you come out and beat them and they’ll fight hard to retain their top eight spot. Geelong on the other hand have shown that despite some major absences throughout the first seven weeks that they can still produce dominating performances and this must be a sobering thought for opposition teams.
Geelong – 1.5, 8.7, 12.10, 17.14.116
Sydney – 1.2, 4.3, 7.4, 10.5.65
Geelong: S Johnson, Enright, Corey, Kelly, Scarlett, J Selwood, Stokes
Sydney: Goodes, O’Loughlin, Kirk, J Bolton
Geelong: S Johnson 4, Mooney, Stokes, Hawkins 3, Byrnes, Kelly, Bartel, Rooke
Sydney: O’Loughlin 3, Goodes, Grundy 2, Moore, Meredith, J Bolton