GEELONG 4.1 7.5 10.6 12.7 (79)
BRISBANE LIONS 0.5 0.7 1.9 4.17 (41)
Brisbane champion Simon Black would have gone into his 300th game at the Gabba tonight, comfortable in the knowledge that he’d seen and done it all over the course of a spectacular career. One thing he is unlikely to have seen however, is conditions quite this wet and soggy.
Sub-tropical, torrential rain hammered down on players and diggers alike as the ANZAC service was observed pre-match, ensuring that the majority of the mid-week strategic planning went out the window.
The conditions were as horrendous and water-logged as almost any modern player would have seen.
When the action began, Geelong showed why they have been considered the best wet weather side for quite some time.
Whilst Daniel Rich found more of the ball than any other in the first quarter, Tom Hawkins was at his devastating best, slotting the opening goal and two more before the first break.
It wasn’t that Brisbane couldn’t win their fair share of possession. Tom Rockliff, Jack Redden and Rich were amongst other talented Brisbane youngsters winning plenty of the ball between the arcs, which resulted in the Lions having similar numbers in the possession and inside 50 columns as their counter parts.
The difference was that the more experienced Geelong outfit consistently made the right decisions at the right times.
The Cats seemed to tap to advantage at the right times, and blaze long at the right times.
They moved the ball on with quick, speculative hands at the right times, and held the ball in for a re-start at the right times.
Even more importantly, they generally managed to have numbers at the contest, as well as one or two men standing 45 metres defensive side of the rolling maul in order to win the contest when Brisbane kicked long.
The other glaring difference was the quality of the inside 50s. Brisbane largely fought and scrambled their way to a position from which they could snap for goal under pressure, and seven behinds was the result at the half. Geelong however, penetrated much deeper with their forward entries, as the majority of their seven first-half goals came from shots taken from within 30 metres.
As the second half progressed, heavy legs set in and scoring became even more difficult on the rain soaked Gabba surface. Paul Chapman was in his element and winning plenty of contested footy, and Geelong continued on their merry way as fatigue set in for many of the Brisbane youngsters.
The effort from the less experienced Lions however cannot be questioned. On a night where many young sides would have lowered their work rate or perhaps even capitulated to the bigger bodied Cats, especially with Taylor Hunt keeping the milestone man Simon Black quiet, Brisbane kept up their attack on the ball and man and won the last quarter.
3 – Tom Hawkins
2 – Tom Rockliff
1 – Paul Chapman
Geelong: Hawkins 6, Chapman 2, Corey, Selwood, Duncan, Motlop.
Brisbane Lions: McGrath, Brown, Black, Rockliff.
Geelong: Hawkins, Chapman, Corey, Christensen, Selwood, Hunt.
Brisbane Lions: Rockliff, Rich, Hudson, Black.
UMPIRES: B Ryan, C Kamolins, S McInerney.
CROWD: 15,528 at the Gabba.