Geelong (4.2 7.3 13.8 19.12 126)
GWS (4.2 7.3 8.5 9.7 61)
Geelong had a dismal and disjointed preparation to their clash against the GWS Giants, Daniel Menzel suffering a knee injury that will most likely see him require another reconstruction, and Allen Christensen was taken to hospital after being knocked out in the VFL curtain raiser. The firsts were faring no better, with Steve Motlop, and the two Coreys, Enright and Joel, all late withdrawals with Billie Smedts, Jesse Stringer and Tom Gillies coming in.
GWS came ready to play, and were hard at the footy from the outset. The Giants were leading the contested possessions, centre clearances and on the scoreboard with early goals to Stephen Conigilo, James Cameron, who was clamping everything that came to him, and Adam Treloar for an unexpected 18 – 0 lead after nine minutes. To make matters worse for the Geelong, Joel Selwood was off the field and straight down to the rooms with a leg injury.
Old hands lifted for the Cats, Paul Chapman finally getting them on the board with a bustling behind, Steve Johnson had two opportunistic shots, one from about 70 metres out, which was just cruelled by the last bounce, and the other a running across the body shot from deep in the pocket that hit the post.
James Podsiadly kicked the Cats first goal after a solid contested grab, but Giants captain Callan Ward hit right back to restore the lead to 11. Podsiadly got on the end of a quick kick from the middle from Bartel – who was getting amongst it – and surprise packet full forward Harry Taylor benefitted from a downfield free kick to give the Cats the lead for the first time in the game with two minutes left in the quarter. A late Giants behind saw the scores locked at the siren, the visitors leading the contested possessions 47 – 39 and the clearances 15 to nine.
The Giants started the second quarter in the same manner as the first, Dylan Shiel kicked a great long-range goal in the second minute, before Cameron took his fifth mark and goaled for a twelve point lead and the team’s highest first half score for 2012.
For the Cats Taylor was grabbing plenty up forward, and Chapman lifted his involvement and kicked his 300th career goal to tie the scores. Coniglio and Ward were ripping in for the Giants, and after a late goal to Treloar the contest was evenly poised at 45 apiece at half time, though the Cats had notably gone ahead in the contested possession tally, with James Kelly getting a stack of it and Johnson getting amongst the goal kickers.
The Giants had played their most impressive half of footy for the season, and a seething Chapman called the Cats in for a huddle before heading to the sheds.
Inexperience and inevitability caught up with the Giants in the second half, the Cats piling on 12 goals to two, and the day belonging to make-shift full forward Harry Taylor. The dual-premiership and All Australian defender ended up kicking six goals (and a fair few backman-kick behinds) to celebrate his 100th milestone game, and his son’s birthday, Johnson kicked five while Bartel and Kelly both ended up with 32 touches. The Giants, while valiant, just tired, and were too easily bumped off the ball, their huge lead in the tackle count more to do with the chasing their opponents to the footy, and left too much for Cameron to do up forward.
Geelong were solid, if not spectacular in their 65 point win, and will most likely miss Kelly for a few weeks after a callous bump to the head of Shiel, and know they have to lift again to stand alongside the top sides.
3) Jimmy Bartel
2) James Kelly
1) Harry Taylor
Geelong: Taylor, Bartel, Kelly, Johnson, Chapman, Kelly
GWS: Coniglio, Greene, Cameron, Shiel
Geelong: Taylor 6, Johnson 5, Podsiadly 3, Chapman 2, Guthrie, Stephensen, Stringer
GWS: Cameron 2, Shiel 2, Treloar 2, Coniglio, Tyson Ward
Geelong: Selwood (first quarter, returned to the field third quarter)
GWS: Jacob Townsend (head, subbed off second quarter)