Trade Period Week 2 Wrap: Free agency done, chaos to come

Collingwood forward Chris Dawes got a fresh start in the first trade of the week, moving to Melbourne for a first round pick.

Free agency is over and the final week of the trade period looms large as another busy week has finished up. It started predictably slow, but finished with a flurry as a host of players – some expected, some not so much so, found new homes. There was a lot of speculation and plenty of intentions being announced, leaving us ready for a chaotic final week.

Completed trades are highlighted in bold and players either leaving their clubs, re-signing or nominating another club are highlighted in italics. To just see the list of completed trades and free agency movements, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Monday/Tuesday

Monday morning was all about North Melbourne, with both good and bad news coming through for their fans. The good was that in demand key forward Lachie Hansen had re-signed with the club, taking him off the table. The bad was that, like teammate Cruize Garlett had late last week, speedster Matt Campbell announced his intentions to depart the club.

Less surprising news from the Arden St camp came with talks that ruckman Hamish McIntosh’s talks with Geelong had advanced. Tall utility Cam Pedersen remained set to go to Melbourne, but there was little noise and no deal struck during the week.

Further on the big-man front, sought after inaugural Greater Western Sydney ruckman Jonathan Giles officially re-signed with the Giants for three years after they reached a contract agreement.

It was a quiet Monday after that, but things started to heat up on Tuesday.

St Kilda’s hopes were dashed slightly as West Coast declared in-demand defender Mitch Brown would not be traded. Shortly after, as expected, Chris Dawes became a Demon as Melbourne traded picks 20 and 45 for Dawes and Collingwood’s pick 58.

Wednesday

News came out that Sydney forward Jesse White was seen with Adelaide players in the morning, creating further interest in the Kurt Tippett saga. However, even though White went to meet Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson, no further news came on a possible deal during the week.

Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh said that the Pies were ‘done and dusted’ after trading Dawes, but this proved not to be the case a couple of days later, as the Pies circled around Hawthorn winger Clinton Young.

Despite being chased, Scott Gumbleton rewarded Essendon’s patience and remained a Bomber.

There were no confirmed trades for the day, but the rumour mill went into overdrive. Melbourne coach Mark Neeld confirmed that even though they had acquired Dawes, they were still chasing North Melbourne utility Cameron Pederson and Essendon forward Scott Gumbleton. Soon after, Essendon player manager retorted that the Bombers were confident of keeping Gumbleton, and this indeed proved the case as he re-signed later in the week.

The Bulldogs, St Kilda and Essendon all expressed interest in West Coast inside-midfielder Koby Stevens, and his manager said his decision would be made soon. Stevens, on Friday, nominated the Western Bulldogs as his preferred destination, but no deal was struck in the second week of the trade period.

Thursday

The second last day of the week was all about Geelong, with the Cats reeling in two big fish they’d eyed off, and the full details of the Josh Caddy deal were revealed.

In the end, the Cats traded their first-round compensation pick (as was known), and the sweetener was Geelong’s third round pick, #55 at the time of the deal.

Just after lunch, Geelong confirmed that a deal had been struck with unrestricted free agent Jared Rivers. The Melbourne defender was obviously picked up to try and fill the immense void left by Matthew Scarlett’s retirement. Rivers said his decision came down to wanting to achieve on-field success during his career, having recently turned 28.

The many faces of Hamish McIntosh – one of two big men to become a Cat as Geelong had a thorough Thursday in the trade period.

After replacing Scarlett, the Cats turned their attention to their ruck stocks and struck a deal with North Melbourne for Hamish McIntosh. The Kangaroo big man had confirmed he wanted to become a Cat the week before, but it took a few days for a suitable deal to be found. He passed the Geelong medical and the Cats parted with their second-round draft pick (#36) to snap him up. Although McIntosh had struggled with injury, Geelong were obviously happy enough with the 28 year old’s condition after his LARS operation during the year. He will bolster their stocks while their young ruck group gets ready for full-time AFL duties.

The Kangaroos said they were ‘disappointed’ to lose McIntosh, but it seemed an obvious move after McIntosh’s manager confirmed that the ruck tandem of number one ruck Todd Goldstein and McIntosh wasn’t working, and wasn’t going to.

News trickled out during the night that Clinton Young had joined the Magpies after touring their facilities, but confirmation didn’t come out until the next morning.

Friday

The aforementioned Clinton Young move came to fruition, with Young making the tough choice to leave the Hawks so that he could spend more time on his preferred position on the wing.

It was a quiet morning, but things came alive later in the day. After rumours that Richmond ruckman Angus Graham was on the move for more opportunity, the Adelaide Crows grabbed the big man for a 10-spot draft downgrade. Adelaide traded pick 40 to the Tigers for Graham and pick 50.

The Brisbane Lions also looked towards big men after failing to snare Kurt Tippett or Chris Dawes, who they had expressed interest in. News came out that they were now looking towards Melbourne ruck/forward Stefan Martin, perhaps targeting him after Melbourne’s recruitment of Dawes.

That ended the week in terms of trades, but there was still one more card to be played for the day. As free agency ended for 2012, the compensation picks were announced. St Kilda and Port Adelaide were the big winners, with Hawthorn (pick 66 for Clinton Young and Tom Murphy) and Adelaide (nothing for Chris Knights) coming out unhappy. See below for the full list of compensation picks awarded.

What will the last week hold?

As most of us are aware, as trade time heads towards its close there is usually a scramble by clubs to get deals done. So what can we expect?

The Saints, being fairly quiet so far, are expected to be big players. Farren Ray is rumoured to be on the move to Melbourne and it has been clear for a while that St Kilda are chasing West Coast’s Mitch Brown and Gold Coast’s Tom Hickey. Young midfielder Jamie Cripps has requested a move back to Western Australia, but the Eagles have refused a deal involving Cripps being traded for Brown. Expect the Saints to be big players.

How are Sydney going to grab Kurt Tippett, if they can at all? All will be revealed in the final week.

Will we finally see Kurt Tippett move? Adelaide refused the Swans offer of Pick 23 and Jesse White, meaning Sydney will need to make some moves to get something to satisfy the Crows. With GWS confirming they would swoop if Kurt Tippett slipped to the draft, or a deal couldn’t be done with Sydney, the Swans cannot afford to sit on their hands in the final week.

Adelaide list manager David Noble took a strong position, saying “we are working towards getting the best goddamn deal we can get for our club”.

It might start slow, but expect the last few days of the week to be a rollercoaster, as it is every year.

Check BigFooty during the final week for daily updates.

Completed Trades (Week 2):

Melbourne Demons traded first round draft pick (#20) and third round draft pick (#45) to Collingwood for Chris Dawes and third round draft pick (#58)

Geelong Cats traded second round draft pick (#36) to North Melbourne for Hamish McIntosh

Geelong Cats traded first round compensation pick and third round draft pick (#55) to Gold Coast for Josh Caddy

Adelaide Crows traded second round draft pick (#40) to Richmond for Angus Graham and third round draft pick (#50)

Free Agency Moves (Final week):

Jared Rivers (Melbourne, unrestricted) moved to the Geelong Cats

Clinton Young (Hawthorn, unrestricted) moved to the Collingwood Magpies

Free agency compensation:

Pick #13 to St Kilda for Brendan Goddard

Pick #49 to Melbourne for Brent Moloney and Jared Rivers (reduced due to gain of Shannon Byrnes)

Pick #62 to West Coast for Quentin Lynch

Pick #66 to Hawthorn for Clinton Young

Pick #30 to Port Adelaide for Danyle Pearce

Pick #31 to Port Adelaide for Troy Chaplin

No pick to Adelaide for Chris Knights

No pick to Geelong for Shannon Byrnes

No pick to Hawthorn for Tom Murphy

Dockers Stun Cats at the ‘G

FREMANTLE 5.7 8.9 12.11 14.12 (96)
GEELONG
0.1 3.5 6.9 11.14 (80)

Fremantle have produced one of the most stunning first quarter performances in finals history, on their way to an historical 16 point victory over Geelong. They dominated the Cats from the outset by any and every measurement available, including effort and intensity.

Geelong’s work rate seemed non-existent. They failed to chase or work hard with any desperation when they didn’t have the ball, or to run hard to create options when they did have it. That’s not to play down how good Fremantle were. Their defensive pressure and organization was first class, and would have taken Geelong’s best efforts to penetrate. The Docker’s attack on the ball and commitment in the air was that of a side with genuine claims to make an impact this September.

Matthew Pavlich was a class above kicking three of Fremantle’s five goals for the quarter, and had it not been for a number of easy missed chances the 36 point margin should have been more.

The first 15 minutes of the second quarter was more of the same. The ball was almost exclusively in Fremantle’s front half as they pushed the margin out to 48 points. David Mundy was finding plenty of the ball and managed to find space in heavy traffic a number of times, and Michael Barlow also played a big part in Fremantle’s midfield dominance.

Almost unbelievably it took Geelong until the 18 minute mark of the second quarter to register their first goal.

Immediately it was as if the Cats collectively snapped their fingers and decided they would start doing the things that are mandatory to win finals – they started applying defensive pressure, hitting contests harder than their opponents, running hard to support one another…..in other words, all of a sudden they started having a go. By half time they had reduced the margin back to 34 points.

After the break the champion Geelong side that we’ve become so accustomed to watching in September came out doing what they do best. Joel Selwood and Jimmy Bartel stamped their mark through the middle, Paul Chapman was starting to look creative, and the Geelong forward line started to function.

The Cats kicked 3 of first 4 goals drawing the margin back to 21 points, and looked set to run over the top of the Dockers. However it was Fremantle’s response when challenged that was probably more impressive than their phenomenal start.

Matthew Pavlich and Hayden Ballantyne lifted and kicked successive goals, followed quickly by a goal to Michael Walters. Fremantle had thus far withstood Geelong’s best efforts for a comeback, and went into the final change 38 points ahead.

Geelong threw everything they had at Fremantle in the last quarter, and once again looked like they were going to run over the Dockers and produce another champion victory in September. They were running on top of the ground and putting the Dockers under immense pressure. When Josh Hunt kicked his second goal for the quarter, the Cats were back within 17 points with 10 minutes left of the clock.

Yet once again with the game in the balance, Pavlich showed his class with a side step around Tom Lonergan, and a beautiful goal to finish off Geelong’s season.

Votes:

3- Matthew Pavlich

2 – Hayden Ballantyne

1 – David Mundy

GOALS
Fremantle
: Pavlich 6, Ballantyne 3, Walters 2, Crowley, De Boer, Pearce
Geelong: Mackie 2, Hunt 2, Christensen, Duncan, Motlop, Selwood, Stokes, Vardy, Taylor

BEST

Fremantle: Pavlich, Ballantyne, Mundy, Barlow, Walters
Geelong:
Selwood, Mackie, Bartel, Corey, Duncan

SUBSTITUTES
Geelong:
Jonathan Simpkin replaced Jordan Murdoch in the third quarter.
Fremantle: Nick Suban replaced Leigh Spurr in the fourth quarter.

Reports:
James Kelly (Geelong) reported for rough conduct on Tendai Mzungu by umpire Pannell in the third quarter.

Umpires:
Bannister, Pannell, Rosebury

Official crowd:
44,460 at the MCG

Unfamiliar Territory for Elimination Wary Cats

Geelong vs Fremantle

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Saturday September 8, 7.45pm
LAST TIME: Fremantle 16.9 (105) d Geelong 15.11 (101), round one, 2012, at Patersons Stadium

Reigning Premiers Geelong will kick off its sixth consecutive finals campaign at the MCG on Saturday Night when they face Ross Lyon’s defensive Dockers.

Coming from sixth this year, the Cats are in the unfamiliar territory of an elimination final after a superb five top four finishes.

They’ll be away from their home turf, with the currently re-developing Simonds Stadium being put on ice until next year.

The turf-disadvantage that Geelong faces at finals time will be a major motivational point for Lyon, having solidified his Freo side in a finals position after a superb finish to the year.

The Dockers missed out on the finals last year, but it all seems to be going right for them at the moment: Aaron Sandilands is back and in dominant form, and while they missed a potentially scinitillating Western Derby by leapfrogging North Melbourne, they face the reigning Premiers on neutral turf.

What Geelong Will Want to See:

The Cats have reinvented themselves this year under the tutelage of Chris Scott, with a host of younger bodies being introduced into the side to increase the longevity of some of the senior brigade.

With a long and arduous home and away season behind them, it will be up to the likes of Jordan Murdoch, Steve Motlop and Nathan Vardy to make up for the likely tired legs of Jimmy Bartel, Paul Chapman and James Podsiadly.

Despite Tom Hawkins missing out on the Coleman Medal to a rampant Jack Riewoldt last Sunday, he will relish re entering the stage where he made his name last year. Along with his captain, Joel Selwood, he’ll be crucial to kicking the Cats away against Fremantle.

Tom Lonergan and Harry Taylor will be required to be at their best to combat Matthew Pavlich and whoever Fremantle select as their second ruckman out of Jon Griffen and Zac Clarke.

This could be Matthew Scarlett’s last game in a stellar career, and the Cats will be looking to lift one final time to see him through.

What Fremantle Will Want to See:

Matthew Pavlich drew level with Hawkins in the goal kicking this season; also missing out thanks to Riewoldt’s last day splurge. The evergreen forward will have to be at his very best to help find the defensively-orientated Fremantle an avenue to goal.

At his feet, Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters will need to capitalise on the ground ball against a rather tall Cats defence.

After a spat with Scarlett earlier in the year, Ballantyne will be looking to revenge the humiliation inflicted with a big day out at the ‘G.

David Mundy, Michael Barlow, Nat Fyfe and Stephen Hill all form part of a varied and hyped Fremantle midfield. They’ll need to do what they do at a top level if the Dockers are any chance of causing an upset. Ryan Crowley was effective on Nathan Jones in last weeks match and will likely tag another Premier midfielder in Selwood.

Luke McPharlin is a huge loss down back after injuring his knee against Melbourne, so Zac Dawson, and whoever Ross Lyon throws his weight behind to replace their star centre half-back (be it Alex Silvagni or even the retiring Antoni Grover), will surely have a big job to do against Hawkins and Podsiadly.

The Fremantle press will have to be at its very best to lock down a fast-moving Cats midfield, and it will involve commitment from every Dockers play on the field.

My Prediction:

Geelong have done this before. September is as much a part of the annual working year as March is. Fremantle, on the other hand, are entering their fourth finals series in their short existance.

Ross Lyon coached St Kilda to five consecutive finals series, but guiding the Dockers through will be a whole new challenge. Chris Scott is a second year coach, but the cattle around him are seasoned and he’s held up four Premiership cups as a player/coach in a glittering career.

Geelong are a great side with some great players, but Fremantle have more than a bit of X factor about them. Having said that, the Cats should be simply too strong for a teething Freo and expect that to show for most of the match.

Geelong by 40.

Cats Hunt New Bird of Prey

West Coast Eagles logo; Geelong cats logo

WHERE AND WHEN: Patersons Stadium, Friday August 10, 6.40pm
LAST TIME: Geelong 17.15 (117) defeated West Coast 10.9 (69), second preliminary final, 2011 at the MCG

It wasn’t so long ago that Geelong appeared set to be a bystander in the race for the 2012 premiership as they simply weren’t producing the style of play that they had become renowned for.

Their gamestyle had become sloppy and slow and they seemed to be achieving wins off of some the talent available rather than actually by reaching their ful  potential.

There were several games where they did enough to win over some of the poorer sides, and the question had been raised, ‘had we seen the best of this Geelong outfit?’.

Well things change quickly, and suddenly, the top five sides are looking over their shoulders in trepidation.

If the dominance over Essendon didn’t do it, the scintillating first term in which the Cats decimated Hawthorn would have certainly sent shockwaves through the sides sitting in the top spots on the ladder.

One of those sides is the Eagles, who have had problems of late. They have a shocking injury list and it seems to be taking its toll. Coach John Worsfold is determined to keep the impact of these injuries as the club fights for a top four berth, but with only four rounds remaining, another loss like last week’s would just about end those hopes.

That loss was the club’s third in four weeks and has seen the Eagles drop to a game behind fourth. With the season quickly coming to a close, they will be desperately searching for the same switch the Cats have found in order to reinvigorate their side and recapture the form that saw them being touted as top four certainties at the halfway through the season.

Final Say:

If the Eagles are to win they’ll need to find a complete reversal of form. They’ll be fired up after being embarrassed last week against their cross-town rivals, but you can expect to see Geelong close the gap again on the top four teams of the competition.

Prediction: Geelong by 12

Hawks to break the Cats Edge

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Friday August 3, 7.50pm

LAST TIME: Geelong 14.8 (92) d Hawthorn 13.12 (90), round two, 2012 at the MCG

Ever since Hawthorn upset the Cats in the 2008 Grand Final, the Cats have appeared determined to never again lose to the Hawks. It may seem like a ridiculous goal, but when you consider the chances the Hawks have had in the years past, it is clear that the Cats step up to a new level when facing their rivals.

Of course, those losses could be a representation of the general standard of the sides: Geelong have won two premierships since the Hawks’ premiership whilst Hawthorn have only managed the one finals victory in the same time span. Clearly, Geelong’s side has been better since that fateful day.

But despite the ladder discrepancy, six of the eight losses to the Cats have been under nine points, meaning that there are some legitimate questions regarding the Hawks mental state towards the Cats that need to be answered.

Tonight, Hawthorn will be presented with their best chance to break the winning streak. The Cats have found some momentum in previous weeks, belting Essendon and comfortably dispatching an Adelaide side fighting for a top four berth, but otherwise, Hawthorn have clearly had the superior season.

The worrying thing about facing the Hawks comes from finding a way to stop their attacking prowess. Lance Franklin is clearly the focal point, but they have more than a few options on the rare occasions that ‘Buddy’ is being negated. Luke Breust, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli, Jordan Lewis and Jack Gunston, along with ‘Buddy’, have kicked over 20 goals this season, causing severe headaches for defences across the land.

Captain Luke Hodge even got in on the act last week, showing no signs of rustiness in his return game with a five goal performance. This Cats defence will be stretched, and will need to be at their best if they are to create an upset tonight.

Final Say

The Cats have been impressive in the past fortnight, and will certainly be alarming some premiership aspirants with the form that they’ve rediscovered.

However, the Hawks have been hitting that standard for quite some time now, and there is no reason why it should change tonight. Hawthorn should finally break the hoodoo that has haunted them since their last premiership.

Hawks by 23

Final Chance for Cats

WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Friday July 20, 7.50pm
LAST TIME: Essendon 18.7 (115) d Geelong 16.15 (111), round 15, 2011 at Etihad Stadium

The last time these two teams met was over a year ago, and for the Cats in particular, the situation could not be more different.

The tight outcome in a thrilling encounter saw Geelong’s unbeaten run of 14 games broken in one of the upsets of the season.

12 months later, the Bombers are a game off top of the ladder and the Cats are only a game clear of tenth spot and have rarely looked like capturing the form that saw them easily fend off all challengers during their peak years.

Tonight their finals chances aren’t on the line, but there is a belief that without a top four spot and the double chance secured, your ability to win a flag is severely hampered. If the Cats lose tonight their top four dreams are dashed, and for a club that hasn’t proven itself on the big stage, it needs to respond in a big way.

Key Matchups

Jobe Watson vs Joel Selwood – The captains will find themselves facing each other at the stoppages and they will both be attempting to negate the clearance work of the other. The fortunes of the respective sides relies heavily upon the performance of these two, so their battle tonight will go a long way to deciding the outcome.

Angus Monfries vs Corey Enright –  Although Stewart Crameri also returns for the ‘Dons, Monfries will have to shoulder a lot of the attacking responsibilities for an Essendon side which has lost a lot of firepower to injury. Scott Gumbleton impressed last week, but with Enright a possible matchup, Monfries will also have to be switched on defensively as Enright’s ball use is so vital in the Cat’s game plan.

Final Say

The past few seasons have trained everyone to think that the Cats at their best can beat anybody, and while that reputation is a deserved one, we simply haven’t seen this side at their best at all in 2012.

Essendon have been one of the genuine highlights of the year to date, and should continue to improve their credentials with a win tonight.

Bombers by 28

Geelong Cats

B: Joel Corey, Tom Lonergan, Matthew Scarlett
HB: Harry Taylor, Josh Hunt, Corey Enright
C: Andrew Mackie, James Kelly, Taylor Hunt
HF: Billie Smedts, Tom Hawkins, Steven Motlop
F: Paul Chapman, Josh Walker, Mitch Duncan
Foll: Trent West, Joel Selwood, Steve Johnson
I/C: Mathew Stokes, Jackson Sheringham, Cameron Guthrie, Jordan Murdoch
Emg: Mitch Brown, George Horlin-Smith, Jordan Schroder

In: Jordan Murdoch

Out: Allen Christensen (Shoulder)

Essendon

B: Jake Melksham, Dustin Fletcher, Cale Hooker
HB: Kyle Hardingham, Jake Carlisle, Mark Baguley
C: Courtenay Dempsey, Jobe Watson, Dyson Heppell
HF: Alwyn Davey, Stewart Crameri, Leroy Jetta
F: Scott Gumbleton, Tom Bellchambers, Angus Monfries
Foll: David Hille, Brent Stanton, Ricky Dyson
I/C: Nathan Lovett-Murray, David Myers, Ben Howlett, Cory Dell’Olio
Emg: Sam Lonergan, Tayte Pears, Alex Browne

In: Angus Monfries, Stewart Crameri

Out: Kyle Reimers (Hamstring), Michael Hibberd (Quad)

Cats claw out victory

GOLD COAST    4.6   6.9      9.13    13.18   (96)
GEELONG          2.6   5.12   12.14   15.20  (110)

It may not have been pretty nor convincing, but Geelong have secured a victory over a spirited Suns side by 14 points at Metricon Stadium.

In what was expected to be one of the more lopsided contests of the round, the Suns instead lead for the majority of the first half and looked ready to run over the top of the experienced Cats deep in the final term.

Geelong once more relied upon their experienced stars to drag them across the line, with Joel Selwood, Paul Chapman, James Kelly and Corey Enright all having a massive influence on the outcome.

Coach Chris Scott and the Geelong side had spent most of the week in the Gold Coast sun, and it appeared as though his side was still in holiday mode when it came time to play for the four points.

The past five years has left footy followers expecting clean and crisp football whenever Geelong laces up the boots, but 2012 has seen the reigning premiers become unusually sloppy in their play. Targets were missed, players seemed uninterested and the Suns were finding targets forward of centre incredibly easily.

Unfortunately, the ease of which they were finding targets was being negated by costly mistakes. Several certain goals went begging as late fumbles and errant passes to open team mates allowed the Cats to mop up the mess.

The Suns probably deserved to be in front by more at the major break, but it was those mistakes which allowed the Cats to claim the lead permanently with a clinical third quarter.

They kicked seven goals to three for the term, and it proved to be more than enough for the Cats to once again claim a victory without doing anything more than required.

Votes

Selwood

Chapman

Kelly

GOALS
Gold Coast:
 Caddy 3, McKenzie 2, Ablett 2, Bennell 2, Campbell Brown, Rischitelli, Day, Harbrow
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Chapman 4, Mitch Brown 2, Stokes, Kelly, Lonergan, Taylor Hunt, Motlop

INJURIES
Gold Coast:
 Wilkinson (knee)
Geelong: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Gold Coast: 
Joel Wilkinson (knee) replaced by Dion Prestia in the first quarter
Geelong: Dawson Simpson replaced by Cameron Guthrie in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Ryan, Kamolins

Official crowd: 15,824 at Metricon Stadium

Cats too good for Blues

GEELONG     2.2    5.7    10.10    14.13 (97)
CARLTON     4.4    6.6     9.10     11.19 (85)

Geelong has outlasted and ultimately outplayed a struggling Carlton outfit to win by 12 points at Etihad Stadium.

In a match where Carlton looked set to challenge Geelong for control of the contest on several occasions, the poise, experience and skill of the Cats’ stars dragged the reigning premiers across the line.

Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel, Paul Chapman and James Kelly played strong games and lifted when the Cats were being threatened by the Blues. Although they were plagued with fumbling, indecisive football; another four points leaves the Cats a game behind second spot on the ladder, and one gets the sense that they are building towards another big September.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten will be happier with the effort shown by the Blues, but he will still be concerned that they have still yet to arrest the slide that has taken over the team. with the loss, the Blues are suddenly out of the top eight with a tough schedule in the next few weeks.

It was a victory in essence that Cats’ fans would be used to over the years: Geelong looking in trouble before a quarter of dominance confirming their status as the superior side. Carlton lead for most of the first half and held a five point advantage at the major break, and looked like they were primed for the upset.

Geelong, sensing the pressure, responded with a five goal quarter to take the lead, and despite being challenged in the fourth, they seemed comfortable with everything Carlton could throw at them.

Steven Motlop continued his impressive year, kicking four goals. Eddie Betts scored four of his own, but for the Blues, there simply was not enough support to get them over the line.

Votes

3) Joel Selwood

2) Matthew Scarlett

1) Jimmy Bartel

GOALS
Geelong: Motlop 4, Selwood 2, Duncan 2, Chapman, Bartel, T. Hunt, Hawkins, West, Stokes
Carlton: Betts 4, Tuohy, Collins, Armfield, Gibbs, Kreuzer, Simpson, Judd

BEST 
Geelong: Selwood, Bartel, Scarlett, Duncan, Motlop, Corey, Chapman, Kelly
Carlton: Simpson, Betts, Judd, Warnock, Walker

INJURIES 
Geelong: James Podsiadly (hip) replaced in selected side by Jesse Stringer
Carlton: Robert Warnock (hip)

SUBSTITUTES
Geelong: Orren Stephenson replaced by Jesse Stringer in the third quarter
Carlton: Robert Warnock replaced by Chris Yarran in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: McBurney, Rosebury, Wenn

Official crowd: 47,632 at Etihad Stadium

 

Blues face Cat Fight for their Season

Ever since becoming ‘premiership favourites’, nothing has gone right for Carlton. Since they beat Collingwood in round three, they have only beaten GWS, Melbourne and Fremantle – but they were unconvincing, and raised more questions in the process.

Injuries have been a factor, but in a year where Collingwood and West Coast have been hit as badly yet are still winning on a regular basis, it’s clear that teams that are genuinely aiming for a top four berth cannot use injuries as an excuse. The teams that are good enough are overcoming the issues, the question for Carlton is simply: are they good enough?

They have the pieces, but something is not right in the placement. Chris Judd, as expected, has been playing well, but the potential problems regarding Carlton were never going to be about Chris Judd. Carlton the team needs to step up tonight, not the individuals, and if they fail to do so, coach Brett Ratten’s job will be under extreme pressure.

One thing we know about the Cats is that they are good enough, but it is something we have seen very little of in 2012. Geelong’s key stats are down in general, but they still find themselves in the eight with a 6-4 record. They may appear to be coasting, but they are doing what is needed to win, and with this Geelong side, that is normally more than enough.

Key Matchups

Carlton’s Small Forwards vs Geelong’s Rebounding Defenders

It’s where most game plans against Geelong begin, but it is one of the hardest things to achieve in footy. Carlton must stop the defensive run from Corey Enright, Matthew Scarlett, Harry Taylor and others.

The Cats midfield loves getting back and helping out the back half, but it is these three that do it consistently. If they get off the hook, they will control the game and Carlton will be out of the contest before they realise it.

Eddie Betts, Jeff Garlett and Andrew Walker must chase, tackle and harass at every opportunity. When the Cats are at their best, their ball use is quick and precise. Pressuring the ball carrier is Carlton’s best chance at slowing the Cats down.

The Midfield Battle

Carlton may be desperately missing Marc Murphy, but it’s time others stepped up. Mitch Robinson has been inconsistent, performing at a best on ground level some week, then becoming completely ineffective in others. He’s one who can lift, but it is unfair to single him out.

Kade Simpson, Ed Curnow, Brock McLean and Dennis Armfield must lift against the likes of Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel, Joel Corey, Paul Chapman and James Kelly. If they fail to do so, Geelong will have an easy task tonight.

Final Say

The sad state of reality right now for Carlton is that they are not playing good football, and are a realistic chance of being outside the eight once the round has finished.

Because of this, expect them to throw everything at the Cats, but Geelong should be able to respond to any challenge the Blues can muster.

Geelong by 21 points

CARLTON V GEELONG CATS
ES – Fri Jun 08, 7:50pm

Carlton
B: Christopher Yarran, Michael Jamison, Matthew Watson
HB: Bryce Gibbs, Lachlan Henderson, Nick Duigan
C: Zach Tuohy, Chris Judd, Kade Simpson
HF: Mitch Robinson, Matthew Kreuzer, Andrew Walker
F: Jeffrey Garlett, Shaun Hampson, Eddie Betts
Foll: Robert Warnock, Brock McLean, David Ellard
I/C: Dennis Armfield, Aaron Joseph, Andrew Collins, Joshua Bootsma
Emg: Kane Lucas, Andrew McInnes, Edward Curnow
In: Matthew Kreuzer, Lachlan Henderson, Nick Duigan
Out: Paul Bower, Heath Scotland (Calf), Edward Curnow

Geelong Cats
B: Matthew Scarlett, Tom Lonergan, Josh Hunt
HB: Corey Enright, Harry Taylor, David Wojcinski
C: Taylor Hunt, Joel Selwood, Paul Chapman
HF: Mathew Stokes, Tom Hawkins, Mitch Duncan
F: James Kelly, James Podsiadly, Steve Johnson
Foll: Trent West, Joel Corey, Jimmy Bartel
I/C: Andrew Mackie, Steven Motlop, Cameron Guthrie, Orren Stephenson
Emg: Tom Gillies, Jesse Stringer, Billie Smedts
In: Joel Corey, Corey Enright, David Wojcinski, Tom Hawkins, Steven Motlop
Out: Tom Gillies, Jesse Stringer, Billie Smedts, Jordan Schroder, Lincoln McCarthy
Milestones: David Wojcinski – 200 games

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Carlton

Geelong

Follow it live on BigFooty’s Game Day Thread.

 

Taylor made forward steps up for Geelong

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.

Harry Taylor enjoyed his moment as a makeshift forward - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesdphotography/

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.

Votes:

3) Jimmy Bartel
2) James Kelly
1) Harry Taylor

Best:

Geelong: Taylor, Bartel, Kelly, Johnson, Chapman, Kelly
GWS: Coniglio, Greene, Cameron, Shiel

Goals:

Geelong: Taylor 6, Johnson 5, Podsiadly 3, Chapman 2, Guthrie, Stephensen, Stringer
GWS: Cameron 2, Shiel 2, Treloar 2, Coniglio, Tyson Ward

Injuries:

Geelong: Selwood (first quarter, returned to the field third quarter)

GWS: Jacob Townsend (head, subbed off second quarter)

Reports: Nil

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