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Geelong hangs on for win against Essendon

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Cats break Bombers' hearts

Geelong edge out a brave Essendon by nine-points in a thrilling Friday night contest at Etihad Stadium.

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GEELONG 5.1 8.4 8.6 13.11 (89) ESSENDON 1.3 3.5 8.10 11.14 (80)
Goals: Geelong: T Hawkins 3 J Selwood 2 M Duncan 2 S Kersten 2 S Motlop 2 C Enright G Horlin-Smith. Essendon: J Carlisle 2 J Daniher 2 T Colyer 2 B Howlett B Stanton C Dempsey J Merrett M Hibberd.
BEST Geelong: Selwood, Duncan, Kelly, Mackie, Rivers, Motlop, Hawkins, Murdoch. Essendon: Heppell, Ryder, Zaharakis, Colyer, Goddard, Stanton, Myers.
Umpires: Robert Findlay, Chris Kamolins, Brett Rosebury.
Official Crowd: 43,732 at Etihad Stadium.

They found a way to fall behind. They found a way to get in front. One did it at the right time. It always seems to be Geelong that conjures a way.

The Cats kept top four thoughts alive. Essendon kept its spirit alive, even if the loss harmed designs on the top eight.

Essendon's Paul Chapman grabs hold of his fomer teammate, Cat Joel Selwood, during the round 15 game at Etihad Stadium on Friday.

Essendon's Paul Chapman grabs hold of his fomer teammate, Cat Joel Selwood, during the round 15 game at Etihad Stadium on Friday. Photo: Pat Scala

Time
Q4 31:54
Team
GFC
Score
13.11.89
Team
EFC
Score
11.14.80
Geelong versus Essendon
View Match Statistics
Players Hawkins (3.1), Kersten (2.1), Motlop (2.1), Duncan (2.0), Selwood (2.0), Horlin-Smith (1.3), Enright (1.0), Caddy (0.1), Mackie (0.1), Murdoch (0.1) Scorers Carlisle (2.2), Colyer (2.2), Daniher (2.1), Stanton (1.1), Dempsey (1.0), Hibberd (1.0), Howlett (1.0), Merrett (1.0), Zaharakis (0.2), Ambrose (0.1), Hardingham (0.1), Heppell (0.1)

From five goals up, Geelong fell behind. One quarter of lethargy and Essendon brilliance swung the game. One final quarter of brilliance and electrifying football from both teams elevated a game from contest to spectacle. 

When Geelong fell behind, twice it was Steven Motlop who put it back ahead. Twice it was with moments of outrageous brilliance. Laying balls across his right boot, both times running across goal.

These goals completed the earlier efforts of Mitch Duncan to caress balls through from out wide to get Geelong back into a game it had at once dominated but was then outplayed.

Dustin Fletcher and the Essendon players walk onto the MCG before the match. Click for more photos

AFL Round 15: Geelong v Essendon

A thrilling encounter at Etihad Stadium between Geelong and Essendon saw Geelong eventual winners 13.11.89 to 11.14.80 . Photographer Pat Scala captured all the action from the match. Photo: Pat Scala

For the first half Geelong was far the better side. The Cats were sharp, composed and had command of the play across half-back through James Kelly, Andrew Mackie and Jared Rivers. They had Tom Hawkins at his muscular best. They had Shane Kersten providing encouraging foil. They had Joel Selwood, labouring with a hip and hamstring, moving forward and kicking two goals. Things were going right.

This magnified what Essendon did not have. They could not find targets inside 50 and consequently were retrieving balls bouncing out of their forward line. Just as Geelong had thrown Selwood forward out of necessity, Essendon also put its best player, Brendon Goddard, forward to try to find someone to take a mark.

Who knows why it changed. But it did and the ailments Geelong had been able to mask in the first half suddenly became problematic. Harry Taylor was off for the full duration of a concussion test. The Cats looked slow in the middle. Dawson Simpson was beaten in the ruck.

Essendon was five goals down. Geelong surging. The world seemingly against them. Officials denying them in the Federal Court and on the ground. Playing terribly.

Against a side it had beaten once since 2006 Essendon shrugged at these mishaps and played with an unexpected freedom. It upended the match.

It began with Patrick Ryder and Dyson Heppell in the middle of the ground, was aided by Brent Stanton, David Zaharakis and Goddard. The Bombers won the clearances 13-3 for the third quarter and the difference was palpable.

Nothing illustrated the change better than the goal Joe Daniher kicked to put the Dons within a point. Geelong had not won a clearance for the quarter when Ryder rose, palmed the ball to David Zaharakis who burst at speed and put the ball in front of Daniher to mark and convert the set shot. Teams practice for months in the hope a drill like that might happen in a game.

It illustrated precisely what Essendon had not done in the first half. It hadn’t won clearances (13-23) and it hadn’t had a marking forward. Suddenly it had both. It had not had contested ball winners in the middle of the ground suddenly it was winning the ball and with the pace of Zaharakis and Travis Colyer surging hard ahead of the ball and opened Geelong up.

The Dons had all the momentum and when Courtenay Dempsey kicked the first goal of the last quarter they were nine points up and Geelong had not goaled for a quarter.  Duncan hit back against the tide first with a steadier then with one that aroused the idea of a contest. Colyer’s pace kept Essendon in it with a goal, and his legs pumping too fast for his body on a second shot that sprayed wide hurt them equally. When Daniher booted a goal to recover the lead the Dons were nearly home. Until Motlop’s second moment. And a sealer from Hawkins.

The day began in the Federal Court with Neil Young, QC, examining the needle and the damage done. It ended with a men in blue, the whistle and the damage done. 

The half-decisions seemed to go Geelong’s way. The howlers, too, against Essendon such as when Goddard was inexplicably denied a double grab mark in front of goal.

Paul Chapman playing his old club was unable to have an impact. Encouragingly for Essendon, Daniher and Jake Carlisle played their best half of football operating in tandem as forwards.

It could have al been so different. Some Motlop brilliance. Two balls that shave posts. Such is the way extraordinary games are decided.

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
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ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
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RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
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GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
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Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
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HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
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ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
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BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
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MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
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Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
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CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
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WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
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BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
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CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
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GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
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NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
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COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
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RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
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CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
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GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
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SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
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HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
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CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
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COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
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RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
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ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
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RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
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ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
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GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
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Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.15)vs RIC ($1.70) 19:50Adelaide Oval
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GWS ($1.33)vs ESS ($3.35) 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK ($3.70)vs FRE ($1.28) 16:40ES
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Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.25)vs COL ($3.70) 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS ($2.50)vs ADE ($1.50) 13:45ES
NTH ($1.28)vs STK ($3.50) 14:10BA
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BRI ($1.70)vs CAR ($2.10) 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
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WBU ($1.33)vs MEL ($3.15) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.87)vs WCE ($1.87) 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW ($1.18)vs PTA ($4.60) 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL ($2.35)vs RIC ($1.55) 13:45MCG
GWS ($3.50)vs SYD ($1.28) 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF ($1.40)vs ESS ($2.95) 16:35MS
STK ($2.80)vs GEE ($1.40) 19:20ES
ADE ($1.08)vs BRI ($6.75) 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH ($2.00)vs FRE ($1.75) 13:10ES
CAR ($2.25)vs MEL ($1.60) 15:20MCG
WCE ($1.18)vs WBU ($4.60) 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE ($1.50)vs COL ($2.50) 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($3.70) 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($13.00) 14:10AS
NTH ($1.70)vs WBU ($2.10) 16:35ES
ESS ($5.00)vs RIC ($1.15) 19:20MCG
GCF ($2.50)vs PTA ($1.50) 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.95)vs WCE ($1.38) 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK ($3.80)vs SYD ($1.25) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.07)vs MEL ($7.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL ($1.50)vs ESS ($2.50) 00:00MCG
RIC ($1.70)vs NTH ($2.10) 00:00ES
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($13.00) 00:00MCG
GEE ($1.50)vs ADE ($2.50) 00:00SS
SYD ($1.05)vs GCF ($8.00) 00:00SCG
MEL ($1.87)vs GWS ($1.87) 00:00ES
BRI ($3.05)vs WBU ($1.35) 00:00G
PTA ($2.15)vs FRE ($1.65) 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE ($1.06)vs STK ($8.00) 02:00Domain Stadium
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AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 17 15 2 0 127.06 60
West Coast Eagles 17 13 3 1 154.43 54
Hawthorn 17 12 5 0 164.23 48
Sydney Swans 17 12 5 0 115.86 48
Western Bulldogs 17 11 6 0 113.12 44
Richmond 17 11 6 0 112.43 44
North Melbourne 17 10 7 0 107.19 40
Geelong Cats 16 9 7 0 102.42 38
View all
 

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