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Cats whet their appetite


Greg Baum

Tom Hawkins outmarks Heath Grundy. Click for more photos

AFL Football Round 23: Geelong v Sydney

Defending AFL premiers Geelong have secured an MCG elimination final next week with a 34 point win over Sydney at Simonds Stadium. Final score 17.10(112) to 11.12(78). Photo: Pat Scala

GEELONG 4.3 7.5 12.7 17.10 (112) SYDNEY 4.5 5.8 7.12 11.12 (78)
GOALS Geelong: Hawkins 4, Podsiadly 3, Chapman 3, Christensen, Mackie, Bartel, Duncan, Vardy, Johnson, Lonergan. Sydney: Goodes 2, McVeigh 2, McGlynn, Bolton, Kennedy, Jack, O'Keefe, Mumford, Walsh.
BEST Geelong: Taylor, Selwood, Kelly, Chapman, Bartel, Duncan.
Sydney: Kennedy, Jack, Richards, McVeigh, Armstrong, Goodes.
INJURIES Sydney: Smith (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Armstrong.
REPORTS Geelong: Chapman reported in the first quarter by field umpire Schmitt for striking McGlynn.
UMPIRES Schmitt, Meredith, Rosebury.
CROWD 20,045 at Skilled Stadium.

SYDNEY did what Sydney does at Geelong yesterday - it threw the kitchen sink at the Cats. Geelong did what it does at its best when confronted that way: a roaring trade in scrap metal.

For more than a half, the match was played at Geelong's end of the ground, but on Sydney's always ferocious terms. Geelong was happy to accept them; given the choice between a feather-bed preliminary to the finals and this furnace, coach Chris Scott said this was preferable. He would.

Harry Taylor of the Cats takes a mark as Adam Goodes of the Swans leaps up to contest.

Harry Taylor of the Cats takes a mark as Adam Goodes of the Swans leaps up to contest. Photo: Getty Images

One team had to break and it was Sydney. Geelong kicked eight unanswered goals in less than a quarter of football, widely spaced at first, and then in a torrent as the Swans buckled. Thereafter, all was sundries. The Cats were able to shut up shop early and head for the metaphorical pub. Scott's only quibble was that with a 71-41 preponderance of inside 50s, the Cats profit margin should have been even more handsome this day.

But as he looked through the day's loot, two items would have pleased him more than most. In his first game for more than a year, the rangy Nathan Vardy took and won the first bounce. It was a resounding re-announcement. In a rare moment of fluency in the whirlpool that was the second quarter, he outmarked Marty Mattner one-on-one and coolly slotted a goal. Mid-way through the last quarter, he was subbed out, only because Geelong had that luxury by then, said Scott.

Don't be fooled by meagre statistics - Vardy opens up new timely horizons for the Cats. ''Nathan Vardy's a fantastic story,'' said Scott. ''We'll try not to get too excited about the way he played today, but it's going to be difficult. Right from the first bounce, where he jumped over the top of the Sydney ruckman, it was exciting to watch.

''Four or five weeks ago, we weren't really thinking about him at AFL level, but he just played well enough and felt good enough in the previous three weeks to force his way in. Trent West is still very much our No. 1 ruckman, but we think we've got good support there. We still don't have massive stocks of ruckmen, but we think we've got some pretty nice options there going into September.''

Vardy's display teased out the imp in Scott. Asked how he had pulled up, Scott replied: ''As the physios say, he's asymptomatic. Which means he's going OK. He's got a big broad smile.''

Geelong is a precious metal; it never loses its value. Yet, truthfully now, it is an amalgam. Vardy represents the new that somehow is melding perfectly with the old. The old was personified yesterday by Paul Chapman, fully a decade Vardy's senior, but still as hungry as any youth. When the game was at its hottest in the first quarter, he shook himself free to kick two goals. He added another in the third quarter from a classic goal-square mark. Others had time to size up each other and the incoming kick, but Chapman arrived at just the right moment.

Chapman has a lust to win every contest that by rights should have dulled at Geelong by now, but has not. He, too, tantalised Scott. ''It's a little bit unfair to say he's had an up-and-down season,'' he said. ''He's played more as a forward than he has previously, so he has been out of the play a bit. We haven't dominated games offensively the way Geelong has in the past. He's played his role really well. He's still a very, very dangerous player inside the forward 50. We saw that again today and hopefully we'll see it for the next month.''

Chapman also exercised Scott's humour. Asked if he was concerned that Chapman was on report, Scott said he had watched the incident again and saw nothing in it. Challenged that this was a violation of the coaches' see-no-evil code, Scott said that if he thought there was anything in it, he would have said that he hadn't seen it.

For Sydney, this day yielded neither a laugh nor a gilt edge. The loss of Sam Reid and, at the last minute, Nick Smith, left it bereft up forward. It wasn't just that the other forwards played poorly, but that for long stretches in the middle of the game, the Swans had no forwards.

At one stage in the second quarter, all but five players were in Geelong's forward 50. It meant that the Cats had no workspace and explained their inefficiency then. But it also meant that when Sydney's beleaguered and mostly honourable backmen won the ball, they literally had nowhere to go. Not the least beneficiary was Harry Taylor, who took 14 marks.

Coach John Longmire said the Swans were ''a bit stagnant''. But the least you know about the Swans is that they will go to Adelaide next week armed with a new kitchen sink.


Sydney belted out of the blocks to take Geelong head-on at its home fortress, so much so there were more tackles than kicks halfway through the first quarter. The Swans heaped on pressure in defence, playing chunks of the game without a player in their attacking half, throwing their big bodies onto the Cats and denying them runs on the scoreboard.


Cats fans did a double-take halfway through the second quarter when a ball booted from the middle landed in the paws of Tom Lonergan in the goal square. So what? Lonergan is a reliable backman. The only thing was he wasn't in defence. He had strayed to the forward line, and booted his third major for the season. Even radio commentators briefly misnamed him, thinking it was Tom Hawkins.


Hawkins showed no concern about pushing for the top of the Coleman Medal table early. After he marked in front of goal at point-blank range he chose to handball to Steve Johnson. But good things come to those who wait. Hawkins kicked two goals in the first half to tie with Fremantle's Matthew Pavlich and a goal from outside 50 late in the third quarter to give him a one goal lead. - JARED LYNCH

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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
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
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
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
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
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
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
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
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
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
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
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
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
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE ($2.20)vs ADE ($1.67) 13:05SS
BRI ($4.25)vs WBU ($1.22) 13:45G
PTA vs FRE 15:50Adelaide Oval
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($17.00) 16:40MCG
SYD ($1.04)vs GCF ($11.00) 19:25SCG
WCE ($1.04)vs STK ($11.00) 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL ($2.40)vs GWS ($1.57) 13:10ES
COL ($1.28)vs ESS ($3.70) 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 21 17 4 0 125.10 68
West Coast Eagles 21 15 5 1 143.00 62
Hawthorn 21 15 6 0 156.77 60
Sydney Swans 21 15 6 0 124.11 60
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 21 14 7 0 116.76 56
Adelaide Crows 20 13 7 0 119.10 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
View all

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