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Cats whet their appetite

Date

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.

UNDER PRESSURE

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.

TOM CATTING

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.

COLEMAN WHAT?

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 vs RIC 19:20MCG
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GCF 13:40MCG
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
BRI vs COL 19:20G
WBU vs WCE 19:20ES
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
ADE vs NTH 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs PTA 18:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GEE 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs CAR 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WBU 13:45MCG
GWS vs MEL 14:10SO
COL vs ADE 16:35ES
GCF vs STK 19:20MS
PTA vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE vs FRE 13:10SS
ESS vs HAW 15:20MCG
NTH vs BRI 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs STK 19:50MCG
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ESS 13:45MCG
ADE vs MEL 14:10Adelaide Oval
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
NTH vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs RIC 19:20G
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs WBU 13:10AS
GEE vs GCF 15:20SS
WCE vs FRE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC vs MEL 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 11:10NZ
ESS vs COL 14:40MCG
GWS vs GCF 17:40SO
PTA vs HAW 19:40Adelaide Oval
FRE vs SYD 20:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:10G
GEE vs NTH 15:20SS
WBU vs ADE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GEE 13:45MCG
SYD vs WBU 14:10SCG
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
NTH vs HAW 19:20ES
WCE vs GWS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs FRE 13:10MCG
STK vs ESS 15:20ES
ADE vs PTA 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
WBU vs STK 14:10ES
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs BRI 15:20ES
PTA vs WCE 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs STK 13:45Adelaide Oval
HAW vs MEL 14:10MCG
CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
WCE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
RIC vs COL 15:20MCG
BRI vs PTA 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs WCE 13:45ES
GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs COL 16:35MS
HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STK 13:10G
COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
View all
 
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