It wasn’t a game full of highlights, but it was a game Geelong walked away from with four points, defeating the Magpies at the MCG.

Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.



Tom Stewart

With scores so low, it was a good day to be a defender., and this season, it seems every weekend is a good time to be Tom Stewart.

To think, just a few short years ago he was playing for South Barwon and now here he is, slotting comfortably into the half back flank of The Mongrel’s Rolling All-Australian Team. On this week’s performance, it is a spot he won’t be losing any time soon.

His 28 touches were complemented by nine marks and seven rebounds out of defensive 50. Stewart continues to seemingly replace the irreplaceable Corey Enright. He was everywhere in the last quarter as the Pies tried everything they could to claw their way back into the game, to no avail. Thanks in large part, to Stewart’s defensive efforts.

Jeremy Howe

It was definitely the defenders day to shine, and Howe is looking more at home in the Magpies’ defence than I’ve ever seen him.

He pulled down 11 marks and was excellent in curbing the influence of Dangerfield when the Brownlow medallist went forward at times during the game. Howe collected 30 disposals to be the best of the Magpie defenders, and there was a plethora of competition in that department. See the next two.

Jack Crisp and Matt Scharenberg

It’s difficult picking out the players who did well, particularly when the ones standing out to me are mostly on the end of a loss, but both Crisp and Scharenberg more than held their own in the defensive half all day.

The game was largely played between the arcs today, with the defenders right on top, and inaccurate kicking for goal making scores all the more valuable. Scharenberg had a career-high 29 possessions coupled with a career-high 14 marks, whilst Crisp ran and broke the lines to pick up 32 touches and 11 marks. Unfortunately for him, he only travelled at 59% efficiency. He’ll need to work on that.

Crisp also laid 11 tackles.

Esava Ratugolea

I remember watching him for the first time against Melbourne in Round One and thinking that either he was either going to have an excellent career, or he was just hazing a really good day.

It turns out I was right with the first thought. He clunked a couple of genuine contested marks today, including one contest where he marked cleanly coming over the top of both Dangerfield and Howe. That’s  some mighty fine competition, right there. What was more impressive was the way he went back from 45 metres on an acute angle, and guided it through for a goal.

Ratugolea is just 19 years old. Imagine when he grows into that big body of his? Nice work by the Cats in picking him up.

Tim Kelly

Speaking of nice pickups, how good has Tim Kelly been this year for Geelong?

He finished with 22 touches for the Cats, but again, it was the way he would always buy himself an extra second or two with a sidestep or by feigning a handball before kicking. I think this is the third time this season I’ve had him in the ‘good’ category, but every time has been worth it.

I loved that he was involved in the first clearance of the game with Selwood and Dangerfield. It’s esteemed company, but company he continues to prove he belongs in.

Chris Mayne almost getting a quadruple double

You’ll have to indulge me here – I apologise.

I like obscure little stats, and this stat; double figures in kicks, handballs, marks and tackles has only ever been completed six times in AFL history. Mayne was one tackle away from being the seventh man to accomplish the feat.

Who are the six players to accomplish a quadruple double? Find out here.

Yeah, sure he knocked out his own player after Phillips had kicked a goal, and sure he had a couple of turnovers along the way, but this was his best game in the black and white, and damn it… he almost had a quadruple double!

Sam Menegola

Menegola was doing what no one else on the field seemed to be able to do – score goals.

He is a very inconspicuous kind of character, and this star-studded Geelong midfield suits him perfectly. He can get under the guard of opposition coaches and players and sneak forward often.

He is an excellent mark for a midfielder, and played an integral role in the Cats’ halftime lead.

13 of his 24 touches were of the contested variety today, and his ten marks made a telling difference for Geelong.



Darcy Moore’s hamstring

Whether he’s headed to Sydney or staying at Collingwood, this recurring hamstring will have alarm bells going off.

Moore is just 22 years old and looks like a million dollars when he’s out there. I honestly believe he could develop into one of the best players in the game, but it is no use looking like a Lamborghini when you’ve got a 1987 Toyota Camry engine under the hood. They’re pretty weak – believe me, I used to have one.

Moore needs to get on the park and stay on the park. I hope he can.



The horrible first half

A perfect day at the MCG. Not too windy. No rain in sight. And at half time we have a game between two potential finalists where the score is one goal to four goals. Sorry guys, but that is what we were seeing from AFLW teams earlier this year, forcing the AFL to step in and attempt to fix things.

I mentioned that the defences were well on top, and some of the delivery inside 50 for both teams was atrocious, but five goals in a half on a day like this was horrid.

Adam Treloar not going and showing his frustration

Now I may be completely wrong here, and I’m not going to go back and watch it – that’s not my style.

With around seven and a half minutes to go in the game, and the margin still gettable, the ball headed in the direction of Treloar at half back. It wasn’t delivered lace-out, and it would’ve taken a bit of work to get there and contest. Treloar didn’t do the work, and he didn’t contest.

He just… stopped.

Now, whether that was due to exhaustion (he did have 34 touches for the day, and ran his backside off earlier) or frustration, we don’t know, but it was a bit of a white flag at a time Collingwood required every one of their players to be absolutely committed to the cause.

This was demonstrated moments later when Jack Crisp ran down his opponent on the wing. He was still committed. What was up with Treloar?



Brodie Grundy returned to form and looked sharp against Zac Smith. Smith had a few good moments early on against Grundy, but the Pies big man wore him down as the game progressed.

I didn’t stick any of the big three in the ‘good’ category for Geelong, as I felt all were very serviceable, but none of them did the extraordinary today. That may be a bit unfair, but when you perform so well for so long, it becomes your normal. Selwood, Danger and Ablett had what I thought were normal games for them.

Sidebottom’s kick to Will Hoskin-Elliot was absolutely perfect in the first quarter. It gave him every chance to sit on his opponent’s head and take the grab. He spilled it, but it was not the fault of the kick.

Umpires were quite lenient with holding the ball today. Menegola was swung a full 360 and then kind of disposed of it and play was allowed to go on. Umpires, this is why players grab their opponents and smash them to the ground quickly. The way this was umpired, there is no point to tackling if they’re just going to let those being tackled hold the ball forever and then throw it away.

Speaking of tackles, I love with Dangerfield stands up in one and waits for it to fall off him.

I think Nathan Buckley must be at peace with the fact that at some point in every single game, Lynden Dunn will do something really stupid and give the opposition a chance to score.

Daniel Wells looks heavier than I remember him.

The 50 metre penalty against Jed Bews that handed Collingwood their first goal was terrible. It was not a late spoil, nor was it malicious. It was applying physical pressure IN a marking contest.

Excellent no-call by the umpire as Travis Varcoe dropped at the knees to draw a free kick. The more I see this not paid, the happier I am.

With 4.45 left in the second quarter, both teams had combined for three goals. Ugh…

Dangerfield’s tackle on de Goey was what was required to set Crameri up for goal late in the second quarter. He caused the spill and Crameri was there to reap the rewards.

Selwood’s centre clearance was the catalyst for Ablett running forward and slamming home the second goal in a minute for the Cats.

Loved Sidebottom’s vision to find Treloar running towards goal. Treloar missed, and he’d finish with 0.3 for the game.

Mayne redeemed himself a little, heavily involved in the passage of play that saw de Goey screw a goal around the corner from the boundary.

The game started to finally get a little heat into it in the third quarter.

Interesting to see Taylor take the body of Grundy in a marking contest. I am pretty sure Lynden Dunn was penalised for exactly the same thing earlier in the game.

Is Ablett being booed every time he touches the ball reflective of the crowd’s views on bald people in general? Or could it be that they just don’t like one individual player, but are not against all people like him? Hmmmm, I think I’ve heard this argument somewhere else before, but I can’t quite remember where.

Loved the body-clashes between Sidebottom, Danger and Duncan. Good football!

Hated de Goey being free kicked for a sling tackle on Tuohy. Had his Guernsey not ripped open like a Hulkamania singlet, it may not have been a sling.

Danger’s spoil of the kick in to Wells was just what the doctor ordered in the third. It fell to Menegola, who made no mistake.

Great run and repeated efforts from Treloar in the third. I was particularly impressed with his ability to get a kick away whilst lying on the ground.

Dunn’s effort and timely fist on the delivery to Parsons was excellent. The bog boy can move when he has to.

Great to see Travis Varcoe go with the flight of the ball against Ratugolea. Courage.

The only bloke who wanted the sky ball late in the third quarter was Tom Stewart. A few could’ve got to it – Stewart was the only one who did. Indicative of the way he plays.

Might be time to invest in some hearing tests for Ratugolea. I can’t remember seeing a bloke not hear the umpire’s whistle as often as he does.

Jaidyn Stephenson had a learning experience in the last quarter when he needed to take the body of Menegola in a marking contest. He took a big swipe at the ball and missed. Menegola clunked it. Late in the game he had another chance to spoil and take the body as well – he did it that time.

Grundy moved forward early in the last quarter and was picked up by Taylor. I enjoyed their battle.


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