This will be a parochial live review from the perspective of this Cats fan. I’ll be celebrating some outgoing champions, enjoying the prospect of the future, being excited about the soon-to-be-finished northern stand at Kardinia Park (By 2050 we hope), and I won’t be giving too much care for the Bulldogs.
So, they have their season on the line.
Who cares? They have about as much chance of winning a final (if they make it) as Geelong has of winning one right now.
We’re on our way to the game. It’s a weird situation where we’re heading to the Cattery and Geelong are out of finals. The last time this happened in 2015 it was an absolute party. We sent off some champions and welcomed the new hero in Dangerfield.
This time might be a bit different though. A clowder of the best Cats are in the stands. This game will feature some debutants that Geelong fans have been eagerly awaiting, which should make it interesting. I’m very keen to see some future prospects on display.
Meanwhile, Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is playing funny buggers. Bailey Smith out with “illness”? Sure champ. The pettiest man in the AFL strikes again and dashes Geelong fans hopes of cheering on a likely incoming star, much like we did with Dangerfield in 2015.
There’s a “Thank you” video playing on the big screen from the players to the fans and a marching band walking around the boundary. Glorious.
Trying to check the scores of the Lions v Saints match and sure enough, nothing has changed with this ground’s shit reception. Damnit! Time to message some friends to send me scores.
The lights are out and it’s Cat Attack time! And jeez Toby Conway is taaaaall! He makes Sam De Koning look short. The fireworks go off and the flames go up from their cannons. It’s all a bit fancy and makes me wonder if there is some Robert Duvall character in the stands sitting there going “I love the smell of fireworks in the evening”.
Menegola takes some kicks in front of the Hickey stand in the warmup and gets some hearty applause for every kick. Feeling the love-in already.
They’re announcing the Cats team in the stadium and wow, it just hits different. So many new names and potential. Clohesy, Conway, Neale, Mullin, Dempsey, and Knevitt.
The discussion has started. “Who is going to kick Geelong’s goals tonight?” This Mongrel isn’t worried about the goals. I’m just hoping that we don’t let Bontempelli, Liberatore and English absolutely massacre us in the middle. Jones and Keith will have a field day down back, that is assured, but the Cats need to be competitive where we have some experience.
A dream start! Conway is competitive very early. Gets his first disposal. Some warm applause. And Smith gets the first goal in poetic fashion. He may not have started as a Cat, but he’s become a much-loved figure at Geelong due to his great personality and tireless work rate. He’ll hold a special place in every Cats fan’s memory. From his shot after the siren in 2016 qualifying final, to his 2022 Grand Final heroics. Smith has done a lot for this club.
Not sure how committed Geelong are to the win, here. Seems like we’re here more to celebrate some outgoing champions. Players looking for Smith and Menegola everywhere early. Smith looking like he’s going to blow up his GPS unit tonight. A score review robs Knevitt of a good goal.
The Bulldogs’ first goal. Really good by Naughton there. The contest and the crumb. They needed that to steady themselves. They had not really been in this game up to that point.
Lobb kicks the Dogs’ second and it is concerning. If the Dogs manage to get up and going they should definitely be too good for the Cats.
Holmes robs Miers of a goal assist by missing a simple set shot. Should be punishable by lashing.
How’s Tim English just ignoring Caleb Daniel? C’mon off half-back and English tries to pinpoint a teammate while kicking over a Geelong defender on the wing. The ball gets very simply knocked out of bounds. You’re a ruckman mate. Stop reading your own press and give the footy to one of the best kicks in the competition two meters to your right.
Neale needs to spend the summer chained to Tom Hawkins. He can get the footy and looks a good mark but his set shots at goal are woeful. He needs to work on that routine and nothing would be better than learning from a master.
How the hell are the Bulldogs in front?
Quarter time. That quarter was arguably perfect. Gave the Cats faithful everything they wanted. Some good play and the Bulldogs ended up in front. I just have to remind myself that I want the better draft pick. Haha.
Everything is coming up Milhouse again. Back in the lead. Great pressure by Dangerfield to contest the kick-in. Should’ve rewarded himself with the goal but shows his leadership and gives it away to Henry.
Naughton misses the set shot after a shithouse free kick. In the words of Vernon Dursley. Justice!
The umpires don’t pay a clear mark to Zuthrie and the fix is 100% clearly in. It’s been a slew of poor decisions in a row, all going one way. The AFL clearly wants the Carlton v GWS game to mean something.
Ollie Henry just joined the space program. He didn’t come down with anything, but he entered the upper atmosphere.
A good end-to-end play for the Bulldogs and it’s back to one point. Really feels like we should be in control of this one.
Naughton closes down Menegola as he lines up from just outside 50 and affects the kick. No sense of occasion. He just made the list!
Doing my best Meg Griffin impression “NEEEEEAAALLLLLEEEEE!!!!”
Tom Atkins goal. Praise be. And what an assist by Parfitt. Good response from the Cats in the last few minutes.
Atkins and Parfitt again! Great play out of the centre. Be still my beating heart. Stengle fails to convert, though.
Wow. That was some seriously slick footy by the Dogs. All the big names combine. Bont, Naughton, Weightman and Lobb converts the tough shot at goal. Maybe this team still has it?
I missed that Cats goal. Apparently kicked by Dempsey. I knocked over the cup tray next to my feet and spilled some beers. My brother is furious. I don’t know why, I paid for that round anyway.
Was right behind that Henry goal and I have no idea how that swung back in. looked really poor off the boot.
Menegola with a great chase and tackle. The umpire doesn’t reward him (as they haven’t all bloody night) and he throws the ball back in disgust. The umpires pays a free kick against him for rudeness, I can only assume? Maybe for hurting his feelings? Really poor.
It’s now halftime.
The Cats are 15 points up after a dominant quarter. The Bulldogs kicked a late steadier though. Could that swing the momentum their way? Hopefully? I’m so confused about who should win this game. I’m sure the competitive juices will really get flowing in the second half and I won’t care about anything other than winning.
Conway has looked really good so far. In fact, all of the kids have. But it has been obvious that when the Bulldogs’ elite players get their hands on the ball, their class is above the rest on the field. English, Richards, Bont, Libba, Weightman Naughton and Lobb.
Time to have a good look at the new stand. B-E-A-U-tiful. The majority, the vast majority of lower level seats are in. There’s now three (that’s right three!) roof panels in place. The standing area looks done. The outside cladding is making real progress. Just give it to me now!!!
Hot start by the Bulldogs. Some early pressure and some very clean skills by Treloar.
In the words of DJ Kaled “Another one”. Now it’s back to three points. Great work by Lobb in the ruck. An interesting move looking dangerous quickly.
And again. Like Kurt Russell in Miracle. Taking it to the point of pain. “Again!”. The familiar names strike, Bont, Weightman, and then Libba with the finish. Dogs are now in front just three minutes into the quarter.
Fuck me. Just kick it for them! Bulldogs’ players feigning for high contact and getting it. Baker misses again though. What a spud.
Have to admit that West has had a good patch to start this quarter. He just looks like a natural footballer. Always has time.
That’s it. Baker playing for free kicks again. Weightman swinging at Stewart and being a general cockhead. Screw the draft pick. End these pricks’ season!
Ollie Henry rights the ship and levels the scores, but that goal belongs to Dangerfield and his efforts on the wing.
Henry then follows it up by robbing Bews of a certain goal. Bit of “me time” there mate. Get that out of your game. Parfitt very bloody clean again. Where has this been?
Naughton with a cheap shot on Zuthrie that Cats fans will remember. How the umpires missed it is insane.
Dangerfield kicks truly from a difficult angle after the ¾ time siren and the Cats have an 8-point lead. Smith celebrates a little too hard and scales Dangerfield like he’s King Kong on the Empire State Building and suffers the same fate. Classic stuff.
Start of the fourth quarter and again it’s the Bulldogs with the early goals. English looms large up forward. He’s been pivotal in these first few minutes. A crap call on the “Stand” rule and Treloar puts the Dogs in front after English feeds him the ball.
Channelling my inner Al Pacino from Godfather Part 3. Ed Richards takes the ball away from the Cats and kicks deep inside 50. Weightman crumbs the pack and snaps truly to put the Dogs further in front. “That is not… WHAT I WANTED!!”
Some big hits from Jamarra and Stewart. Good footy. Credit to Poulter for getting up as well. Very tough stuff. Naughton off with a sore shoulder. Did it pop out?
Clutch mark and goal by Jamarra. Been well held by Zuthrie for most of the game. Even though it’s not his night, it is threatening to be his quarter. Been very active. Good players find a way.
Big clunk by Naughton up forward. He seems fine. Misses the shot which gives the Cats a tiny bit of hope.
Jamarra again. Big mark up forward. He’s really turned this game on its head in the last. Only problem is he put his shot at goal out on the full. Haha.
Lobb kicks the sealer at 25:40 gone in the last, the Dogs’ big guns have absolutely dominated this quarter. Particularly the big men. Lobb, Jamarra and English have clunked everything. Just too big and too strong. Jones and Keith as well. Neale, Conway and Stanley have barely been sighted.
Naughton kicks a junk time goal. Oscar Allen is still better than him.
Some great final cheers for Issac Smith’s last touches of the football. Then some Stengle brilliance up forward. Guess they had to let us have one, eh?
And there it is. The first Bulldogs win at Kardinia Park in over 20 years. The AFL got what they wanted and the Carlton v GWS game has meaning. So their fixturing wasn’t a total moot point after all. How unforeseen….
Good luck to the Dogs in finals if they get there. If they can replicate that last quarter they’ve got a shot.
So long to a couple of champions. They have served us admirably. Disappointed Menegola leaves without a medal, he bloody deserved one.
Hello top 7 draft pick!! Back-to-back top 7 picks. Unheard of at Geelong.
Danger spoke very well post-game. Just a good operator. Not the season Cats fans wanted, but hopefully a good chance to refresh and go again in 2023. Over 80,000 members and a complete 40,000 seat stadium.
Time to head home and put the 2022 Grand Final on and enjoy the memories.
I thought I was done, but as we walked out of the stadium there was a house across the road blasting the Bulldogs theme song with some gentleman giving a ‘vibrant’ rendition. They’ve earned this one. Living next to Kardinia Park for god knows how long and suffering only losses for 20 years. Enjoy it.
The Dogs were just too good for Geelong. As stated their experience shone through and they have given themselves a chance to play in September after doing just about everything to rule themselves out.
Geelong will spend the off-season wondering how it all went so wrong and preparing themselves for a big 2024.