Geelong v Sydney - The Good, Bad and Ugly

The Cats hit the road and got a big win in Sydney, dropping the Swans by 12 points in a bit of a messy encounter.

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

THE GOOD

Brandan Parfitt

This might be a strange one to have as the lead off, but I was so impressed with this bloke tonight. We’re a fan of the little things at The Mongrel. Things like clean hands, things like good decision making, and things like poise. Parfitt demonstrated all of them tonight.

My favourite piece of Parfitt play came in the last quarter, when he read the ball off the pack near the boundary, and had every right to have a ping for goal. He didn’t do that, however. He took his time, looked inboard and found Jamaine Jones 15 metres out.

Parfitt has a good footy brain. You can see that he has the ability to identify players in better position, and the longer he spends in the game, the better it’ll get. 21 touches and one tackle don’t do his game justice.

Mitch Duncan

This bloke is often forgotten about when it comes to Geelong. Everyone talks about the big three… hell, I even heard a radio ad selling Geelong three-game memberships a while back where they said the best things come in threes, referring to Danger, Selwood and Ablett.

Well, tonight, Mitch Duncan did his best Shannon Noll impersonation (or Moving Pictures impersonation if you have a long memory) and he said ‘What about me?’

No, wait on… he was more like the Simple Minds’ song from the Breakfast Club soundtrack. ‘Don’t you forget about me!’

Well, whilst the attention went into curtailing the holy trinity, Duncan did his thing. He had 32 touches, six inside 50 deliveries, and eight score involvements for the night. He was blue collar, and he got the job done tonight.

Joel Selwood’s second half

I am an unabashed Joel Selwood fan. I make no effort to hide this. I love the way he goes about it, and the way he puts his body on the line.

That said, I didn’t love his first half, where George Hewett put the clamps on him. Strangely, at the opening of the third quarter, Hewett wasn’t standing next to the Geelong Captain, and Selwood took advantage of it.

He compiled 17 second half disposals to give him 28 for the game, and won 13 of the total in the contested manner. It was a captain’s knock in the second half from Selwood, on a night when the other two parts of the vaunted holy trinity weren’t quite firing.

For mine, Selwood has once again been the best, and most consistent of the Geelong midfield this season, and he has finally taken a spot in our rolling All-Australian team.

Tom McCartin

There’s no great statistic for McCartin’s game, other than the fact that he took four contested marks. It doesn’t sound too high, but when you consider there was only three other players to take multiple contested marks, it becomes apparent that he was the best pair of hands on the ground.

He is slowly emerging as every bit the star people thought his brother would be.

Jake Lloyd’s first quarter

We named Lloyd as our current Mongrel All-Australian half back flanker, and we copped a little flack for it. We were feeling a little justified at quarter time today.

Lloyd was everywhere, racking up disposals hand over fist. He had 15 first quarter disposals – almost double the next best on the ground.

Lloyd finished with a game-high 33 for the game, but strangely, was not part of any score involvements at all.

Tim Kelly

The more time ticks by, the more it looks unlikely that Kelly will remain a Cat in 2019… and what a hole he’ll leave.

He kicked the sealer today, snapping a classy goal minutes after a miss from 45. This one was harder, with the Swans’ Dane Rampe non-committal in applying pressure. Rampe looked as though he expected Kelly to hand off to the running Ablett, but the young man took it on himself, and curled the ball around his body to drag it back for a goal.

Kelly had some nice moments throughout the game. I particularly liked his mark at half forward against Rampe in the third quarter. Rampe is an excellent defender who reads the ball well. Kelly read it better on this occasion, and he clunked it.

The contested nature of the game meant that disposal efficiency was down for several players. Kelly was one of those today, ticking over at only 57% for the game, but when you look at the way he dug the ball out to Narkle for a goal in the second quarter was a beautiful piece of extraction, and creativity for his teammate.

In case you missed it - The Mongrel's Rolling All-Australian Team after Round 15

THE BAD

Gary Ablett as a forward

It’s not often I’ve thought this… but Gaz just didn’t look dangerous tonight. Part of me wonders whether he might be carrying something? I mean, how often have you seen him caught holding the ball twice in a game, let alone twice in a quarter? He got pinged twice in the first quarter tonight, which set off a few alarm bells for me.

I’d like to put it down to being an anomaly, but there were long stretches where Gaz had very little influence on the play. Maybe the Cats are nursing him through to September? Let’s hope they don’t need to pull out all the stops to get there. Tonight’s win helps that cause immensely.

Selective second efforts from Buddy

We all love Buddy, and we all love when he kicks goals.

But what about when he decides that second efforts aren’t worth the effort? He did it today in the Swans goal square in the third quarter. Bud had recently been gifted a goal by Will Hayward and was up and about. The ball came in long and he and Mark Blicavs contested in the air. The ball fell to the front of them, where Blicavs recovered better.

Buddy kind of drifted to the goal line and stood there for a second as Blicavs handballed to a retreating Zach Tuohy, who found himself in the goal square looking for options. Sensing the chance to tackle, Franklin then ran at Tuohy, but it was too late, and the Cats cleared.

Forward pressure only works when all players subscribe to it, all the time. You can’t pick and choose when you apply it, and it can’t be a ‘sometimes’ action. Defensive pressure is not the cookie of the football world.

In other circumstances, Franklin applied great pressure, including a sequence early in the third where he, Hayward and Florent completely hemmed the Cats in the defensive 50. I’d love for that to be the standard he holds himself to all the time.

In case you missed it - A little piece we ran on Joel Selwood earlier this year

 THE UGLY

Bad kicking is bad football

Yeah it was only a two-goal game, but check out the scoring shots.

The Swans had 14 for the game. The Cats had 31. They should’ve blown them away, particularly as some of those shots were very, very gettable.

Misses to Jones, Hawkins, Fogarty and Dangerfield all could’ve really stretched the margin and given the Cats the opportunity to put the Swans to the sword. They didn’t, and with five or six minutes to go, the game was in the balance as a result.

They got away with it this time, but you wouldn’t want that kind of conversion to become habitual.

The protected zone

OK, there were two instances of this tonight where the player infringing on the space had very little, if any opportunity to get out of the protected zone.

Tim Kelly deviated from his line immediately when the whilste was blown. You can see him change direction to get away from the Swans player with the ball. 50 metres. It resulted in a Tom McCartin mark and shot at goal, but it was poetic justice that it resulted only in a behind.

Likewise, Dan Hannebery was in the contest when Jack henry marked. He ran backwards to get out, and Henry trotted back to take his kick. Hannebery had no intention of interfering with the play and was definitely trying to exit the area. 50 metres. Luckily, this one didn’t end with a scoring shot.

Long story short – 50 metres is way too big a penalty for something so minor, and something policed so sporadically that you can see two identical plays minutes apart, and one will be called for infringing and another won’t. Footy fans just want consistency, but free kicks and 50 metre penalties applied like this give us anything but.

In case you missed it - Cats v Bulldogs Good, Bad and Ugly

OTHER BITS

With Ben Jacobs spending time on the sidelines, is George Hewett becoming the best run-with player in the game?

The players seem so gun-shy about rushing the ball over the line for a behind. Aliir and Josh Kennedy didn’t even try to get close to the line in the first quarter. Instead, Kennedy hacked it out of apparent danger, only for it to land with Howlin’ Mad Murdoch. Luckily for the Swans, he didn’t convert.

Might be a bit controversial, but in the tackle where Jake Lloyd caught Danger holding the ball, I think Dangerfield actually initiated the momentum that saw him hit his head on the ground. I’m not joking – watch it again. Lloyd doesn’t swing him or drive him. Danger just kind of goes head first… so glad this was not deemed a dangerous tackle.

If you’re a defender and you have a 2-2 situation with Buddy, you’d feel pretty comfortable. I’m not sure I can remember him ever hitting a pack and taking a mark.

Gave Buddy a bit of a whack earlier, but his quick thinking to knock the ball between his legs as he was on the boundary created an inside 50 where a stoppage seemed the most likely outcome.

The Swans pressure was so good early. They were always first to help out with their teammate in a one-on-one contest. A few times in the first a Geelong player would win a one-on-one, look up and have another Swan bearing down and also, no one to give it to. Yeah, the tables turned later and it was the Cats turning the screws, but it was all the Swans’ way early.

Hawkins got a couple of lace-out passes today. The first, to open the second quarter, was a ripper from Fogarty. The second was an absolute bullet from Danger – almost put a hole in his chest.

Really hope Ollie Florent doesn’t make a habit out of dropping uncontested marks. That’s two in as many weeks.

The Cats’ homework on not allowing Buddy to curl onto that left foot was great. Pity they forgot to chase him into the pocket where he gathered the footy and kicked a goal from less than ten out anyway.

Nice game for Aliir today. Starting to look as though he belongs again.

Loving the way Tom Stewart attacks the ball. He did it with ferocity in the second quarter that, although he didn’t receive a stat for it, allowed his team to take possession and set up a shot at goal for Kelly.

I would’ve loved to have seen Rhys Stanley slot the goal from 40 out in the third quarter just to reward Joel Selwood’s quick thinking and beautiful squaring pass.

How did Florent evade two tackles at half back against the boundary and still have no one to give the ball to? I wrote about the Swans early pressure – this is where the turning of the tables was evident. Geelong just completely had him shackled, even with the Florent able to slip tackles. When he released the ball, the Cats pounced. The turnover went straight back inside the Cats’ 50, Nick Smith’s double fist didn’t reach the boundary, and Brandon Parfitt fed Hawkins for a goal.

Loved the desperation of Mark Blicavs to track the ball down in the air, get a fist on it to spoil Dan Hannebery and halt the Swans’ momentum. If he doesn't get there, they were out.

Horrible free kick to Danger against Rampe to open the third quarter. Just a real howler.

Great work by Cam Guthrie to split the contest against Franklin in the last. Buddy should’ve eaten that mark, but Guthrie made it hard for him (tee hee).

I was barracking for Hawkins to finish with a goal after selling multiple candies in the last quarter. Ah well…

How fitting that Harry Taylor was the one to grab the ball and snap the goal to put the Cats up by 18 points.

And finally, please tell me I'm not the only one who thought the old bloke falling over onto the field was funny? How about when they replayed it a few times? It got funnier! He was so annoyed.

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