Geelong have returned to the winners list with a measured, 27 point victory over the Sydney Swans on Sunday. Sydney were competitive for the first half of the match, but Geelong looked to be in complete control despite the Swans resistance and 3+ goal lead. The Cats paced themselves perfectly as they ran out the game in dominating fashion after the half time break. The win was sweeter for Geelong with key forward Tom Hawkins celebrating his 250th game in style by booting 5 goals. The loss to Sydney ends any ideas of a finals berth with only 4 matches remaining for the 2019 season.
The Swans started pretty well with 3 goals to 1 in the first quarter. Goals to Sam Reid, Tom Papley and Jordan Dawson saw Sydney hold a 15 point lead with 250 gamer Tom Hawkins the solitary goal kicker for Geelong. To illustrate the example of how Geelong had a grip on this game despite the score was in the stats. The Cats had more hit outs 15-3 (Zac Smith 10 to Swans stand-in ruck Hayden McLean 4), more clearances 13-4 and 11-2 stoppages. Geelong coach Chris Scott would later explain post-game that they had plenty of the ball but weren’t using it as well as they should have and adjusted.
Geelong hit back hard in the second term with 5 goals. Tom Hawkins booted two, whilst Esava Ratugolea, Patrick Dangerfield and Scott Selwood added singles. They were simply to quick and strong up forward and the Swans defense struggled to contain the Cats forward set up. Sydney did respond thanks to goals from Josh Kennedy, Ben Ronke and Isaac Heeney which helped keep their team in the game with the scores locked at 41 points apiece at the main break.
The classic cliche of the 3rd quarter being the match winning sector was never more truer than on Sunday. Geelong slammed on 4 goals to Sydney’s 1 goal and took total control of the game. Tim Kelly in the midfield was doing some tremendous work in the midfield. Kelly ended up with 31 disposals, with Mitch Duncan lending a helping hand with 26 disposals, 2 goals and 4 tackles. Sydney struggled to go forward as the miserly Geelong defense kept them out.
The Cats closed out the game with a 6 goal final term. Sydney made the losing score a little more respectable thanks to the efforts of Isaac Heeney who kicked two hard earned goals. Tom Hawkins made it to five goals in the last term and was probably Geelong’s best player for the day. The final margin ended at a 27 point victory for Geelong. In a decent sporting gesture, the Sydney team lined up along with the Geelong team as Tom Hawkins was carried off the ground due to his 250th game.
Post match Chris Scott was glad his side was back to winning a game of footy “I thought it was a better performance from us than what we’ve displayed in the past month”.
Sydney coach John Longmire was pleased with Sydney’s start but lamented the fade out “Our first half was good We broke even with a lot of the stats at half time. We just fell away in the contest in the second half”.
Geelong 1st (14 wins, 4 losses) cement their place at the top of the AFL ladder by 1 game. The Cats play Fremantle 12th (8 wins, 10 losses) in Perth next Saturday afternoon whilst Sydney 15th (6 wins, 12 losses) face cross town rivals the Greater Western Sydney Giants 5th (11 wins, 7 losses) next Saturday afternoon at Giants Stadium, Homebush.
SYDNEY 3.3 6.5 7.6 12.8 (80)
GEELONG 1.1 6.5 10.10 16.11 (107)
Sydney: Dawson 3, Heeney 3, Ronke 2, Papley, Kennedy, Blakey, Parker
Geelong: Hawkins 5, Clark 2, Dangerfield 2, Duncan 2, Ratugolea, S.Selwood, J.Selwood, Parsons, Atkins
Sydney: Parker, Heeney, Kennedy, Ronke
Geelong: Hawkins, Duncan, Kelly, Clark
Sydney: Oliver Florent (hip) replaced by Ben Ronke
Umpires: Justin Power, Dean Margetts, Brendan Hosking
Official crowd: 32,911 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore Park, Paddington, Sydney Australia, New South Wales