Underdog Cats put Swans to the sword

Steve Johnson fires out a handball.

 Heath Grundy spoils Mark Blicavs.Heath Grundy spoils Mark Blicavs.

THE Sydney Swans got a taste of their own medicine as the Geelong Cats suffocated the Swans to notch a fourth successive win tonight.

The 21-point victory over the reigning premiers at the SCG shapes as a critical result as few teams are likely to leave there this year with the points.

The blockbuster opened with a first-quarter shoot-out and 15 goals before the first break; it then settled into an arm wrestle and ended with Geelong in almost total control. Sydney seemed to lose the pace from the contest which had worried Geelong in the first half but the Cats eventually ran out fairly comfortable winners 19.10 (124) to 16.7 (103).
George Horlin-Smith showed great promise in the midfield for the Cats finishing with  23 touches and a goal in his fifth game. Cats captain Joel Selwood starred, bullocking his way to 17 contested possessions in his overall tally of 30 to lead his side admirably. The victory, built on the back of a seven-goal third quarter, was of a standard rarely seen so early in the season – and the most polished of their four wins to date this season.

It started in truly remarkable fashion.

The two sides kicked a combined tally of 15.3 in the opening quarter – already one more goal than what was dished up in the entirety of that memorable 2005 sudden- death fixture.Despite the scoreline, defensive pressure wasn’t missing – Adam Goodes kicked his first major after a passage of play that featured three smothers.

The pace of the game was unsustainable.

So it showed in the second term when the Swans, powered by trademark immense tackling pressure and an ability to keep the ball in their forward line, pulled away and established a 19-point buffer as the scoring dried up. A late 50m penalty against Ben McGlynn gifted a goal to James Podsiadly and helped the Cats bridge the gap to five points at halftime, the same lead the Swans held at the first break.

In the second half, the hard-running and frenetic clearance work of Selwood took over. The 24-year-old somehow defied three straight six-day breaks, finishing with 30 disposals, nine tackles, seven clearances – and surely three Brownlow votes. After a quiet opening half, Tom Hawkins came to life with two goals in the third term and a late sealer in the final term. For the Swans, Dan Hannebery (29 possessions and two goals) was inspirational after copping two heavy knocks that floored him.

The visitors were methodical with the ball in hand and efficient in front of goal as they inflicted the first blemish of the Swans’ premiership defen ce.When Allen Christensen slotted the opening goal of the final term, Geelong had kicked 10 of the past 11 goals and boasted a  37-point lead.

The hosts were forced to call on substitute Mitch Morton late in the second term, with Lewis Roberts-Thomson suffering a suspected knee injury. Roberts-Thomson’s early prognosis was positive. “Our doctor thinks it’s reasonably stable. He’ll have a scan tomorrow and there may be a bit of joint damage,” Swans coach John Longmire said.

Longmire was livid with his side’s lack of endeavour when they didn’t have the ball.  “When you come home with 47 tackles, it’s just not the way we like to play our footy,” he said.  ”…What that’s an indication of is pretty simple – our defensive pressure wasn’t anywhere near good enough.”

Cats coach Chris Scott hailed it as one of the best wins of his tenure.  “Given the opposition. Up here at the SCG it’s hard to win. It would be up there,” Scott said. “We respect the opposition greatly and they were playing pretty good football too.’

– With AAP

GEELONG  7.2    9.4  16.7  19.10 (124)
SYDNEY    8.1  10.3  11.6  16.7 (103)
Goals: Geelong: S Motlop 3 T Hawkins 3 H Taylor 2 M Stokes 2 P Chapman 2 A Christensen B Smedts G Horlin-Smith J Podsiadly J Selwood S Johnson T Hunt. Sydney: J McVeigh 3 A Goodes 2 D Hannebery 2 J Bolton 2 N Malceski 2 B McGlynn J Kennedy L Roberts-Thomson M Pyke S Reid.
Best: Geelong: J Selwood M Stokes G Horlin-Smith H Taylor S Johnson P Chapman. Sydney: D Hannebery K Jack J McVeigh R O’Keefe N Malceski S Mumford.
Injuries: Geelong: Nil. Sydney: D Hannebery (corked calf) L Roberts-Thomson (knee).
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Chris Donlon, Matt Stevic, Shane Stewart.
Official Crowd: 31,060 at SCG.
QUARTER BY QUARTER

1/4 time:
Cats 7.2 (44)
Swans 8.1 (43)
It’s a shoot-out at the SCG. Surprise forward Harry Taylor kicked two goals and missed a third in a free-flowing quarter filled with highlights and outstanding team goals. Fifth-gamer George Horlin-Smith was prominent for the Cats, playing in the midfield, collecting eight possessions and booting a goal.

1/2 time
Cats 9.4 (58)
Swans 10.3 (63)
A classic contest tightens up with the Swans defence holding the Cats at bay and Ted Richards and Heath Grundy dominant. Joel Selwood (18 disposals) had an outstanding quarter to be equal leading possession-winner with the Swans’ Dan Hannebery. Sydney’s pace from the contest is sometimes telling.

3/4 time
Cats 16.7  (103)
Swans  11.6 (72)
The Swans appeared to lose a little run and the Cats were more successful at locking the ball  in their front half. Two goals to Tom Hawkins from strong marks after a goalless first half were part of a 4-0 goal run which opened a 20-point lead. Cats controlled the quarter and late goals to Steve Johnson, Joel Selwood and Taylor Hunt on the siren were more than handy.

Full-time
Cats 19.10 (124)
Swans 16.7 (103)
Joel Selwood led his side to victory with his relentless attack on the footy, racking up 30 touches –  17 of them contested. Mathew Stokes continued his renaissance as a midfielder to have 31 disposals, including two goals while the inventive Steven Motlop, three goals, was also among the Cats’ best. The Swans midfield faded in the second half.

Source: Geelong Advertiser