Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wow! What a Day! What a Game!


Nothing but football ahead (with small traces of family/nuts).

Vicki had promised to take Shannon's boys to the footy on Easter Monday but sadly they were refused permission at the last minute. Some power plays at work and typically, the kids are the innocent victims. So Vicki drove down from Tatong/Shepparton with a basket of snacks and goodies and no kids to eat them.
(Until she got to the MCG that is and her little brother and nephew availed themselves of said treats.)

The Heir and I took the early footy train up from South Geelong. He scrambled off at Southern Cross to drop his gear home and grab some warm clothes, the weather having taken a decidedly wintery turn. 
I got off at Richmond and was greeted by a hail storm on my way to the G.
Task #1 was to pick up our family membership cards from the deluged Geelong marquee.
Task #2 was try and get some decent seats in the Great Southern Stand.
Having accomplished these I settled in for the long wait till game time and the arrival of the others.

The Heir arrived about half an hour later but a phone call from Vicki confirmed my fears that they had closed the MCG carpark, a sneaky trick they pull without notice whenever wet weather arrives! Because of her poor health/chronic pain I knew Vicki wouldn't be able to manage a long walk back from a city carpark so I said I'd go and park the car somewhere while she went in to the game. Good fortune smiled upon us in the form of a sympathetic car park attendant who granted us special entry after I explained the circumstances. We ended up parking within 100m of the ground and managed to get in and up to our seats by half way through the first quarter. By then Stevie J had kicked two goals and the Cats were 6 points up against the Hawks. I was pleased. We often start slowly against Hawthorn and play catch up for the rest of the day.

The game was an absolute RIPPER, a see-sawing affair with both sides having dominant periods before the other side fought back. Early in the third quarter Hawthorn had broken 21 points clear and it looked like the tipsters were going to be right, they were going to beat us for the first time since the 2008 Grand Final.
(On the strength of Darlow's conviction that we were going to win I had gone against the trend and tipped the Cats. A tip in faith more than confidence although our record against Hawthorn did give me cause for hope).

When Hawthorn kicked their 5th goal on the trot I told The Heir I was "a little worried". His grim expression suggested he agreed, and Vicki confessed later that she expected to lose the whole day.
The Cats fought back to level the scores and we all took heart. Geelong's resilience, fighting toughness and never-give-in attitude were in evidence yet again.
Sparked back into action the Hawks kicked the next three goals and at the final change were 18 points in front.

I told The Heir I was "a little worried".

Joel Selwood's head was swathed in bandagesfrom a cut in the first quarter but he just fought harder and even another, accidental, whack to the head early in the last couldn't stop him. Yes he looked wobbly for a minute or two, but after a brief visit to the bench he was right back in the fray.

Jimmy Bartel did what Jimmy Bartel does. Heroically. He kicked the first goal of the last quarter, which was being played in driving rain and swirling winds by the way, and was in everything forward and back.

And then there was Tom. Tommy Hawkins. The Tomahawk. He was magnificent and monumental. He took 12 marks, 5 contested inside 50, had 22 possessions and kicked three goals to be best on ground. His Grand Final form had been a preview not a climax it seems.

The JPod chimed in with 3 great goals in the last quarter and 5 for the game, the last of which put us in front by 3 points with 6 minutes left.

An epic arm wrestle followed as both teams attacked ferociously and defended grimly.

Buddy Franklin twice tried to drick (dribble kick) goals running into the 50 and twice failed to score. Breust missed a set shot from 20m out. The Cats were hanging on. Just.
Then the pivotal moment came. Franklin soccered the ball across the goal face to Osborne who had merely to toe-poke it through to grab back the lead. Instead he picked it up. Andrew Mackie, who had been 10 metres behind him somehow made up the ground, laid a tackle, forced Osborne to drop the ball and then scrambled it through to concede a behind.
We stood and cheered, and stared, and shook our heads in disbelief, wonder and admiration.
Mackie is prone to turning the ball over but in that instant he saved the game and the Cats held on for an incredible two point victory.
We sang the song at the tops of our voices. 
We yelled and cheered and hugged and laughed in a wild and joyful celebration of yet another miraculous Cat's victory.

It was a long slow drive back to Geelong through the rain and the traffic but we were warmed by an inner glow that has still not diminished.


Peter said...

One of the best games(regardless of who you were supporting) that I've ever seen on television, and also one of the days that will keep me exiled from Vic.!!!!

Merle said...

I've had a change heart, Friday nights game eclipsed the Cats - Hawks game, the pure delight of seeing Collingwood go down by 10 goals... pure magic!!

Peter said...

Oops I was still signed in as Merle after fixing her post... but as she is a Blues supporter I'm pretty sure she would agree!!!!!