Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from Australia
Facing Geelong after a big win over Essendon promised to be a huge challenge for the Adelaide Crows and making it especially hard was the venue being Simonds Stadium. The visitors hadn’t tasted success there since 2003 but their great form presented them with their best chance for some time. The Cats are known as a good performing team in wet conditions. With rain forecast, they were going into the encounter as favorites although perhaps not by as much as previous seasons.
It was announced just before the bounce that Crows' ruckman Sam Jacobs was going to be missing with a hamstring injury that didn’t come on in time for the game. Within three seconds of the opening bounce, Geelong found itself missing a superstar of its own after a big bump from Crow Scott Thompson put Steve Johnson flat on his back. After ten minutes on the sidelines, it was decided that Johnson would be subbed out of the game. It took a while after the incident for the game to settle down but when it did it was Adelaide that drew first blood with goals from Bernie Vince and David McKay. The Cats soon got two of their own through forwards Tom Hawkins and the always dangerous Paul Chapman and, with Hawkins dominating the one on one contests near goals, it suddenly looked like Geelong would be able to take control of the game.
Joel Corey was playing a great game in his 250th appearance for the Cats and when the rain came in during the quarter time break, all of the pieces looked to be falling the way of the home team. Indeed this proved to be the case as Geelong were clearly the superior outfit in the second quarter. When Hawkins kicked his third for the game at the 15 minute mark, the Cats had kicked eight of the last ten goals and had worked their way to a 25 point lead. Once again it was Chapman finding the goals with a great kick from a sharp angle and at half time it was a 33 point buffer to the Cats.
Second half action was at a stalemate for the first ten minutes until Adelaide's livewire forward Ian Callinan snapped a good goal to get the scoring underway. The goal was against the run of play as Geelong still looked like the dominant team but it seemed to wake the Crows up. Patrick Dangerfield kicked another after a run of good play and suddenly the margin was back to 20 points. Geelong got a steadier through Mitch Duncan but straight away it was Adelaide again, as quick thinking from Josh Jenkins set up a Jason Porplyzia mark and goal before Dangerfield kicked another from long range and Rory Sloane got on the scoreboard with an over the shoulder snap.
After Geelong had dominated so much of the game early, best on ground performer Corey was sidelined with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Suddenly the Crows had piled on five of the last six goals showing just how important the veteran had been, especially with Johnson out for the game. An eight point margin was the result at the end of the quarter and a close result was on the cards.
As with the third quarter, the last one got underway with hard, tough football by both sides. Goals were hard to come by but once again it was the Crows who were able to break the deadlock and when Richard Douglas found Porplyzia on the lead with pinpoint accuracy, the straight kick that followed had the margin back to just two points.
Torrential rain swept across Simonds Stadium and, as they have done many times before, Geelong stepped up when the going got tough. Consecutive goals to Andrew Mackie who found space running off of half back made the lead a little more comfortable with just 13 minutes to go. Mathew Stokes was lively in the Geelong forward line and when he set up another Mitch Duncan goal it looked like the floodgates had opened and the Cats were going to run away with the game. While Adelaide had put up a valiant effort to come back during the third quarter and early in the last, they ran out of gas and a couple more goals to Geelong put the result beyond doubt.
With the race for the Finals as close this season as it has been for years, the win for Geelong sees them entrenched in the Top Eight. For Adelaide the loss means they fall a game behind League leaders Sydney in the race for the Minor Premiership (the team which finishes in top position after all rounds have been played). The Crows have a favorable run home however and are still in a great position to challenge Hawthorn, Sydney and Collingwood for top spot.
Next week sees Geelong take on Hawthorn in a blockbuster Friday night game at the MCG while Adelaide host an out of sorts and injury ravaged Essendon at AAMI Stadium in the final game of Round 19.
Scoreboard Geelong: 4.3 9.7 10.10 15.12 (102) Adelaide: 3.2 4.4 9.8 11.9 (75) Best Players Geelong: Hawkins, Bartel, Corey, Selwood, Christensen, Chapman, Duncan Adelaide: Thompson, Dangerfield, Wright, Vince, Douglas, Porplyzia
Article last changed on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 9:19 AM EDT