Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth
Geelong gave the West Coast Eagles a football lesson when they beat them hands down in a one-sided display at Patersons Stadium in their Round 21 match. From the get-go Geelong were all over their opponents, kicking the first two goals before the crowd had all taken their seats. From there on it only got better for the Cats.
Steven Motlop was running on turbocharge, dashing from one part of the ground to the other and kicking truly. He and his teammates were pushing past the Eagles in a steamrolling style that always had them moving forward. West Coast players were having difficulty getting their hands on the ball and it got ugly quickly when they found themselves five goals down within the first ten minutes. The Eagles only managed to score goals as a result of two free kicks. It was soon obvious that the style and fight that West Coast had shown over many encounters with Geelong in the past had deserted them. They were lucky to be only 24 points behind when the first quarter ended.
Early in the second quarter West Coast dropped their zone and went man-on-man. This stopped the bleeding for a while and gave them a chance to get some possessions and a feel for the leather in their hands. Then the floodgates opened up, led by James Kelly who bailed up the Eagles and kicked their next two goals. The Geelong midfielders were all over their opposition, conjuring up chances out of thin air that were telling on the scoreboard. The Eagles floundered and fumbled in all parts of the ground with the perceived pressure the Cats were placing on them. Joel Selwood was having a field day, rubbing the nose of his younger brother Scott into the dirt every chance he got. He slotted a second goal to cap off a stellar performance leading his team. Geelong kept the ball in constant motion, running and providing overlap as they marched up the ground, outclassing their rivals at every turn. Geelong held the Eagles goalless in the second term and moved the lead out to 56 points.
In the second half the Eagles needed to play if not for a win, then for some self respect. Josh Hill managed to spark that when he kicked their first goal since the 23 minute mark in the first quarter. After that it was simply more pain. Joel Selwood lead from the front kicking Geelong’s next two goals. West Coast midfielders were kicking wildly and hoping that their forwards would take a mark but it was all to no avail. The Cats had double the inside 50s and were making good use of them. Allen Christensen and Jordan Murdoch goaled through some slick transitions up the ground, making the most of some woeful Eagles turnovers. The home crowd of nearly 35,000 people either collectively groaned or remained steadfastly silent at the maladroitness displayed by their team in the lopsided spectacle. By three quarter time the Cats had pushed their lead out to 70 points and the game developed into a drubbing of the most embarrassing kind.
With the wet conditions sapping the endurance of both teams, the final quarter was full of stoppages and possession football. Geelong still had good movement and more run in their legs than West Coast but it was obvious that the sting had gone out of the game and players just wanted it to be over. There were only three goals scored in this term and the Eagles had two of them as consolation goals as the game would down. Even that was not enough to stop their most humiliating defeat in the history of the club at their home ground. Previously 47 points was the lowest they had scored at Patersons and when the siren finished the game they had only scored 41. It was a whitewash and showed the disparity between a team that has a real chance of winning the Premiership and a team that has run its race this season.
Geelong is going to be a force to be reckoned with in September. There is a good chance they will finish second and score the double chance in the Finals. Any team that confronts them will be worried. West Coast should play some youngsters in the remaining two rounds, as they will need to blood them in to replace some of their aging warhorses who have perhaps gone on one season too many.
Scoreboard West Coast: 2.1 2.3 4.5 6.5 (41) Geelong: 6.1 11.5 15.9 16.11 (107) Best players West Coast: Wellingham, Glass Geelong: J Selwood, Kelly, Stokes, Christensen, Mackie
Article last changed on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 7:27 PM EDT