Geelong pulled off one of the upsets of the season in smashing the much fancied Sydney Swans by 59 points at the MCG on Friday night. The Cats turned around a disappointing loss to Richmond just a week before in dominating the Swans from the outset.
Geelong overcame a pre-game blow when key backman Tom Lonergan was struck down with a bout of food poisoning, making him unavailable for the do or die final. The absence of Lonergan forced Cats coach Chris Scott to make some structural changes, including sending forward Harry Taylor to the backline with a job on gun Sydney forward Lance Franklin. To fill the vacant forward gap Scott sent Brownlow medal winning midfielder Patrick Dangerfield to full forward at the opening bounce. Both moves proved to be a spectacular success.
Dangerfield not only kicked four goals, he managed to rack up 26 possessions moving between the forward line and midfield.
In stark contrast to their previous matchups against Sydney this season where they conceded multiple goals, the Cats started the better this time, taking a five point lead into the first break.
Mitch Duncan, Dangerfield and a rejuvenated Sam Menegola tore the Sydney midfield apart in the second term as the Cats added six goals to one, leaving the stunned crowd to ponder a 36 point Geelong lead at half time, in a game that most expected to be controlled by the in-form Swans.
Any anticipated comeback was not forthcoming, as the vaunted Sydney midfield of Kennedy, Hannebery and Parker was completely dominated by their Geelong counterparts. Franklin, so often a match winner for the Swans, could not get into the game at all, raising questions about his fitness after suffering a bad corked thigh a week earlier. The game breaking forward finished the game with just 0.3 to his name, completely blanketed by Harry Taylor with some help from Lachie Henderson.
The Swans exited the finals race with a whimper after a season in which they rallied from a 0-6 start to lose just twice – both to Hawthorn – before the spanking at the hands of the Cats.
The second half saw much of the same as the Cats ferocious attack on the ball denied Sydney the time and space to mount an expected comeback. The victory sees the Cats now travel to Adelaide to take on the first placed Adelaide Crows for a spot in the Grand Final at the MCG in two weeks’ time. The Crows have been the form team of the competition all season, so Geelong will no doubt be at their best to win. The matchup is a promoter’s dream, with ex-Adelaide now Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield the man that Crow fans love to hate. He can expect a hostile reception when he sets foot on the Adelaide Oval turf on Friday night.
Don’t miss what should be a great match to see who takes on the winner of the Greater Western Sydney Giants versus the Richmond Tigers. Check the AFANA site for game telecast times.
Scoreboard: Geelong Cats 3.1 9.4 13.4 15.8 (98) Sydney Swans 2.2 3.4 4.9 5.9 (39) Best Players: Geelong: Dangerfield, Henderson, Menegola, Duncan, Motlop, Blicavs, Taylor Sydney: Hannebery, Grundy, Lloyd, Jack, McVeigh
Article last changed on Monday, September 18, 2017 - 9:46 PM EDT