With the Grand Final played and won, the long dark no football months of summer lie in wait for us. In an effort to bring some light to this miserable time, The Pinch Hitters intend to take a look back at the season that was and celebrate the great moments of season 2018. Today we shine a spotlight on Geelong, who despite their season ending much earlier than they have become accustomed, still produced moments to savour. Lets count down the Top Five.
5. Try that at home if you can!
Chris Scott called the Cats Round 10 clash with Carlton a terrible game but there was at least one highlight on a disappointing night at GMHBA Stadium when Sam Menegola kicked a contender for goal of the year.
Despite seeming to have run too close to desperate Carlton defenders and the goals to have any chance to split the big sticks, Menegola invoked a little bit of creative license to bring the home crowd to their feet. Off-balance and running out of space, he threw the ball on-handed to his boot and his hurried check-side effort snuck home to the delight of the 26 year old Western Australian and his team mates.
4. Tom Hawkins.
A mid-year burst in which he kicked back to back bags of seven goals was the highlight of a sensational year from Tom Hawkins in 2018. Geelong’s leading goal kicker for the seventh consecutive year, the big Cat kicked 60 goals to finish third in the Coleman Medal. An impromptu chorus of Happy Birthday was sung to the 30-year-old when he broke Melbourne’s hearts, with four last quarter goals, to celebrate his birthday and one of the most heart-stopping wins of the season.
He was an unlucky exclusion from the All-Australian team when it was announced in September after a season in which he recorded elite averages in the majority of statistical measurements. Remarkably given his status as the third highest goal scorer for the year, Hawkins was also third in the competition for goal assists.
3. Staying on track for September.
Coming into their Round 16 clash with the Swans the Cats found them perilously placed inside the eight by percentage with four teams behind them within one game or less. With tough games against Adelaide, Melbourne, Hawthorn and Richmond to come in the five weeks that followed, it was vital that they got the points against the Swans.
Playing like a team with their season on the line, Geelong dominated the contest, comfortable winning the battle for possession and territory. Unfortunately, due to diabolical kicking for goal, they found themselves in a gripping battle for the four points when the game entered time on in the final quarter.
After Patrick Dangerfield extended their lead at the start of the final term, Geelong kicked six consecutive behinds and looked to have kicked themselves out of the game as Sydney challenged late. An outstanding goal from Tim Kelly broke the run and settled the Cats before Harry Taylor bobbed up forward to kick the sealer. A big win away from home it would help put the Cats back on the path to September.
2. Sixth times the charm for Tim Kelly.
Having been overlooked in the draft for five years in a row, Tim Kelly played like a man with a point to prove after being drafted by the Cats at his sixth attempt. Quickly cementing his place in Geelong’s star studded midfield, the 24 year old averaged 23-disposals a game and would finish the year adjudged the AFLPA’s Best First Year Player and tied for second with Patrick Dangerfield in the club’s best and fairest. Despite a much publicised desire to be traded to Western Australia at seasons end, Kelly will be back in blue and white hoops in 2019 to the great delight of Cats fans.
1. Tuohy buries the Dees
When Tom McDonald put the Demons up by 30-points at the beginning of the third-quarter Geelong appeared certain to become Melbourne’s first Top Eight scalp of 2018. The Cats, however refused to concede and on the back of a masterful fourth quarter from Gary Ablett, who had 14 touches and five inside 50’s in the last 30 minutes, put themselves in a position to pull of the steal of the season.
Matching Ablett’s performance in the middle, on his 30th Birthday, Tom Hawkins was a colossus up forward. His sixth goal for the night, and third in the last quarter, was his fifth involvement in seven Geelong goals for the term and brought his team back within a kick. Despite both star’s efforts, the Cats shot at victory only came after they dodged one last bullet when Jay Kennedy-Harris missed an opportunity to ice the game for the Demons.
Fittingly both men would be play prominent roles in the game’s decisive thrust. Finding the ball in heavy traffic inside defensive 50, rather than bomb long like many others would, a poised Ablett found Tom Stewart in space with a handpass. Taking the ball at speed, Stewart found Daniel Menzel by foot who passed it into the corridor where Hawkins took a strong contested mark. Playing on immediately, Hawkins released Mitch Duncan who kicked long inside 50. As the 30,125 spectators watched on with their hearts in their mouths Duncan’s perfectly weighted pass made its way forward until it was grasped strongly by Zac Touhy over a despairing Neville Jetta.
As he prepared for his shot the siren sounded and Touhy was left to his thoughts as he attempted to win the game off his own boot.
It did start on the right goal post and I wasn’t sure how much it was going to come inside and I was just thinking, ‘Don’t clip the inside (of the post)’, Tuohy said in a jubilant Geelong rooms after the game. That would have been worse than just missing but fortunately I do tend to move the ball a little right to left when I kick anyway.
I carried on like a bit of a pork chop initially. I should’ve been cooler. I’m flat I wasn’t cooler.
Zac Tuohy Post Match
As far as The Pinch Hitters when you are responsible for one of the moments of the season you have every right to carry on like a pork chop. One of, if not the best finish of the year, we hope he his a little more comfortable with his emotional response to the best moment of Geelong’s 2018 season.
What do you think?