Has there been a bigger milestone match than this one?
Geelong acknowledged two of their modern day greats at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday, with Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood bringing up games 350 and 300 respectively. With Selwood just the 91st player to join the 300 club and Ablett only the 17th to play 350, these milestones alone make it one of the more remarkable double celebrations.
Then there is the small matter of just how important both players have been to the Geelong Football Club. We aren’t going to list all the pair have accomplished in their distinguished careers but it is fair to say they are held in particularly high esteem. If it isn’t the biggest celebration game played, we look forward to hearing which one was.
How the Game Was Won
Geelong looked to be in for a comfortable afternoon when they went to the first break with a 20-point advantage. This Gold Coast team is built of sterner stuff than that though and charged back into the contest in the second quarter.
Ben King, the Suns young gun forward, was largely responsible for his team’s second quarter comeback. His three goals for the quarter counteracting Tom Hawkins who had the same number to his name at the long break.
The Suns pressure and effort looked to have paid dividends when they took a nine point lead early in the third quarter. Unfortunately, while it would be a decisive term it would be for the wrong reason for the visitors. With Mitch Duncan and Sam Menegola taking charge in the middle, Geelong would kick five of the next six goals to take a stranglehold of the contest.
Gold Coast would never stop coming but in the end the final quarter was a celebration for the home team. Gary Ablett putting an exclamation mark on his milestone day with a goal scored with a long bomb from outside fifty. It would be his only major impact for the game whereas his fellow milestone man was more influential with his 22 possessions seeing him among the Cats best.
What the Coaches Said
Stuart Dew acknowledged Geelong as the better team on the day. “Tonight Geelong were really hard in the contest and full credit to them,” he told reporters. “They not only matched us, they beat us inside and were then able to get the game going on their terms.” He lamented that while his team were able to get on top on those areas at times, they weren’t able to do so for long enough.
Despite this he was keen to praise his teams spirit. “In that period in the second and third quarter we showed a little resilience to fight back against a really strong and experienced footy club. So we’ll be able to capture some of that and the good parts that came with that,” he enthused.
Chris Scott too was happy to praise the opposition. “They looked like a good team didn’t they?” he rhetorically asked the assembled media. “I suspect that because they probably are. The second quarter they were really good, dominated early in the third quarter and we were on the ropes,” he said.
“To be frank a couple of times when they beat us it was just good players winning contests it wasn’t much more complicated than that. That’s what the good teams have. I suspect if they aren’t one of those now they certainly will be soon, so it was a good win.” he said.
GEELONG 4.3 5.6 10.7 13.11 (89)
GOLD COAST 1.1 5.2 8.4 8.4 (52)
Geelong: Hawkins 3, Parfitt 2, Ablett, Dahlhaus, Dangerfield, Menegola, Miers, Ratugolea, Rohan, Steven
Gold Coast: King 3, Day 2, Weller 2, Sexton
Geelong: Duncan, Hawkins, Menegola, Selwood, Dangerfield, Tuohy
Gold Coast: Swallow, Greenwood, King, Anderson, Bowes, Miller
Gold Coast: Rowell (right shoulder)