Q2: 7 mins remaining: Geelong 8.7 (55) v 3.1 (19) Sydney: Parker outmuscles Dangerfield and Heeney can win the centre clearance but Henry marks and Geelong get back into their stride down the right. Smith delivers and off hands the Cats can sniff another goal but Duncan sidesteps straight into a tackle and is smashed holding the ball. Of course, De Koning deals with the exiting kick and Smith sets up another attack, but this one is cut out and the Swans rebound down the left. Reid is involved – but he does not look right – still, the attack continues, Mills marks just on 50, goes back and launches a superb goal! That was a tremendous wallop.
Q2: 9 mins remaining: Geelong 8.7 (55) v 2.1 (13) Sydney: More repeat stoppages after Rowbottom withstands a massive collision with O’Connor, but Dangerfield parts the seas to emerge with the ball. The quick change of momentum allows Hawkins a 1-1 that forces Tom McCartin into a foul. From a narrow angle in the right forward pocket, Hawkins threads the needle for his third! The full forward has equaled his grand final record already.
Q2: 10 mins remaining: Geelong 7.7 (49) v 2.1 (13) Sydney: Stewart is pinged for coming off his mark bringing the ball in and Sydney get a dangerous ball-in opportunity. The play has become something of a grind with repeat stoppages rolling slowly around the ground. Tuohy then does magnificently, kicking across his body out of defence under pressure to allow a mark on right centre wing.
Q2: 12 mins remaining: Geelong 7.7 (49) v 2.1 (13) Sydney: Guthrie clears from the centre square, there’s little separation and Cameron forces a ball-in in on the left wing. Repeat stoppages threaten to break Geelong’s way but when Selwood tries to set up an attack it’s a scrubby kick that’s intercepted. Sydney look to rebound quickly but Geelong are too well set. From the second phase Sydney have space and cut through the centre of the ground until a floaty ball is intercepted by O’Connor on defensive 50. The Cats can’t clear their lines through, Cam Guthrie is caught in possession and Warner has a snap… that floats well wide.
Q2: 13 mins remaining: Geelong 7.7 (49) v 2.1 (13) Sydney: Another kick outside 50, another Geelong fist – De Koning this time, and the game slows down. Smith and Atkins then combine to build down the right but the centring ballis picked off and Sydney rebound. Geelong’s pressure is incredible and a holding the ball call looks imminent but another high-tackle call is made against Rohan and Sydney can go deep. And Mclean takes a one-handed screamer in the goal-square! The Swans needed that. And they need much much more before the final siren.
Q2: 14 mins remaining: Geelong 7.7 (49) v 1.1 (7) Sydney: The Swans can’t clear their lines again. 18 of the last 19 inside-50s have gone Geelong’s way. The latest ends with a rushed behind.
Q2: 15 mins remaining: Geelong 7.6 (48) v 1.1 (7) Sydney: Another Geelong centre clearance, Blicavs spins and belts the ball inside 50 – Rohan wins the pack mark – and another scoring shot materialises. He sprays it wide for a point.
Q2: 16 mins remaining: Geelong 7.5 (47) v 1.1 (7) Sydney: Franklin comes all the way up the ground to try to get his hands on the footy, but when he gets involved the play is static around him and Geelong set up to clear. Every bouncing ball has a Cat at ground level, every aerial contest has a Geelong fist near it. Bews marks the latest clearing kick, he calmly finds Stengle just inside 50 and the Cats have another shot at goal. The All Australian small forward roosts a monster and the Cats kick further clear.
Q2: 18 mins remaining: Geelong 6.5 (41) v 1.1 (7) Sydney: It isn’t pretty but Geelong smuggle the ball downfield with Rohan effective. Again they have territorial control in the right forward pocket, but Stengle clips Rampe high and Sydney can clear. Stewart is there again though and the ball is pumped straight back. But again a high hit rescues the Swans – Rohan this time a little clumsy.
Q2: 19 mins remaining: Geelong 6.5 (41) v 1.1 (7) Sydney: Stanley should have the clearance but Papley does well to smother. Stewart should then clear but he’s run down. The ball breaks to Franklin… who smashes the post with a snap from 15m on an angle. Almost the dream start to the quarter from Sydney.
Isaac Heeney hasn’t touched the footy. Lance Franklin just the one disposal, Sam Reid two. The Swans have been torched and need an immediate response.
Geelong have almost double Sydney’s disposal count, almost triple the inside-50s, and triple the number of marks – five of which have been inside-50, to Sydney’s 0.
Joel Selwood has 12 disposals and four marks, Tom Hawkins and Isaac Smith have two goals apiece. Blicavs, De Koning, Dangerfield, Guthrie, and Stewart were also superb in that opening onslaught.
That was one-way traffic. Geelong absolutely rampant.
Q1: 1 min remaining: Geelong 6.5 (41) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: Selwood then kicks to a contest that Sydney win, before marking the subsequent kick downfield. This time Geelong exit and O’Connor marks 70m on centre wing. He goes long, Close is busy, the ball comes off hands for a point.
Q1: 1 min remaining: Geelong 6.4 (40) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: Henry is the man this time to repel Sydney’s clearance but Smith and Close can’t advance far down the right flank before a ball-in. The Swans win a couple of challenges and get the ball downfield. Geelong do well to repel the first effort then Selwood forces a rushed kick out on the full.
Q1: 2 mins remaining: Geelong 6.4 (40) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: Geelong again win the clearing kick outside 50 – Zach Guthrie this time – and he’s awarded a 50m penalty for encroachment. Another shot for goal… and another behind.
Q1: 2 mins remaining: Geelong 6.3 (39) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: It’s a 50:50 centre bounce but Geelong soon wrestle possession away. Blicavs is strong, Guthrie decisive, and Cameron marks on the lead 40m out… but he can’t split the big sticks this time.
Q1: 3 mins remaining: Geelong 6.2 (38) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: The Swans try to exit 50 – De Koning gets a fist to the contest, Smith swivels and kicks in an instant, Close marks on the angle 40m out. He goes back and kicks Geelong’s sixth – the first time in grand final history they have kicked so many in an opening quarter. This is extraordinary.
Q1: 4 mins remaining: Geelong 5.2 (32) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: Reid beats three Cats in the air in a crucial contest but Sydney can’t capitalise because Stewart is so good. The Cats build again down the right – their preferred side all quarter – and soon they have another entry through Stengle. Miers crumbs, snaps, but it’s a behind.
Q1: 5 mins remaining: Geelong 5.1 (31) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: Geelong are almost out again but Selwood slips. Stewart does complete the clearance and Hawkins hustles McCartin into panicking in the right forward pocket. From the ball in Rampe tries to clear but Selwood marks on 50 then feeds Miers on the lead. the number 32 absolutely butchers the set shot which flies out on the full.
Q1: 6 mins remaining: Geelong 5.1 (31) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: Another Dangerfield special at the centre bounce! Hawkins has separation – but he can’t grab the mark. Sydney scramble and just about clear their lines. Rowbottom is then run down from behind by O’Connor and the MCG is a cacophony of noise. Geelong don’t hang around. Cameron marks 60m out on the right, the ball is delivered deep, and it’s that man Smith again, snapping truly on the run with that trusty left boot! This is incredible from the Cats.
Q1: 7 mins remaining: Geelong 4.1 (25) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: Dangerfield does brilliantly at the clearance to turn a 50:50 contest into a Geelong sortie. Stanley belts the ball forward, the Cats get busy at ground level and in the blink of an eye Isaac Smith is pumping the air with his fist after a typical running left-footed snap. Geelong are rampant!
Q1: 8 mins remaining: Geelong 3.1 (19) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: Guthrie wins the latest centre clearance and sets Geelong in motion. Dangerfield spins and delivers deep inside 50 for Blicavs to mark 25m out. The former steeplechaser swings around belts the Cats’ third on his left foot.
Q1: 8 mins remaining: Geelong 2.1 (13) v 1.0 (6) Sydney: Another centre clearance for the Swans that comes to nought. Geelong can’t clear far though and Papley is soon launching to the top of the square. The ball comes to ground off hands and Hayward crumbs and snaps truly for a Sydney steadier!
Q1: 9 mins remaining: Geelong 2.1 (13) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: Geelong continue to look the likelier of the two sides. Close and Hawkins combine well on the right boundary line to set up territory. And Hawkins kicks another from the ruck contest! Ball-in deep in the right forward pocket, the All Australian captain out-muscles his direct opponent, gathers, spins, and goals with the outside of his boot. Brilliant start from the Tomahawk.
Q1: 10 mins remaining: Geelong 1.1 (7) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: But not for the first time today Geelong struggle with the switch and Sydney pinch the ball off them. No sooner do they do that than the Cats intercept and rebound fast through Guthrie. Cameron is isolated 1-on-1 but he gets caught under the ball, misses the mark, then is pinged holding the footy in broken play.
Q1: 12 mins remaining: Geelong 1.1 (7) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: Bews is pinged for holding the ball 60m out. Mills sets up Franklin in a pack but again Geelong have enough bodies and handball their way clear with a series of deft touches. The Cats advance down the right flank and re-establish control of possession and territory.
Q1: 13 mins remaining: Geelong 1.1 (7) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: Hickey wins a clean centre bounce but the initial entry is cleared. Sydney go back but Franklin can’t bust a pack and Henry clears. The pressure is released when Selwood is taken high but Guthrie coughs up a cheap turnover and the Swans can build through the lines.
Q1: 14 mins remaining: Geelong 1.1 (7) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: Cameron misses a chest mark on the run but De Koning intercepts as soon as Sydney try to clear. Cameron then misses his mark by foot but Stewart this time mops up overhead then on the ground. Stengle has time on the right wing but he can’t find a target at the top of the square. Still the ball is locked at Sydney’s end… and finally all that pressure counts! Tom Hawkins snaps the opening goal from behind a ruck contest after a ball-in in the left-forward pocket.
Q1: 15 mins remaining: Geelong 0.1 (1) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: The first attack fails but the Swans keep up the pressure and force a contest on the 50m arc that goes Atkins’ way. The Cats attack down the right wing and the ball goes off hands near the behind post. Geelong again suffocate in Sydney territory and lock the ball in.
Q1: 16 mins remaining: Geelong 0.1 (1) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: Blicavs again strong in the ruck but Dangerfield can’t find a teammate with a handball under pressure and a high-tackle from a Cat allows Sydney to clear, but they dump the ball straight out of touch and Geelong can rebound… only they don’t! Trying to switch from left to right De Koning kicks out on the full and invites the Swans to attack.
Q1: 17 mins remaining: Geelong 0.1 (1) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: Another Geelong entry, Blicavs this time straight from the ball-in. Hawkins does well at ground level, Close has a sniff but Sydney get enough bodies around the ball and deny a shot on goal. The Cats then lock the ball in Sydney territory. The game has all bee in Sydney’s defensive third early.
Q1: 18 mins remaining: Geelong 0.1 (1) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: Another entry for the Cats, this time from Hawkins as Sydney fail to clear their lines. Blicavs can’t prosper with a snap and Sydney escape. Geelong have started brightly.
Q1: 19 mins remaining: Geelong 0.1 (1) v 0.0 (0) Sydney: Geelong gain a slender advantage from the opening bounce. The pressure flows forward as both sides try to control the hot ball. Tuohy feeds off the scraps, delivers inside 50 to the advancing Hawkins and the big power forward marks in the right forward pocket. From 50m on the narrowest of angles he’s on the skinny side.
All or nothing.