Cats continue Essendon's misery - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats continue Essendon's misery

By Roger Vaughan 09/06/2006 10:25:15 PM Comments (0)

Geelong heaped more misery on bottom side Essendon as the Cats scored a much-needed 42-point AFL win at Telstra Dome.

On the night Cats president Frank Costa emphasised his support for embattled coach Mark Thompson, Geelong broke a three-game losing streak with the 20.10 (130) to 13.10 (88) win.

While the Cats were scratchy early and still way off their best, they had to win in the haze under the Dome roof.

It was the 10th-straight loss for the Bombers after 11 games this season, the first time in coach Kevin Sheedy's legendary 39-year AFL career at Richmond and Essendon that he has been involved in such a barren streak.

This was also the fourth time in club history that Essendon's losing streak had extended to double figures - the Bombers last lost 10-straight in 1978-79.

Essendon's worst losing run was 14 in 1933.

The Bombers worked extremely hard - a much-improved effort from the 138-point humiliation they suffered at the hands of Adelaide a week ago.

They reduced the margin to five goals midway through the last quarter, unsettling the Cats a little after they squandered a 54-point lead last week in the heartbreaking loss to West Coast.

But Essendon lacked system in attack, especially in the first half, and Geelong showed glimpses of the class that made it a top-four fancy at the start of the season.

This was only Geelong's second win from its last nine games after it opened the year with the pre-season premiership and two wins at the start of the regular season.

Gary Ablett kicked four goals for the Cats, while Paul Chapman, Jimmy Bartel and Matthew Scarlett also impressed.

Essendon would have been much worse off without full-back Dustin Fletcher, who was again outstanding.

He and fellow senior players Scott Lucas (three goals) and Jason and Mark Johnson were prominent for the Bombers.

Essendon lost veteran midfielder Scott Camporeale as a late withdrawal and Jason Winderlich limped from the field in the first quarter.

After a scratchy opening, Thompson thought his side improved and at times hit strong form in the second term.

But he freely admitted they were well short of best.

The Bombers had reduced the margin from 30 points late in the opening quarter to 11 early in the second, before the Cats kicked the last five goals of the half for a 43-point lead at the main break.

"The fact that we won is another step - I still look back at last week and say 'well, gee, we played some pretty exciting footy last week, too, and this is an extension'," Thompson said.

"Saying that, we would expect a bit more next week - Fremantle, tough game, interstate travel.

"If we are to stay alive we've got to win interstate."

Thompson praised Costa and the rest of the club's hierarchy for a "professional" attitude this week in the face of some heated criticism and the speculation about the coaching position.

"It's been a big week for Geelong - not just me....we've copped a hammering from every possible angle and the group and club have handled it well.

"We've been (the club) hasn't got cracked, not yet."

The Cats could regain captain Steven King, Tom Harley and Jarad Rooke for next week's visit to Subiaco.

But for Essendon, Winderlich went to hospital for precautionary scans on his calf injury.

Sheedy, always positive, said his side could cause a massive upset next Sunday against sixth-placed Melbourne.

"We've got Melbourne next match and we're a possibility to win - we're a chance to beat Melbourne," he said.

"I know no-one will think that, but we're a chance....we got a lot out of that tonight, particularly a lot of self-belief."

He thought Essendon possibly cost itself five goals, with Geelong doubling the pain by successfully taking the ball up the other end each time.

Sheedy said the 10-game losing streak is immaterial to him as he tries to rebuild the side.

"I know it's awful on the scoreline and I know it's awful on the ladder....(but) I'm fixated," he said.

"You've just got to wear it, that's all, bad luck."

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