Ablett dominates as Cats hold off Swans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ablett dominates as Cats hold off Swans

By Greg Buckle 15/08/2009 11:00:30 PM Comments (0)

Gary Ablett rebounded from a week of criticism to help guide Geelong to a five-point win over the courageous Sydney in their round-20 AFL clash at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

The classy midfielder, accused by Essendon great Tim Watson of playing selfish football, picked up 44 possessions as the second-placed Cats held on to win 13.14 (92) to Sydney's 13.9 (87).

Jim Bartel, Cameron Ling and Joel Corey were also dominant in midfield for the Cats but it was Brownlow Medal fancy Ablett who stole the show, raising his arms in triumph when the final siren sounded in front of 40,261 fans.

Michael O'Loughlin led 10th-placed Sydney's goalkicking with three in his 301st game while Adam Goodes, in his 250th match, kicked two and kept Sydney in the match late in the game while Rhyce Shaw continued his great season in defence.

Big Cam Mooney and little Shannon Byrnes kicked three each for the Cats.

The Cats were only 10 points ahead at three-quarter time and Ablett showed his class in the opening minute of the final term, shrugging off the tackle of Kieren Jack to kick a classy goal.

Goodes returned fire a minute later but Mooney handballed to Byrnes for his third goal and Mooney soon goalled himself for his third to put Geelong 22 points clear.

Sydney narrowed the gap but Geelong midfielder Joel Corey intercepted a pass from Jarred Moore in the back pocket and scored a crucial goal midway through the term.

But the Swans refused to lay down with Goodes kicking his second goal for the quarter, as the Swans moved within nine points of the Cats.

Ryan O'Keefe's running goal in the 20th minute put Sydney only four points behind but the Swans were unable to penetrate Geelong's defence for a 14th goal.

Geelong had led 6.5 (41) to Sydney's 5.5 (35) after a close-checking first half which included two goals from O'Loughlin.

The Swans continued their surge early in the second half with a goal to Marty Mattner, Sydney's third consecutive major.

When Moore squeezed a pass to 18-year-old Daniel Hannebery for his first AFL goal, the Swans hit the front for the first time in the match.

Mooney's second goal followed by Tom Hawkins' second gave the Cats some breathing space, although O'Loughlin and Mattner combined again to keep the Swans in touch.

The Cats had kicked a wasteful 3.6 in the third term to Sydney's 3.2.

Geelong face top-four contenders the Western Bulldogs next Friday and then host lowly Fremantle in the last two home-and-away rounds.

The Swans play the in-form Collingwood at the MCG next Sunday followed by an SCG clash with the Brisbane Lions.

While Watson had accused Ablett of becoming "obsessed" about trying to win this year's Brownlow Medal, Geelong coach Mark Thompson said his former Bombers team-mate was way off the mark.

Asked if Ablett was stung by the criticism, Thompson said: "I think so.

"He was out to prove a point, and it's fabulous from our point of view," the Cats coach said.

"It's great to see a good player put a good display on, and he was outstanding. Everyone in the room would admit that he was clearly best on ground.

"I didn't talk to Watson and fire him up to say anything individually about Gary Ablett, but there was a bit of a message for the team. We don't want to just let all our good efforts go to waste."

Thompson had blasted his side at last week's Geelong Football Club 150th dinner, demanding they lift for another big finals campaign.

Swans coach Paul Roos said Ablett was unstoppable and he had tried Kieren Jack, Paul Bevan and Marty Mattner on the midfielder without success.

"I think I said he'd have 50 during the week, didn't I? I was only six short," Roos said.

"He's second or third in the coaches' award, he has had a fantastic year. We're not the only ones he has destroyed.

"He's a great player."

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