Cats' magic burst key to win over Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats' magic burst key to win over Hawks

Sam Lienert 09/09/2011 10:42:47 PM Comments (0)

It was six minutes of magic that turned a desperate physical duel into an impressive Geelong AFL finals victory.

In some ways, the Cats' 14.14 (98) to 9.13 (67) qualifying final win over Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday night was the reverse of their loss to the Hawks in the 2008 grand final.

This time, the Hawks let themselves down with missed opportunities in front of goal.

And while Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli and Stuart Dew turned on the third-term magic in 2008, this time it was the Cats who made their opponents pay with a devastating third-quarter burst to swing the match.

Geelong led by 12 points at the main break, before Hawthorn edged ahead early in the third term, with the match seemingly set for a tight, see-sawing finish.

But late in the term, Geelong turned on their best to make victory much more comfortable.

Speedster Travis Varcoe was the first to produce a piece of scintillating football, receiving a slick James Podsiadly handball in midfield and burning off Paul Puopolo, while taking three bounces, only to botch his shot.

But Varcoe made up for that miss, laying a superb tackle on Puopolo to spark the first of four Cats goals in a six-minute burst in time-on.

Varcoe knocked the ball clear to Steve Johnson, who placed his kick in front of a goal-bound Podsiadly, who soccered the ball cleverly through.

A minute later it was Tom Hawkins' turn to enter the highlight reel, holding off opponent Josh Gibson to gather a bouncing ball in his left hand in the goalsquare, spin around and snap truly.

But those fine goals were topped just a minute later with some sheer Johnson brilliance, the forward running onto the spillage of a marking contest and soccering the ball skilfully through from an angle, about 20m out.

Veteran ruckman Brad Ottens capped the run of goals, and an outstanding personal game, with a strong contested mark in front of Gibson at close range, to put the Cats 27 points clear, and from that stage they were never threatened.

Not to be outdone, Geelong's second ruckman Trent West, playing his first final, produced an even bigger highlight midway through the final term.

With the game in the Cats' keeping, West took a towering mark, springing off Hawthorn defender Ryan Schoenmakers, to spark Geelong fans' celebrations.

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