After 44 years, Cats get chance to purr - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

After 44 years, Cats get chance to purr

By Roger Vaughan 29/09/2007 09:11:57 PM Comments (0)

Having blown away 44 years of frustration with a record-setting AFL grand final win, all-conquering Geelong now craves to make up for lost time.

The Cats became the first team to win a grand final by more than 100 points when they slaughtered Port Adelaide at the MCG by nearly 20 goals, 24.19 (163) to 6.8 (44).

It was the third-highest grand final score in history and the lowest score by the loser since Essendon's 5.11 (41) when they went down to Collingwood in 1990 - another drought-breaking premiership.

Steve Johnson, nearly sacked by the Cats at the start of the season for yet another off-field indiscretion, capped his amazing turnaround by winning the prized Norm Smith Medal as best afield in the grand final.

He was also among nine All-Australians this season, another record.

Jimmy Bartel won the Brownlow Medal, Joel Selwood won the Rising Star, the Geelong VFL side also won the premiership and the minor premiership - three games clear of second-placed Port.

It was a season that coach Mark Thompson does not expect his team to repeat, but he is on a mission for the Cats to make the most of their formidable talent.

"We'll never have the year that we just had," Thompson said.

"Now they've got the monkey off their back, we can forge ahead.

"Because it's been such a long time since we won and there have been five attempts, there was this pressure to win.

"The players felt it and everyone who worked at the club felt it - I'm glad it's gone.

"We can just go ahead with our business."

This time last year, Thompson was fuming over how a review of the club's football department panned out.

The Cats had been dreadful, finishing 10th, and Thompson admitted he thought he was gone.

Instead, he will talk soon to president Frank Costa about a new contract.

"I will talk to Frank pretty soon and it will be a formality, I'd say," he said.

"It was actually at the end of last year, when I was about to get the sack - that's when we started planning for this year."

Rival coach Mark Williams, who baited the Cats relentlessly through the lead up to the game, also felt the Cats were just starting a dynasty.

"They had 44 years of torment and they let it all hang out today - I'm sure they'll be rejoicing for a long time," he said.

"They've got a great group together and I don't think they're too old, they could move along for a few years yet."

Port players pride themselves on their history, but today they felt the weight of 44 years crash down on them as the Cats ran amok.

The game was effectively over by halftime, when the Cats led by 52 points.

Significantly, Geelong's best players this, Bartel and Gary Ablett, were not among the best today - it just did not matter.

Williams started his media conference by apologising to Power fans.

He also admitted the Power feared what Geelong might do.

"They (the fans) hardly had a moment to wave the flag....I didn't think we were in the game at all.

"Going into the game, we as a match committee thought that Geelong were the best club by a long way in the competition.

"What we'd seen today was what we expected from them."

But Williams also did not expect his team would be so poor.

"We didn't deserve....I didn't see that particular result coming, that's for sure," he said.

The Power were relaxed during grand final week, today the Cats went into overdrive.

Williams made no apologies for trying to ramp up the pressure on Geelong pre-game.

"You might think we were cocky - we were playing a card, if you like," he said.

"We knew how good Geelong were and if we could spook them, we tried to - it was a card to play, a very deliberate card.

"They just produced what they can do."

The game was so one-sided that Thompson knew it was over during the third quarter.

Williams described the end of the match as "boring" and was just waiting for it to finish.

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