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YE OF LITTLE FAITH by The Oracle

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The Geelong fans who were streaming out of the ground in their droves would have been shocked at the sight of this when they arrived home and turned on their television sets:-

channel9.jpeg

A Geelong victory over Melbourne at the Cattery has become such a common sight that the producers of the news at Channel 9 had presumed the inevitable and decided that not only was Geelong already celebrating a win in Corey Enright's 300th game, but his entire home town of Kimba was celebrating his achievement and the victory with him.

Melbourne fans have been making fun of the production failure at the Nine Network ever since although let's face it - most of us were fairly much convinced on the night before the game that it would be a blow out in favour of the Cats and possibly one of three figure proportions.

Not only that, but after Max Gawn goaled to give the team a 20 point lead deep into the opening term, how many of us thought that lead would surely and inevitably dissipate very quickly? And it almost did with a late goal to the Cats and then the first major of the second quarter which made it only 6 points the difference.

We fought back but as we reached the halfway mark of the term, how many of us remembered the same period in earlier games against Adelaide, GWS and Port Adelaide and sat waiting for what we thought was the inevitable - and then Hawkins kicked one in the shadows of half time to make it a 5 point game?

Before the second half was two minutes old, Hawkins repeated the dose and the Demons' lead was gone but it was only temporary because Jake Spencer booted an unlikely reply followed by goals to Matt Jones and Jeff Garlett and it was suddenly back out to 16 points.

So who among us was confident of a Demon win at that stage with ten minutes gone into the half? Sure enough, we sat back and watched in horror as Geelong scored three in a row to lay down yet another challenge as they snatched a two point lead and looked ready to run away with the game.

When we rallied again it was Gawn setting up the ball for Jack Watts to pass to Garlett for his third and then young Alex Neal-Bullen got his third. The Cats came back but a Jeremy Howe mark and goal from a tight angle gave the Dees an 11 point lead at the final break. Who now had enough belief in their ability to play out that final term in the darkening cauldron of Simonds Stadium and to finish in front when it really mattered?

I'll venture to say that it wasn't many with last week's dramatic final 42 seconds against St. Kilda at an equally hostile venue back in town still fresh in our minds.

But the Demons continued their surge led by young and old with goals to Nathan Jones, Jeremy Howe, Billy Stretch and Bernie Vince to take the lead out to 32 points at the 17½ minute mark. The skipper and Vince had been magnificent all day racking up possessions thanks to the hard ruck work of emerging giant Gawn. Young Jack Viney was emerging as the conqueror of a different type of giant in football, snaring the scalp of Joel Selwood to go with that of Gary Ablett Junior in the opening round (and how much did we miss him when he broke his leg?).

And we still had our doubts and the Cats still came with two goals to narrow the margin back to 19 points with a win still gettable and the final siren six minutes away. Then Garlett got his fourth and there was still doubt in the minds of the Demon fans even as the Cat fans streamed out. The Enright party was spoiled. They knew.

Even then, the Demon leadership urged the players to defend stoutly and as the seconds ticked away our belief and our faith was restored for perhaps the first time in ten long years, leaving only a red-faced producer at the studios of Channel 9 unaware of the good news.

Melbourne 5.2.32 7.3.45 13.4.82 18.5.113

Geelong 3.1.19 6.4.40 11.5.71 13.11.89

Goals

Melbourne Garlett 4 Neal-Bullen 3 Howe M Jones Vince 2 Gawn N Jones Spencer Stretch Tyson

Geelong Hawkins Johnson Kersten Lang Motlop 2 Guthrie Selwood Walker

Best

Melbourne Vince Brayshaw N Jones Gawn Dunn Viney Garlett

Geelong Motlop Blicavs Guthrie Caddy Stokes

Changes

Melbourne Nil

Geelong Nil

Injuries

Melbourne Nil

Geelong Murdoch (hamstring)

Substitutions

Melbourne Aidan Riley replaced Jimmy Toumpas at three quarter time

Geelong Michael Luxford replaced Jordan Murdoch in the third quarter

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Geelong Nil

Umpires Chris Donlon Troy Pannell Andrew Stephens

Official Crowd 28,007 at Simonds Stadium

All of the goals

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