Cats v Kangaroos
The Cats and Roos battle for round two honours at Etihad Stadium
JIMMY Bartel has kicked a goal in the final minute to sink North Melbourne and hand Geelong its second comeback win in a row in front of 34,152 fans at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The Cats trailed by as much as 41 points during the second quarter, but booted 10 goals to five after half-time to win by four points, 16.16 (112) to 17.6 (108).
Bartel's winning goal came after he was pushed in the back by Kangaroos defender Nathan Grima 40 metres out from goal, and then received a 50-metre penalty when Michael Firrito kicked the ball away, putting him on the goal-line.
The game featured the rare sight of steady rain falling on the
Etihad Stadium surface, with the roof being left open for the clash.
Both coaches called on the AFL to close the roof for all matches
regardless of the weather forecast, with a fuming Brad Scott labelling the sight
of rain falling at an indoor stadium an "embarrassment".
Geelong is now 2-0 after two rounds, after overcoming a five-goal deficit to beat Hawthorn last week.
The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for the Kangaroos after they sped out of the blocks, dominating possession and piling on 12 first-half goals.
But the Cats lifted after the main break, cutting the deficit to nine points by three-quarter time and then controlling play in the final term.
In the end, the winning margin should have been greater, with Geelong booting 3.8 in the fourth quarter.
Although unhappy with his team's slow start, Cats coach Chris Scott marvelled at his players' ability to fight back once again.
"We're so proud that we are never beaten," he said post-match.
"We have confidence that we can score quickly, so I think that helps a little bit, but in my time at Geelong it just appears that no Geelong player ever gives up.
"That's a really admirable trait."
North Melbourne coach Brad Scott said he hoped his young and developing team would learn a lesson from seeing how the Cats fought back.
"I thought we took the game up to a very good team and competed really well… but they (Geelong) are just an ultra-impressive football club," he said.
"They've shown it time and time again, and they did again today. But I thought our guys did their very best."
Big man Tom Hawkins and zippy small Allen Christensen each kicked three goals for Geelong, with Paul Chapman and Steven Motlop adding two apiece.
Chapman was one of the Cats' better players, although both he and Motlop were among those who were wasteful in front of goal as the Cats pressed for victory.
Joel Selwood and James Kelly were prolific through the middle of the ground for the winners, while veterans Corey Enright and Joel Corey were both important.
Subbed on in the third quarter, Mathew Stokes made the most of his limited time on the ground, collecting 16 disposals in an impactful burst.
Small forward Lindsay Thomas booted five goals for North Melbourne in a dynamic display, with Drew Petrie booting four, all in the first half.
The Kangaroos gained great service from Andrew Swallow and Ryan Bastinac who each had a game-high 29 disposals. Swallow also had 11 clearances.
Grima was another of North's better players until his last-gasp mistake, restricting James Podsiadly to just one goal while collecting plenty of the football himself.
The Kangaroos are now winless after two rounds, and face 2012 premiers the Sydney Swans next week.Click here to vote for the best three Geelong players from the game
Click here to vote for the best three North Melbourne players from the game
GEELONG 4.0 6.4 13.8 16.16 (112)
NORTH MELBOURNE 7.1 12.3 15.5 17.6 (108)
Christensen 3, Hawkins 3, Chapman 2, Motlop 2, Selwood, Podsiadly, Lonergan, Duncan, Caddy, Bartel
Thomas 5, Petrie 4, Tarrant 2, Bastinac, Mullett, Atley, Anthony, Adams, Wells
Selwood, Christensen, Enright, Chapman, Kelly
Swallow, Bastinac, Grima, Thomas, Petrie, Ziebell,
Mathew Stokes replaced Mitch Brown in the 3rd quarter
Ben Jacobs replaced Kieran Harper in the 3rd quarter
Stevic, Nicholls, Findlay
34,152 at Etihad Stadium