Originally written by PETER McCALLUM
THE Cats could find no answer to East Gambier’s second term burst of nine goals that set up their win over the Cats on Saturday.
But apart from this East “purple patch”, the Cats were very competitive and actually outscored the SA Bulldogs in the remaining last two quarters.
But during this second quarter, East Gambier showed their real class, with precision passing, high marking and amazing accuracy up forward (nine goals three behinds).
Their star forwards, Kevin Cook, Sam McCracken, Tim Ellis and Ross Carpenter were hard to match-up and although the Cats made many changes, they just did not have the experienced key defenders to halt the onslaught.
To also make matters worse, the Cats’ in-form big defender, Scott Fleming, was forced to leave the ground with a knee injury early in the game, leaving a gaping hole in the Cats’ backline.
The Cats started the game in excellent form, with on-ballers Chris Perry, Brent Howard and Andrew Cameron dominating around the packs, giving forward Tom McArlein (two goals), Julian Schill and Adrian Meyer plenty of opportunities.
With Fleming leaving the ground, the Cats were forced to reshuffle their line up, but they still held a slender lead at the first change.
Cats 4.3 to East 3.5.
The change of ends also caused a change in the game, as East just took complete control of the game to kick nine goals in this second quarter and spoilt the game as a contest. Moves were made – Adrian Meyer to defence, Tom McArlein to the centre, but the Bulldogs were on a roll.
Half-time: East 12.8 to Cats 5.4.
During this third quarter, the Cats started to come back with some great football – Dylan Ryan (quiet early), started to really fire with some clever football, and goals to McArlein (two), Ricky Killey and Ryan gave the Cats a respectable score.
Three quarter time score: East 17.9 to Cats 11.5.
During this final quarter the Cats never gave up trying, and although the Bulldogs were kicking with the breeze, they were still competitive and finished the game full of running.
Final score: East 21.15 to Cats 15.8.
Best for the Cats were Chris Perry (very strong game around the packs), Tom McArlein (four goals) showed plenty of class with some brilliant overhead marks, Brent Howard (great around the packs and used the ball intelligently), Dylan Ryan (great ball skills and accurate disposal of the ball), Andrew Cameron (tireless in the ruck and was very steady in defence in the last quarter), Grant Coxon (strong at centre half-back and creates space up forward), Patrick Jenes (great attacking defender and showed plenty of class when he was thrown into the ruck late in the game), Adrian Meyer (four goals as a forward and proved steady when placed in defence), Julian Schill (half forward, two goals, took many strong overhead marks and is a brilliant long kick).
The reserves team were no match for top team East Gambier, but hang in there players and give Peter and the club the support they deserve and we could win several more games before the season ends.
Final score: East 22.23 to Cats 1.3.
Best players were Peter Larkins, Daniel Talbot, Ben Mair, Tim Rhook, David Larkins and Brian Rhook.
The under-18s game was a fantastic one and the Cats, after trailing for most of the game, hit the front with eight minutes to go and just hung on to win by three points.
Goalkickers: Alex Richardson four, Callum Currie two, Brenton Heron and Absalom Badza one each.
Best players were Sam Penfold (defence), Alex Richardson, Callum Currie, Ashley Murrell (on-ballers), Dean Miller (back flank), Jarrad Milich (wing), Adrian Jarrad (full back), Jedd Clode (forward/ruck).