The last time I watched Australian Rules Football, things didn't exactly go my way. But as sure as the calender flips each year, so too does the sports world. With a new year comes a new season, and a new chance to take the field in quest of a title.
It was with all that hope and enthusiasm, tempered with the realization that this is just preseason, that Inky and I sat down to watch the Geelong Cats kick their way back into action this morning. The Cats dominated the Adelaide Crows by a final of 1.17.8(119) to 2.9.12(89) to move on to the second round of the preseason NAB Cup. And they did it with one paw tied behind their backs, as stars Jimmy Bartel and Gary Ablett Jr. sat out large portions of the game.
When Ablett was on the field he did nothing to diminish his title of best player in the league. There was a three minute span toward the end of the first quarter where Ablett was, quite simply unstoppable. During that portion of the game, Ablett channeled his famous father by putting on a goal clinic in Geelong's forward line. He had 3 goals including a 9 point "supergoal" and moved as if everyone else on the field was in slow motion. It was fantastic viewing, and almost enough to erase the stink of last year's Grand Final let down. And, the shock of seeing him deprived of the Brownlow medal for the second straight year. Almost.
Now, we await the winner of Sydney v. Port Adelaide game to see what the second round match up will be. But really, we're waiting till the end of March when the regular season will kickoff and the Cats will again embark on a 6 month long quest to win the sport's holy grail.