Dad and I made the 2-hour journey down to Colac Central Reserve to watch our Cats take on the Bombers in their last JLT series match.
The community series gives so many people the opportunity to unite and share the love of the game that they may not be able to see live during the season.
The Bombers start the game kicking against the wind, but still managed to kick 4 goals.
The Cats also manage to kick four, coming from power forwards Tom Hawkins (1) and Daniel Menzel (2). Mark Blicavs also kicked one major.
Rhys Stanley injured his calf during the first and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Zac Smith replaced him in the ruck, as originally planned.
Patrick Dangerfield was rushed to the rooms where he was favouring his hamstring. He does not return to take any further part
Geelong 4.2 26
Essendon 4.0 24
By the time the second quarter rolls around, The Cats have steadied themselves, running the ball, taking the game on.
The Bombers straight kicking is keeping them in the contest.
Tim Kelly kicks a great goal from just outside 50.
Mark O’Connor and Hawkins have the Cats other two majors.
Essendon up by three points at the main break.
By the third minute mark of the third, Hawkins has kicked two, adding his total to four.
The Cats begin moving freely and used it to their advantage, basing play in their forward line.
Menzel kicks his third half way through the third to put the Cats 15 points up.
The Cats take the game on and put immense amounts of pressure on the Bombers side.
Tuohy’s torpedo kick-out travels 85 metres and the crowd is in awe.
‘What a machine!’ I say to Dad.
Pressure acts cause a Mitch Duncan running goal next.
Minutes later, order brother Cam Guthrie, off his younger brother Zac’s handball kicks a fantastic banana from 40 metres out to extend the Cats lead to 27 points.
Essendon get an easy goal back and are pushing themselves into contention once more.
Menzel takes a strong pack mark to put through the Cats 14th major.
The Cats lead 90 to Essendon 63 heading into the final term.
The fourth quarter sees an Essendon surge, as they kick four goals and level the scores at 90 a-piece.
This wind has been the make or break point and has now given the Bombers the lead with under 10 minutes to play.
Hawkins gets one back and Geelong are 6 points up.
The intensity is up, with both teams pushing for any score, for a hero to stand up.
Suddenly, the ball is in Essendon’s Jake Long’s hands and he kicks truly, sealing the Cats’ fate.
The Bombers have fought back and won by 4 points.
However, as the final siren sounds, everyone around the ground is cheering.
They’re celebrating their game, no matter what the result, because they sure are grateful for this experience, to be able to see and interact with their very own heroes in the place they call home.
That’s the great thing about the JLT series.
No matter if you win or lose, there is a chance for the people, who may only ever listen or watch on TV, to feel involved in their football club and the game of AFL.
And while the game didn’t count towards any premiership points, it sure was important to the small town of Colac, who now are a big part of our nation’s game.
Geelong 15.7 (97)
Essendon 15.11 (101)
Geelong: Hawkins 5, Menzel 4, Blicavs, Duncan, C. Guthrie, Kelly, O’Connor, Thurlow
Essendon: Stewart 3, Stringer 2, Green 2, Smith 2, Parish, Daniher, McKenna, Zaharakis, Merrett
VOTES: Duncan (Cats) 3, Hawkins (Cats) 2, Stewart (Bombers) 1