Brown Kicks Bag of Nine
If the Geelong versus Bendigo round six clash was the main billing, then Mitch Brown's nine goals was the headline act as Kane Hunkin reports.
Under lights for the second consecutive week, Geelong made the trip north keen to reverse a disappointing last start loss to Werribee. And, if the first quarter was symptomatic of Geelong's collective mindset, it appears the Cats quickly learned their lesson from round five's defeat.
A five goal burst to start the game provided a direct contrast to a seven goal deficit suffered in the first term against the Tigers a week previous.
The message was clear and the intent precise last Friday night. Troy Selwood entered the quarter-time huddle and asserted the simple phrase "good habits boys." While Geelong's fourth win of the year, which sees the side sit second on the Peter Jackson VFL ladder, can be put down to a team effort, it was the forward line that took main prominence throughout the evening.
An imposing trio of Mitch Brown (nine goals), Josh Walker (four goals) and Shane Kersten (three goals), who combined for 16 of the Cats' 23 goals, is going to intimidate many opposition teams in 2012.
The 86 point win is an early season exclamation mark and continues a purple patch that sees the side sit at four wins and just one loss.
After the game, Geelong coach Matthew Knights was pleased with his side's ability to rebound from last round's defeat.
"The first quarter last week was really disappointing from so many areas. We really came here with a mindset tonight to try and do our work early and get ourselves in the contest and in the game early. To kick five goals straight from our first five shots, I think that breeds a lot of confidence into everyone in the team," Knights said.
The victorious coach affirmed that winning the contested ball and preventing Bendigo's run was key.
"This week we probably stopped the ball at the source a bit more and got the ball back earlier, rather than just chasing opposition players around."
Moreover, Brown's impressive goal haul, which sees the primary listed player sit equal second on the 'Frosty' Miller leader board, was critical; with Knights observing the key forward's ability to kick goals in a variety of ways.
"Mitch doesn't get them in the same way all the time, which is probably the most pleasing aspect. He can get them from high marks, he can get them on the lead or he can get them from innocuous play phases."
However, the teamwork with Walker and Kersten was not lost on Knights, with the coach noting the combination between the three as the most "pleasing" aspect.
"What I was most pleased with is he [Brown] worked really well with Shane Kersten, who is a first year player and Walker. I thought all three big guys had a real presence on the night. And they're three young forwards, who if they keep working at their games, there's plenty of life in the young forward stocks at Geelong," he said.
Geelong now look to continue their solid start to the year when they take on the Casey Scorpions in a top four, AFL curtain raiser clash at Simonds Stadium this Saturday.
Despite the good form, Knights affirms there is still plenty of room for improvement.
"We've just got to keep working at our disposal. We've got to make sure that when we do win the ball back from the opposition we keep making them pay."
Photo: Arj Giese