North squeak through in final rehearsal
North Geelong scored in the last minute to beat Corio by three goals to two in a very entertaining rehearsal for next week’s grand final in the City of Greater Geelong Cup at Bell Park Sports Club last Friday night.
In their previous games the two sides had only conceded a single goal between them, but Corio got off to a flying start after only four minutes.
Elton Savice outstripped the defence on the left and when Mijo Marinovic’s shot was blocked Andrew Palmieri followed up to beat Daniel Zilic in the North goal.
North hit back with a series of probing attacks and following a corner kick Alec Kitanovski in the Corio goal flapped at the ball and Justin Hanns lobbed it back over him for the equaliser.
It was open, end-to-end football and Corio took the lead once again when a long free kick by Dusko Novakovic confused the North defence and Hanns got a slight touch which took it past his own keeper as Arijan Veljan of Corio dived at the loose ball.
Corio held the lead till ten minutes into the second half when Robbie Zadworny broke clear down the centre and ran on to score easily.
It looked very much as if the game would end in a draw, though North squandered a series of chances.
Fikret Husanovic even got round substitute keeper Simon Smyth and fired the ball right along the goal line, but it just cleared the far post.
Then in the final minute, North won another corner and Nathan Long had a free header for his sixth goal of the competition.
If the final lives up to the excitement of this game then the fans will be delighted.
In the second match Geelong and Geelong Rangers put on their usual tightly contested derby match.
Neither side could score in the first half, though Geelong’s Daniel Wilson intercepted an attempted clearance and fired the ball past Rangers’ keeper, Hayden van der Chys.
The keeper managed to scramble back and stop the ball nearly on the goal line as Michael Temelkovski slid in.
Rangers welcomed back two veterans, Troy Hardy, the competition’s all-time leading scorer, and Scott Davidson, but it was James Blackburn who was the hero with two excellent goals in the second half.
The first came when he took advantage of a rebound from the keeper after his initial effort had been blocked, but the second was fine strike from distance.
He might have had a hat-trick but was just offside as he finished off a pass from Hardy.
On Sunday Surfcoast played Bell Park for a spot in the third-place match.
If either team won it would jump above Geelong, while a draw might have been enough for Bell Park as it had a better goal difference.
As it happened Park won comfortably in the end by three goals to one.
Joe Lawrence put the home team in front after only eight minutes, but Jack Taylor equalised for Surf Coast in the 50th minute.
Park took only five minutes to regain the lead through Matthew Hagebols and Chris Newman made certain of the points with four minutes left to play.
Geelong Rangers took the field against a much changed Corio line-up at 7.10 pm.
Robbie Noggler decided to rest those players who were on yellow cards, and give a game to a couple of players whom he thought needed to improve their fitness.
Rangers had no inhibitions and wanted to prove that they could back up after their good win on Friday over Geelong.
So there was really no doubt how the match would turn out, and Rangers got home comfortably by three goals to nil scored by Ryan Calder, Stuart Begg and Colin Hamilton.
So next Sunday Rangers will play Bell Park at 3 pm to decide third place, followed by the grand final between North Geelong and Corio at 5 pm.
Team P W D L F A Pts G D
North Geelong 5 5 0 0 15 3 15 12
Corio 5 3 0 2 7 6 9 1
Geelong Rangers 5 2 1 2 7 4 7 3
Bell Park 5 2 0 3 6 7 6 -1
Geelong 5 1 1 3 3 10 4 -7
Surfcoast 5 0 2 3 2 10 2 -8
Given Surname Team Goals
Nathan Long North Geelong 6
Michael Anderson North Geelong 3
James Blackburn Geelong Rangers 3
Damian Morrell North Geelong 2
Andrew Palmieri Corio 2
Chris Newman Bell Park 2
Alan Dower Surfcoast 1
Jack Taylor Surfcoast 1
Justin Hanns North Geelong 1
Fikret Husanovic North Geelong 1
Reha Kurul North Geelong 1
Robbie Zadworny North Geelong 1
Stuart Begg Geelong Rangers 1
Ryan Calder Geelong Rangers 1
Colin Hamilton Geelong Rangers 1
David Valys Geelong Rangers 1
Steven Nikolovski Geelong 1
Ivica Praiz Geelong 1
Daniel Wilson Geelong 1
Mijo Marinovic Corio 1
Dusko Novakovic Corio 1
own goal Corio 1
Elton Savic Corio 1
Vedran Stojanovic Corio 1
Matthew Hagebols Bell Park 1
Ifeanyi Jaganacho Bell Park 1
Eric Lawrence Bell Park 1
Joe Lawrence Bell Park 1