By Justin Flynn
Gary Ablett Junior will become the 39th Geelong player to notch up 200 games for the club on Saturday.
The Little Master reminded everyone of his brilliance last week as the Cats ran rampant at Metricon Stadium.
Ablett kicked three goals and gathered 37 touches in a game that only rubbed it in the noses of the Gold Coast fans that became accustomed to seeing the magician do the same thing for their club the past seven seasons.
“It was a game I was very excited to be a part of,” he said.
“I’ve said a couple of times this year, I don’t expect to get 30 touches each week.”
Ablett said his milestone was something he never thought about when he entered the big time.
“When I was first drafted, for me, it was about playing a game of AFL football,” he said.
“As it is for a lot of young kids that come into the system, you start to question whether you’re good enough to play at the top level and early days for me there was similar talk around – was I drafted because of my ability or was I drafted because of my name? – and it probably took me two or three years really to start to believe I was good enough to play at the top level.”
Geelong’s goal drought came to an end last Saturday night. The Cats booted 17 majors against a listless Gold Coast on the way to an 85-point victory.
Things won’t be as easy on Saturday, though.
Geelong’s opponent, North Melbourne, has been the surprise packet of the season.
Many pundits (including this one) predicted the Roos would finish on the bottom of the ladder, or at least in the bottom four.
Instead, North sits in seventh spot with a 7-4 record and a healthy percentage. Geelong is also 7-4 and sits one rung above the Roos by only 3.5%.
North Melbourne won’t be overly concerned about travelling down the highway to Geelong, either.
Brad Scott’s side has had wins in Perth, Hobart and Sydney already this season.
While Geelong’s Chris Scott is widely regarded as the best match-day coach in the game, twin brother Brad would have to be considered as the best coach so far this season, such has been North’s improvement.
North is a free-scoring side, too. It has scored 95 points or more six times this season.
Expect Chris Scott to lock the game down on the narrow GMHBA Stadium.
The Roos will be no pushover and are genuinely capable of an upset, but tipping against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium is unwise.
Cats by 21 points.