The Saints never let the Cats get too far ahead, and in the third quarter they made their move, banging home goals and shutting down the Geelong attack. The almighty Cats, known for their great mid-field attack, went scoreless in this quarter and never showed their trademark free-flowing game.
Both teams are at the top of the AFL ladder. Both are favourites to meet again in the Grand Final. Was what we saw at the G last Friday the Saints redeeming themselves from the 2009 Grand Final, or were they telling the Cats to prepare for a thumbing in the 2010 Grand Final this year?
One player who received a thumbing was Geelong's Steve Johnson. Nursing a broken hand, he was closely marked by Sainter Steve Baker. Baker allegedly struck Johnson's hand and punched him throughout the match. Johnson also gave some good hits, one giving Baker a black eye. So harsh was the encounter that Baker received an incredible 9 week ban. The ban could end Baker's season. Johnson faces a three or four week penalty for elbowing Baker's face in retaliation. The fiery clash and the severe penalty have experts debating the fairness of the AFL match review panel and tribunal system.
AFL great Kevin Bartlett supported the AFL's penalty, saying on SEN radio that "players should not be punching bags out on the field. Steven Baker had to go…" However, former Saints coach Grant Thomas said the penalty was inconsistent with similar offences.
In the end, the Saints/Geelong game lived up to expectations as a mighty clash on and off the field. The Saints' aim should be to forget the 2009 Final rematch and focus toward the way this game has prepared them for the 2010 Grand Final. Also, Steve Johnson's focus on his game was distracted by Steve Baker, and as a result both received penalties.
Well-Being Australia theologian reflects on the focus Christians should have on their game. The Bible explains we are not to be distracted but to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us. Our focus is to be on Jesus. The Book of Hebrews urges us: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." Don't lose focus: The Grand Final is coming!