Geelong’s post-bye woes were banished on Thursday night as Chris Scott’s side recorded a highly impressive 21-point win against Port Adelaide in one of the games of the season.
The Cats had previously won just two of their last 14 matches after the mid-season bye, but showed no such sluggishness on this occasion, withstanding several Power bursts and counterpunching with their own form of methodical and measured football to ultimately prevail in the city of churches.
The fast and frenetic tone of the game was set early, with the Cats dominating field position in the opening minutes, while the Power made the most of their opportunities to keep the scoreboard close in the opening term.
But after quarter time, Port Adelaide managed to take control for a brief period and were ultra-effective in transitioning from defence to attack, winning enough ball around the source to lead by as much as 21-point before the Cats kicked the last four of the term to retake the lead.
The helter-skelter nature of the game continued in the third term, before a final quarter which was nothing short of incredible as both sides gave up a burst of goals as the pressure ramped up.
Earlier in the night, Kane Farrell defied the laws of physics, bending through a spectacular goal home in the second quarter from what was previously known as the Eddie Betts pocket with his first kick of the night.
The returning Mark O’Connor was given the tagging job on Travis Boak and was successful on that front, leaving the likes of Ollie Wines and Karl Amon to shoulder more of the midfield load.
It was a fascinating battle between O’Connor and Boak all night, with the former’s ability to dull the influence of the Port Adelaide star on-baller a big factor in the result.
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The moment(s): Jeremy Cameron kicks match-defining goals
Cometh the moment, cometh Jeremy Cameron.
In what was truly a pulsating game of football, it was the imposing Geelong forward who was the central figure in the defining moments of the fourth quarter.
Port Adelaide booted three majors to start the final term to take a nine-point lead, but what transpired from there was largely on the back of Geelong’s prized off-season recruit.
Two snaps and a set shot saw him kick three goals when it mattered most, silencing the Adelaide Oval crowd in arguably his most important moments in a hoops jumper to date.
The star: Connor Rozee catches fire on Thursday night football
The Port Adelaide young gun had gone goalless in his last three games, but he was nothing short of sensational even in defeat, booting four majors in the opening quarter to dazzle the strong Adelaide Oval crowd.
He was everywhere inside forward 50 in the opening term, giving Geelong’s defenders plenty of headaches as he glided across the turf in a scintillating quarter of footy.
Rozee became the first person to kick four goals in a quarter against Geelong since Jonathan Brown back in 2007.
He was pivotal in the final term too, drawing a free kick which saw him kick a career-high fifth goal.
Has Sam Walsh ever kicked 4 in a quarter? Don’t @ me— Kane Cornes (@kanecornes) June 10, 2021
The question mark: Will Lachie Henderson be suspended?
Geelong defender Lachie Henderson could come under MRO scrutiny for a high right elbow, which saw Todd Marshall hit the turf and immediately leave the field for a concussion test in the first term.
As we’ve seen on several occasions this year, it’s very much an outcome-based system and Marshall being ruled out for the rest of the game could potentially spell trouble for the Cats veteran, even if the action itself was innocuous.
As is the case during these COVID times, the fixture is always subject to change but as it stands, the Geelong will host Western Bulldogs at GMHBA Stadium next Friday night in a mouth-watering contest.
The following day, Port Adelaide will head north to take on Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
Port Adelaide: 5.1, 8.2, 10.4, 14.7 (91)
Geelong: 4.3, 8.5, 11.8, 17.10 (112)
Port Adelaide: Rozee 5, Dixon 4, Georgiades, Farrell, Jones, Powell-Pepper, Wines
Geelong: Cameron 5, Hawkins 4, Rohan 3, Parfitt 2, Smith, Duncan, Henderson
Port Adelaide: Rozee, Dixon, Wines, Boak, Gray
Geelong: Hawkins, Cameron, Stewart, Duncan, Rohan, Parfitt
Port Adelaide: Todd Marshall (head knock), replaced by Boyd Woodcock