Port Adelaide found the going a little too hot in their hometown clash against Geelong. The Cats absorbed the Port pressure and hurt on the counter-attack all night.
Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly of the Power-Cats clash.
The Geelong defence
Now keep in mind this defence is without Harry Taylor. Keep in mind that Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan retired at the conclusion of the 2017 season. Keep in mind that this defence is full of kids and were coming up against a very dangerous Power attack.
Port kicked seven goals for the game against them.
Tom Stewart, Zach Tuohy, Jake Kolodjashnij and Mark Blicavs… take a bow. You were excellent, and have laid the foundations for a new Geelong defence.
This bloke just keeps on keeping on. He picked up yet another best on ground performance tonight, securing the Peter Badcoe medal in the process. This is Selwood’s second Badcoe medal. The only other player to have more than one is Port Captain, Travis Boak.
The Geelong Captain throws himself into the contest with almost reckless abandon, and wins so many contests on the basis of sheer will. People can call him out for ducking or cheating all they like, but this guy is a champion of the game, and he was integral in the Cats’ win once again.
He is just so dangerous, and so quick with both his hands and feet. His mind isn't that slow, either.
The mid air handball that hit the target, under enormous pressure was the sort of thing people would've marveled at 10-15 years ago. Now, it is something we've come to expect from Gray. Classy player.
Geelong taking the sting out of it
This was a physical game. Not only were the Lindsay Thomas clashes noteworthy, there was also a big head clash between Patrick Dangerfield and Hamish Hartlett. There was plenty of feeling in the game.
Why then, was there such a lull at the start of the fourth quarter? At home, with the crowd behind them, you could imagine Port gearing right up to make a run being a realistic scenario. But the atmosphere was dead. It was as though the Cats sucked the life out of the crowd.
When Duncan ran in and kicked a goal in circumstances way too easy for the way the game had been played up until that point, it didn’t matter whether the Cats were 12, 18, or 24 points up. The game was over right then and there.
The Parfitt-Parsons Connection
This sounds like a 1980s wrestling tag team name, and they were choreographed just as well in the third quarter.
With a two on one advantage, neither man took possession until the goal was kicked. Parsons drew the lone Port opponent to him, tapped it back to Parfitt, who did the same and tapped it back to Parsons.
This created the space necessary for Parsons to gather and slot the first of his two goals against the flow of play for the quarter. It was a ripping team goal by the Cats that actually started with a smother down at half back, triggering the break.
The bad of Jack Watts
Melbourne supporters are nodding sagely at the moment.
A couple of moments were vintage Jack Watts tonight, and not the good Jack Watts vintage.
The first one came on a short pass in the second quarter. Watts ambled to it at around quarter pace. From behind came Jed Bews, straight past Jack, and took a comfortable mark on his chest. There were 12 minutes remaining in the half at this stage and the Power had kicked two goals. Where was the sense of urgency?
The second moment came early in the last quarter. Watts got out the back as the ball came in. He completely lost sight of it, and at one point had his back turned as the ball was coming in. The defence got back and after the ball pinballed around a little, it ended up with Watts again. A chance for redemption?
Not this time. Jack tried a finesse kick through traffic to sneak the goal in, but Jed Bews managed to touch it at full stretch. Foiled by Bews again!
Now Watts also had a couple of good moments, but these overshadowed them. Please see the ‘Other Bits’ section
Daniel Menzel’s weak tackling attempt.
The Cats are winning at the moment, so this is being forgiven, but his effort to tackle Jack Hombsch in the last quarter was one of the most pathetic efforts to apply physical pressure I’ve ever seen.
Menzel’s job is to kick goals, and tonight he got one, and missed two he should’ve kicked. The fact he offers zero defensive presence once the ball is out of his hands is being overlooked currently, but mark my words… and that’ll be easy because they’ll stay here, there will come a time this season where Menzel’s inability, or reluctance to put in defensively will cost Geelong a game of footy.
Lindsay Thomas’ cheap shot
It was only minutes before that Thomas threaded a ripping goal from the boundary line – his first as a Port Adelaide player.
The ball headed out to the wing where Scott Selwood went low for the ball. Lindsay turned and deliberately hip and shouldered him. It takes a bit to keep a Selwood down, and Scott did get up and walk off unassisted, but was soon ruled out of the game.
Thomas was thrown a lifeline in the off-season by Port, and you could see he was determined to throw his weight around and make an impact. Sadly, he made it in this fashion, when a couple of goals and a goal assist would have been preferable.
There was a later hit as well, on Jack Henry that may also come under scrutiny, but has thus far received little play in the press.
How much difference would a good ruckman have made in this game? You can picture Paddy Ryder sitting there watching it, salivating at the prospect of being out there tonight.
Joel Selwood running down Steven Motlop would’ve been satisfying. I wonder whether Selwood was thinking “I can get this guy… he doesn’t run hard”?
Daniel Menzel’s no look short pass to Sam Menegola was a thing of beauty. Menegola converted for him, too.
Thought I saw Parfitt attempt the old Selwood arm-lift to get a free kick in the second quarter. Umpire didn’t fall for it – good to see.
Not too sure about the holding the ball free kick against Riley Bonner right in front of goals. You often hear the ump say something like “No, he fell on it” when the players appeal for the free kick. I thought Bonner fell on it – I don’t think he dived on it. Bonner was stiff.
How good was Jake Neade’s one step drop punt for goal after being called to play on? Bang!
Ratugolea’s mark on the worm-burner pass from Dangerfield looked like it hit the ground, to me.
I thought Dougal Howard demonstrated the perfect defence against Ratugolea in the second. Caught behind, the ball came to ground. He stuck at it, kept close, sweated on him right until Ratugolea took possession, and that’s when he nailed him with a great tackle. It was patient, he didn’t hold before he had to, and when the time came, he executed perfectly.
Ollie Wines’ third quarter goal came from a ball up in the goal square. An experienced Geelong ruckman surely wouldn’t have dropped the ball at the feet of a player like Wines.
George Horlin-Smith may have a name like some distant royal cousin, but he was a very handy addition in the absence of Tom Hawkins.
Tonight was the version of Steven Motlop that Geelong fans were happy to see go.
Watts showed the up-side to his game in third, using patience and good decision-making to feed Sam Gray who sold a bit of candy and slotted the goal.
Loved Tom Jonas’ tackle on Dangerfield. You don’t see Danger get pinged too often.
Quote of the night by Richo – “They’re just hanging in there, the Cats.” Geelong would go on to score the next five goals of the game. Nice work, Richo.
Jack Hombsch’s mark running with the flight was a ripper.
Not sure Justin Westhoff will ever get the credit he deserves for seeing the game so well. His classy kick around the corner to Karl Amon who goaled, was beautiful.
Loved seeing Danger and Wines head to head in the centre. Pity it resulted in a free kick.
Lindsay Thomas had the chance to give Port a sniff late, but it all fell apart. He missed a pass to a teammate 20 metres away, and then had a chance to redeem himself after an out on the full decision. He missed that, too. He can have a couple of weeks to think about it.