Geelong remains in the hunt for a fourth flag in seven years after it overcame a slow start and a spirited Port Adelaide team to defeat the Power by 16 points and advance to a Preliminary Final with Hawthorn at the MCG next Friday night.
The expectations of this match were that Port Adelaide, who had already exceeded the expectations of virtually every pundit in the land, had run their finals race and would be quickly put away by the talented Geelong team. And for the first 20 minutes of the first quarter it appeared that script would be played out. The Cats controlled much of the play and kicked two goals to Port’s nil in that period to establish a 12-point lead.
But the Power got its running game going in the time-on period of the first term and began to look dangerous. They converted this attacking stanza into goals via Brad Ebert, Angus Monfries and Matthew Lobbe to take a six-point lead into quarter time.
This attack continued into the second quarter and by half way through the term, the Power had added a further 2.3, with goals to Justin Westhoff and Tom Logan to just 1.0 from Geelong, the goal being registered by Mitch Duncan. At that stage the Power led by 15 points,
Geelong attacked heavily for the next 10 minutes, but could manage only three behinds in this period, and when Westhoff and Robbie Goal added two more Port goals at the 26 and 28-minute marks, the alarm bells began to ring loudly for Geelong. When the siren sounded for half time, the Power were 23 points to the good.
With their season on the line, there was very much a sense of “now or never” for the Cats when the second half got under way. As soon as play began, it was immediately obvious that a different Geelong team had come out after the long break.
Tom Hawkins got the Cats ball rolling with a mark and goal after just one minute, and this appeared to ignite Geelong, who attacked relentlessly for the next 25 minutes. Goals to Paul Chapman ,Jimmy Bartel and Hawkins again were accompanied by a string of behinds and by the 26-minute mark of the third term the Cats had taken a six-point lead and Port Adelaide appeared to be on the ropes.
There was brief respite when Jay Schulz marked and goaled - Port’s only score for the third term – to tie the scores up but Steven Motlop replied with a goal of his own a minute later. A Bartel behind made the difference seven points at the three-quarter-time break and all of the momentum appeared to be with the Cats at the stage.
Joel Corey scored the first major of the last term to extend the Cats’ lead to 14 points but Matthew Broadbent replied for the Power to peg the margin back to eight with five minutes gone.
Paul Chapman added another at the 10-minute mark and when Allen Christensen kicked his first eight minutes later, Geelong led by 23 and appeared assured of a place in the Preliminary Final. But the Power would not go away. After Cats’ skipper Joel Selwood responded to a goal from Schulz, Justin Westhoff scored one of the goals of the season with a checkside kick from the boundary line, and when Hamish Hartlett added another to cut the margin to just 10 points with almost three minutes of play still remaining.
The Cats needed to hold fast and did so, with Steven Motlop putting the result beyond doubt with a long, bouncing goal with a minute remaining in the match.
Paul Chapman played a major role in the Cats' win, gathering the ball 20 times and kicking four goals but he was to receive bad news after the match when he was cited for a bump on Robbie Gray. He later received a one-match suspension, meaning he would miss the Preliminary Final against Hawthorn. James Kelly (28 disposals) and Joel Selwood (27 touches and a goal) also played fine games for the Cats.
The Power were gallant throughout, and had fine contributors in skipper Travis Boak (26 possessions), Kane Cornes (21 disposals) and Hamish Hartlett (19 touches and a goal). Coach Ken Hinkley would be rightly proud of Port Adelaide's efforts in 2013, lifting the Power from 14th (with just five wins) to the second week of the finals in his first season as coach.
For Geelong, the dream of a fourth flag in seven years remains alive. The Cats will have to overcome Hawthorn on Friday night to make it to the final Saturday in September but, having beaten the Hawks 11 times in a row since the 2008 Grand Final, will take a significant amount of confidence into what should be an enthralling affair.
Geelong: Chapman 4; Hawkins, Motlop 2; Duncan, Bartel, Corey, Christensen, Selwood
Port Adelaide: Westhoff 3; Schulz 2; Ebert, Monfries, Lobbe, Logan, Gray, Broadbent, Hartlett
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Geelong: Chapman, Johnson, Corey, Selwood, Motlop, Kelly
Port Adelaide: Cornes, Moore, Westhoff, Boak, Monfries
BEST - THE SATURDAY AGE
Geelong: Kelly, Selwood, Chapman, Stokes, Johnson, Mackie, Corey, Motlop
Port Adelaide: Boak, Hartlett, Monfries, Cornes, Logan, Moore, O'Shea, Carlile, Westhoff
Geelong: Jared Rivers (left ankle)
Port Adelaide: Nil
Geelong: Jared Rivers (left ankle) replaced by Taylor Hunt in the final quarter
Port Adelaide: Sam Colquhoun replaced by Aaron Young at three quarter-time
REPORTS: Paul Chapman (Geelong) reported in the third quarter for rough conduct against Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)
UMPIRES: Stevic, Meredith, McInerney
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Seven Network
COMMENTATORS: Bruce McAvaney, Dennis Cometti, Leigh Matthews, Tom Harley, Matthew Richardson
Video sourced from YouTube, courtesy of AFL Media.
|3||Bartel, Jimmy||12||5||9||21||1||2||0||6||3||0||29y 283d||248||163|
|46||Blicavs, Mark||3||1||5||8||0||0||11||3||1||0||22y 169d||21||7|
|35||Chapman, Paul||13||4||7||20||4||2||0||6||1||1||31y 312d||251||336|
|28||Christensen, Allen||14||3||10||24||1||0||0||3||3||0||22y 117d||56||49|
|11||Corey, Joel||10||2||11||21||1||1||1||2||1||2||31y 208d||275||79|
|22||Duncan, Mitch||10||6||9||19||1||2||0||3||2||1||22y 95d||75||64|
|29||Guthrie, Cameron||5||3||7||12||0||0||0||4||0||0||21y 25d||39||5|
|26||Hawkins, Tom||6||3||2||8||2||1||1||2||1||0||25y 54d||122||217|
|8||Hunt, Josh||9||5||4||13||0||1||0||0||0||3||31y 183d||197||29|
|19||Hunt, Taylor||5||5||0||5||0||0||0||0||0||0||22y 312d||56||16|
|20||Johnson, Steve||14||9||11||25||0||0||0||3||0||1||30y 71d||214||401|
|9||Kelly, James||11||7||17||28||0||0||0||7||0||1||29y 258d||232||87|
|13||Lonergan, Tom||8||4||5||13||0||0||0||2||2||0||29y 119d||121||51|
|4||Mackie, Andrew||13||7||5||18||0||0||0||3||0||0||29y 37d||197||85|
|32||Motlop, Steven||18||1||7||25||2||2||0||2||2||0||22y 185d||50||70|
|31||Podsiadly, James||4||3||1||5||0||1||1||1||0||3||32y 3d||82||169|
|25||Rivers, Jared||3||2||3||6||0||0||0||3||0||1||28y 330d||159||18|
|14||Selwood, Joel||10||3||17||27||1||0||0||5||3||1||25y 110d||159||90|
|27||Stokes, Mathew||10||1||18||28||0||0||0||3||1||0||28y 295d||154||192|
|7||Taylor, Harry||5||5||7||12||0||0||1||2||0||0||27y 93d||135||37|
|5||Varcoe, Travis||9||3||11||20||0||1||0||4||1||0||25y 156d||114||121|
|30||Vardy, Nathan||5||5||5||10||0||0||17||4||1||0||22y 80d||20||18|
|Port Adelaide||Match Stats||Career|
|1||Boak, Travis||9||5||17||26||0||1||0||5||1||1||25y 43d||131||74|
|5||Broadbent, Matthew||13||2||10||23||1||0||0||1||0||1||23y 43d||79||37|
|27||Carlile, Alipate||8||4||4||12||0||0||0||1||0||2||26y 136d||133||5|
|25||Cassisi, Dom||10||3||3||13||0||0||0||4||0||0||30y 356d||215||73|
|30||Colquhoun, Sam||7||6||6||13||0||1||0||1||0||0||18y 267d||10||2|
|18||Cornes, Kane||8||3||13||21||0||0||0||4||2||2||30y 251d||268||91|
|7||Ebert, Brad||13||6||6||19||1||0||2||5||0||1||23y 164d||122||63|
|17||Gray, Robbie||11||3||7||18||1||0||0||4||2||3||25y 167d||90||119|
|8||Hartlett, Hamish||12||6||7||19||1||1||0||2||0||1||23y 30d||68||35|
|42||Jonas, Tom||8||5||3||11||0||0||0||1||0||0||22y 247d||34||0|
|23||Lobbe, Matthew||4||1||5||9||1||0||28||9||1||2||24y 213d||43||10|
|44||Logan, Tom||8||7||9||17||1||1||0||0||0||0||28y 73d||114||27|
|6||Monfries, Angus||7||4||9||16||1||0||0||3||0||1||26y 237d||174||204|
|26||Moore, Andrew||11||7||7||18||0||1||1||7||0||1||22y 106d||41||14|
|13||O'Shea, Cam||11||6||8||19||0||0||0||2||0||0||21y 184d||46||7|
|29||Pittard, Jasper||4||3||7||11||0||0||1||1||0||1||22y 165d||31||5|
|28||Schulz, Jay||5||2||4||9||2||1||0||3||2||3||28y 148d||142||213|
|12||Trengove, Jackson||4||3||8||12||0||0||0||1||3||0||22y 315d||78||7|
|39||Westhoff, Justin||16||5||3||19||3||0||2||4||2||1||26y 347d||134||175|
|16||Wines, Ollie||7||2||7||14||0||1||1||0||0||1||18y 341d||24||8|
|20||Wingard, Chad||9||2||10||19||0||0||0||2||1||0||20y 46d||43||52|
|40||Young, Aaron||0||0||3||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||20y 281d||17||7|