It took Steve Johnson just one attempt to claim victory over his former AFL club when Greater Western Sydney stunned Geelong by 13 points in Canberra on Sunday.
The star off-season signing booted two goals, had 23 disposals and laid a few hard hits on ex-teammates in a 13.11 (89) to 11.10 (76) victory at a sold-out Manuka Oval.
It was the Giants’ first win over the Cats in five meetings.
The hosts dominated the clearances and contested possessions and were up by as much as 37 points at one stage.
A run of goals to Geelong late in the third quarter and into the fourth almost undid their hard work, but – having learnt from last week’s last-minute two-point loss to Melbourne – GWS stood their ground.
Ryan Griffen sealed the win with his second goal of the afternoon, adding to an impressive 31 disposals.
“It’s a significant win for us,” coach Leon Cameron said.
“It’s a brutal and relentless competition and we saw that in the ebbs and flows in the game.
“You think you’ve got control and then you don’t. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day if your intent is not right and that’s the message to our players.”
Johnson ensured he made the highlights reel with a crunching tackle on Cory Gregson, as did ruckman Shane Mumford (33 hitouts) with a flooring ball-and-all tackle that knocked Mitch Duncan out.
Cameron said he was pleased with the 32-year-old former Cats’ second game for GWS.
“Steve Johnson just keeps on keeping on,” he said.
“He’s a competitor.”
Forward Tom Hawkins was a standout for the Cats, kicking three goals, with Mark Blicavs and Rhys Stanley adding two apiece.
They were a far cry from the side that beat reigning premiers Hawthorn by 30 points in round one, as superstar Patrick Dangerfield was kept to just 23 touches.
They kicked just 1.5 in the opening quarter, which they dominated.
“We were just poor,” coach Chris Scott said.
“We got beaten around the clearances, we got beaten in the contested ball – badly.
“We didn’t quite nail our chances which was a bit uncharacteristic on the part of a few of our individuals.”
But Scott refused to blame complacency or a step down in opposition.
“If we’re going to be a footy club that says `oh, we played well against the reigning premiers last week and we only had a six day break and they had eight and we had to go to Canberra’ then I’m going to quit,” he said.
“But we’re not like that. We don’t make excuses.”
The Giants face Sydney at the SCG next Saturday, while the Cats host Brisbane on Sunday.