An inspired midfield performance has lifted an injury-depleted Geelong side to a 23-point AFL win over Port in a Friday night thriller.
The Cats took a 16-point lead into the final stanza after a tight first half and held their nerve to win 14.8 (92) to 11.3 (69) at Adelaide Oval.
Veteran Corey Enright was superb in the backline for Geelong, racking up 29 touches and setting up Geelong’s forward entries with his rebound work.
Josh Caddy (26 disposals, two goals) and Cameron Guthrie (23 touches, one goal) led a Geelong midfield brigade which was frequently damaging with its pace and ball use.
Late majors to Steve Johnson and Tom Hawkins cut Port’s lead to one point at the first break after three straight Power goals.
Geelong veteran James Kelly was subbed off halfway through the first quarter after colliding awkwardly with Wines and twisting his right ankle.
The Cats’ stocks were depleted further when Rhys Stanley (two goals, 17 disposals, 24 hitouts) was sidelined with a foot injury late in the third period after a magnificent first half.
Joel Selwood, who was blanketed early by Hamish Hartlett and Travis Boak, was held to just five touches in the first quarter.
The Cats skipper’s frustration boiled over halfway through the second quarter, clipping Tom Jonas behind the ear and giving away a 50 metre penalty.
But Geelong’s aggression paid off, with several goals off turnovers allowing the Cats to take a seven-point lead at half time.
Port were frequently sloppy with their disposal out of their defensive 50, allowing Geelong to pounce on the loose ball and hit the scoreboard in the third quarter.
Forward Chad Wingard was excellent for the Power, booting four goals, while midfielders Ollie Wines (24 touches) and Robbie Gray (28 touches, two goals) were also influential.
But it wasn’t enough to quell the Cats, who took their win-loss record to six and five.