Cats Try To Claw Back In To Top Two

Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Colleen Petch/Herald Sun
James Kelly is a vital cog in Geelong's midfield. Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Colleen Petch/Herald Sun
Last Five Matches

Round 9, 2013 – Geelong 116 d Port Adelaide 68 at AAMI Stadium
Round 14, 2012 – Geelong 99 d Port Adelaide 61 at Skilled Stadium
Round 3, 2011 – Geelong 122 d Port Adelaide 43 at Skilled Stadium
Round 4, 2010 – Geelong 159 d Port Adelaide 64 at Skilled Stadium
Round 13, 2009 Geelong 122 d Port Adelaide 88 at Skilled Stadium


Form

     Rd 15       Rd 16       Rd 17       Rd 18       Rd 19   
Geelong   W  W  L  W  W
Port Adelaide    L  L  W  W  W

Port Adelaide’s four-point win in Sunday’s Showdown will go down as one of the more remarkable intrastate clashes. It was the first time in 35 derbies that the margin was a goal or less, but that doesn’t tell the full story. A remarkable goal from Angus Monfries which took a freakish right-hand turn to split the sticks gave Port a sniff and it was fitting the best player on the park, Chad Wingard, sealed the win with a mark and goal in the final minute. It was Port’s third win on the bounce, but the previous victories over St Kilda and Brisbane pale in comparison to this one.

North Melbourne was always going to pull off a major upset at some time this season and Geelong was on the end of the Kangaroos’ best all-round performance of 2013 last Friday night. The Cats threatened at various times, but despite holding Lindsay Thomas and Drew Petrie to just one goal each, they couldn’t stop North’s midfield running rampant. That’s two losses in three games for Geelong, though, and three in their last seven starts.

Chris Scott has reacted by making wholesale changes with the likes of Trent West, Josh Hunt and Taylor Hunt omitted, with James Podsiadly , Jared Rivers and Allen Christensen amongst the inclusions. Port has brought defender Nathan Blee in for Paul Stewart who has a broken wrist.


Key Men

(Cats) James Kelly – He doesn’t get anywhere near the plaudits most of Geelong’s star-studded midfield get, but James Kelly is every bit as valuable as the likes of Joel Selwood and Steve Johnson . His ball-winning hasn’t been as prolific this season, but Kelly remains a tackling machine. When you’re playing for a team that lives off turnover ball, that’s vital. He laid a stunning 14 tackles on Friday night, but it wasn’t enough to see his team home.

(Power) Chad Wingard – It’s hard to continue coming up with superlatives for how well Chad Wingard is playing right now. In just his second season in the AFL, the 19-year-old has improved immensely on his debut year, and he was a deserved Showdown Medal winner on Sunday. Yes, he kicked the game-winner, but that was one of five majors for the day. He kicked three vital goals in the final term, including a fantastic running effort at the start of the quarter which gave his side some much-needed momentum. He is improving every week when he slips in to the midfield, and he had a fantastic skill-set to boot.


Prediction

Three times this season Geelong has come back from a defeat to record an imposing victory the following round. After going down to Collingwood, the Cats thumped Port Adelaide by 48 at AAMI Stadium; in round 14 they bounced back from a shock loss to Brisbane to strangle Fremantle 85-44 ; while the Saints were crunched by 101 points after Geelong’s last-gasp defeat to Adelaide. It’s an ominous warning for Port, which has hopefully learned its lesson from earlier in the season. The South Australians have lost eight straight to the Cats starting with their pummelling in the 2007 grand final, and the closest they’ve come at Simonds Stadium in that time is 34 points . When Power scored a remarkable comeback win over West Coast earlier this season, it lost five straight from then on. Port fans will be hoping history doesn’t repeat after their amazing Showdown effort. Geelong by 35 points .

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