Power Hopes To Catch Cats Napping

Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au/Sarah Reed/News Limited
Chad Wingard starred in his first final last week. Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au/Sarah Reed/News Ltd
Last Five Meetings

Round 20, 2013, Geelong 20.9 (129) d Port Adelaide 16.8 (104) at Simonds Stadium
Round 9, 2013, Geelong 18.8 (116) d Port Adelaide 9.14 (68) at AAMI Stadium
Round 14, 2012, Geelong 14.15 (99) d Port Adelaide 8.13 (61) at Simonds Stadium
Round 3, 2011, Geelong 17.20 (122) d Port Adelaide 6.7 (43) at Simonds Stadium
Round 4, 2010, Geelong 23.21 (159) d Port Adelaide 10.4 (64) at Simonds Stadium


Form

     Rd 20       Rd 21       Rd 22       Rd 23       F Wk 1   
Geelong    W  W  W  W  L
Port Adelaide    L  W  L  L  W

Two losses in 51 matches at Simonds Stadium became three last weekend when Geelong lost to Fremantle for the second straight year in the AFL finals. Unlike 2012, the Cats get a second chance this weekend after finishing in second after the premiership season. Not since a stretch of games between 1997 and 2004 have the Cats lost three finals in succession. That loss to the Dockers snapped a four-game winning run, although the one-point win over Brisbane leading in to the finals was less than impressive.

After so many years spent watching the finals with little interest, Port Adelaide fans finally got to see their team play in September last week and what a return to the big time it was. Port outran, outhustled and outenthused a disappointing Collingwood outfit winning by 24 points at the MCG. Power had lost three of their previous four matches before that, including a 74-point dumping by Freo in round 22 and then a terrible one-point loss to Carlton after leading by almost five goals at the final change.

Geelong looks set to risk key forward Tom Hawkins who withdrew from the loss to Freo due to his ongoing back issue. Josh Hunt and Taylor Hunt both come back in to the side, with Corey Enright suspended and Josh Caddy out with an ankle injury. Port has named an unchanged 22.


Key Men

(Cats) Steve Johnson – He was the maestro picking up 12 possessions as Geelong dominated the opening stages against Fremantle, building a 13-point quarter time lead. But Steve Johnson was quelled from then on by Cats nemesis Ryan Crowley, and Geelong was behind the eight ball for the rest of the evening. He and Joel Selwood can’t afford to have quiet games two weeks in a row.

(Power) Tom Logan – He has come from nowhere after only coming back in to the Power side in round 23, but Tom Logan has made the most of his opportunity. In a young side, Logan brings toughness and ferocity, which are both vital at this stage of the season. His ball use was very good last week and he picked up 24 disposals and 10 marks in what was probably his best game at AFL level. If the chips are down at any time against the Cats, he is one player who has shown the desperation required to lift his teammates.


Prediction

Twice this year Port Adelaide has faced Geelong on the back of a Cats loss, and Friday night’s clash makes it three. Geelong has won all four matches coming off a defeat, and the two clashes with Power finished with victories by 48 points in Adelaide and 25 points at home. In that clash at Simonds Stadium just a couple of months ago, the Cats were up by 63 at one stage before their customary final quarter drop-off in intensity. Geelong has had a stranglehold on Port since the 2007 grand final winning nine straight contests. Just two teams since 2000 have come from an elimination final and progressed to a preliminary final. The stats are undoubtedly against Port Adelaide, but they were stacked against Power last week, as well, and the South Australians came up trumps. James Podsiadly did a serviceable job with three goals last week leading the forward line, but if the Cats can nurse Tom Hawkins through four quarters then it will be a massive boost to their chances. Port has played two matches on Friday the 13th in September and it has won both finals matches. Spooky! Cats by 26 points

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