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Johnson stars, Cats strike early

Highlights: Port Adelaide v Geelong The Power and Cats clash in round 9
Steven Motlop of the Cats celebrates a goal during the 2013 AFL round 09 match between Port Adelaide Power and the Geelong Cats at AAMI Stadium, Adelaide on May 25, 2013. (Photo: James Elsby/AFL Media)
Steven Motlop proved a handful for the Power all day
MAKE no doubt about it – Steve Johnson is back to his best.

The majestic superstar showed no sign of the calf injury that forced him out of last weekend's clash, as Geelong eased past an uncompetitive Port Adelaide outfit at AAMI Stadium on Saturday, winning by 48 points.

Five talking points: Port Adelaide v Geelong

It was the Cats' eighth-straight win over the Power, continuing a streak that dates back to their crushing 119-point Grand Final win in 2007.

Johnson was clearly the best player on the ground with 32 possessions, nine tackles, seven inside 50s and two goal assists.

Tom Hawkins made the most of his side's continuous forward thrusts, booting an equal career-high six goals, which he had on the board by three-quarter-time.

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On what was a perfect day for football in Adelaide, the Cats kicked the first eight goals and looked a class above from the opening bounce

Whereas Geelong were poised and confident under pressure the Power appeared rattled – their decision making again questionable and their execution again sub-par.

John Butcher's first shot at goal for the Power since round 15 last season missed everything from 25 metres out directly in front, as did his second.

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By that point Geelong had 10 goals on the board and the game was long over.

Hawkins' decision to try and snap a fourth goal from a set shot on the slightest of angles late in the second term suggested his side had stopped taking the contest seriously.

Geelong coach Chris Scott was pleased with the win, and said the Cats' fast start came from a focus on defence.

"The challenge was to defend better; we're really confident that when we defend really well and we make it hard for the opposition to score, particularly early in games, that things tend to work from there," Scott said.



Geelong's Steven Motlop clashes with Port Adelaide's Cameron O'Shea during the Cats' big win. Picture: AFL Media

Johnson had 18 first-half touches and a goal as well as three scoring assists in a wonderful return to football.

The Power needed an inspired third term to somehow find their way back into the game but squandered any opportunities they had to chip away at Geelong's lead.

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley bemoaned the absence of Jackson Trengove in defence.

"You don't replace 197cm tall defenders who are influencing games for us," he said.
 
"We're asking Tommy Jonas at 188cm to play on a big bloke, we're trying to support Tommy and Alipate Carlile down there but it's a tough gig."

Steven Motlop was mercurial at times, Hawkins and James Podsiadly were too strong up forward and Harry Taylor and Corey Enright rebounded the ball with ease from defence.

Podsiadly's 35-metre banana goal in the third term was indicative of just how easily the Cats were managing before they cruised through the final quarter to the easiest of victories.

GEELONG                          7.1   10.4   15.6  18.8      (116)
PORT ADELAIDE              0.4   3.6     4.10   9.14     (68)                 
 
GOALS
Geelong:
Hawkins 6, Podsiadly 4, Motlop 2, Schroeder 2, Johnson, Bartel, Burbury, Thurlow
Port Adelaide: Thomas 2, Mitchell 2, Schulz 2, Redden, Monfries
 
BEST
Geelong:
Johnson, Bartel, Hawkins, Enright, Motlop, Blicavs, Taylor
Port Adelaide: Gray, Wingard, Redden, Boak, Wines
 
INJURIES
Geelong:
Christensen (concussion), Selwood (Elbow)
Port Adelaide: Nil
 
SUBSTITUTES
Geelong:
Josh Hunt replaced Joel Selwood at three-quarter-time.
Port Adelaide: Matthew Broadbent replaced Andrew Moore in the third quarter
 
Reports: Nil
 
Umpires: Dalgleish, Fleer, Mollison
 
Official crowd:
21,309 at AAMI Stadium

Harry Thring is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry.
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs