2020 Toyota AFL Premiership
Finals Week 1 • Port Adelaide v Geelong Cats
58 9.4
Full Time Power by 16
42 5.12
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    MATCH PREVIEW

    MEGA-PREVIEW: Power v Cats, stats that matter, who wins and why

    Can the Cats repeat their earlier demolition of Port in the finals?

    Port Adelaide and Geelong will face off in a blockbuster qualifying final at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night. Picture: AFL Media

    SUMMARY 

    The Power snap a three-year finals drought and will be met with a raucous home crowd. Ken Hinkley's side enters in strong form with their only loss from their past nine outings coming at the hands of Geelong in a round 12 belting. The Cats' last fortnight has offered little optimism entering their 13th finals series in 14 years but Joel Selwood has been held back for this moment and Gary Ablett will be cherry ripe after one game off a quarantine stint.  

    WHERE AND WHEN: Adelaide Oval, Thursday October 1, 7.10pm (local), 7.40pm AEST. 
    TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide  

    WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR?

    Round 12: Geelong 14.7 (91) d Port Adelaide 4.7 (31)
    Tom Hawkins bagged six goals and dominated a hapless Port Adelaide defence to drive home Geelong's premiership credentials. Hawkins pulled in seven contested marks and had 12 score involvements as he was left isolated one-on-one far too often, firstly against Tom Clurey and then Tom Jonas. The Power offered little offensively and delivered their lowest score since 2017. 

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR

    Port Adelaide
    The Power struggled to move the ball when they were choked up by the Cats in round 12. But they'll take heart from their last six weeks forward of centre. The Power have been the second-most efficient side going inside 50, scoring from 45.1 per cent of entries in that time. If they can win enough clearances through Travis Boak, Ollie Wines and Tom Rockliff they should be able to provide enough service for Charlie Dixon and Robbie Gray, who is enjoying a super end to the season. 

    01:48 Mins
    Published on

    THAT finals feeling is here: You ready for it?

    Get excited for all of the big moments to come in the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series

    Published on

     

    Geelong
    Should we read more into the Cats' stuttering fortnight or their previous hot form that included a demolition of the Power? If it's the former, they'll be worried about the ease of opposition scoring. Across the first 13 rounds the Cats allowed scores from just 36 per cent of opposition inside 50s (ranked No.1), however it's been 48 per cent (15th) over the last five rounds. If it's the latter, they'll be looking to isolate Tom Hawkins one-on-one and roll back to support Harry Taylor on Charlie Dixon like they did in round 12.     

    05:31 Mins
    Published on

    Get excited for finals: Cats def Power, SF 2013

    Ahead of the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series, enjoy a sample of great finals featuring this season's representatives

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    WHAT THE STATS SAY

    1. While the Power have some of the best inside midfielders in the competition, the Cats have been the best contested ball team in 2020. It has gone to new heights in the last six weeks with Chris Scott's men holding a +14.2 contested possession differential on their opponents. 

    2. Travis Boak and Patrick Dangerfield sit among the best kicks inside 50 in the AFL. The Power have scored from 45.9 per cent of Boak's inside 50's (No.1 in the competition) this season, while the Cats are retaining the ball 62.3 per cent of the time when Dangerfield kicks into attack (No.2 in the competition). 

    3. Tom Rockliff has averaged 6.1 tackles per game this season to be ranked second in the competition. 

    4. Port Adelaide has the best clearance differential compared to their opponents this season, however Geelong is the most powerful side when it comes to scoring from stoppages, averaging almost five goals in this department. 

    5. Geelong recorded +79 disposals, +23 contested possessions and +68 uncontested possessions in the round 12 win over the Power. All three were the worst differentials for the Power in any game this season. 

    08:42 Mins
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    Get excited for finals: Power def Saints, PF 2004

    Ahead of the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series, enjoy a sample of great finals featuring this season's representatives

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    IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …

    Port Adelaide
    He's had a super year skippering his side to the minor premiership. Now it's up to Power captain Tom Jonas to take the Hawkins match-up and drive his team to a home preliminary final. The Power opted for Clurey to start on Hawkins in round 12 before Jonas was switched later in the match. It's on him to set the tone on Thursday night. 

    Geelong
    With all attention to be focused on Tom Hawkins, Thursday looms as the perfect chance for Gary Rohan to step up and play a crucial role on the scoreboard. Rohan injured himself during the third quarter of last year's qualifying final after three disposals, but his recent finals record doesn't make for pretty reading. The former Swan kicked three goals against the Power in round 12 and needs a similar performance. 

    PREDICTION: Geelong by five points. Hard to go past them after their shellacking of the Power earlier this season.

    MATCH REPORT

    Power surge into home prelim after domesticating stray Cats

    Port Adelaide earns a week off and a home preliminary final after defeating Geelong

    KEN KNEW.

    Port Adelaide's eccentric coach tried to warn of his side's ascent, way back in February – before anyone knew the coronavirus pandemic was going to turn the season upside down.

    "Look out, we're coming" was the gist of Ken Hinkley's message. Cue the laughter and mocking, yet Hinkley set about not only saving his job, but steering the Power toward a flag assault. 

    POWER INTO PRELIM Full match coverage and stats

    They won the minor premiership and still hadn't done enough to be favourites in the experts' eyes. 

    Maybe that might change on the strength of Port Adelaide's 9.4 (58) to 5.12 (42) qualifying final defeat of Geelong at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night. 

    07:55 Mins
    Published on

    Highlights: Port Adelaide v Geelong

    The Power and Cats clash in the first qualifying final

    Published on

    The result was a dramatic reversal to the 10-goal hiding the Cats dished out to Hinkley's men seven weeks ago. 

    The Power are the first team into a preliminary final, courtesy of their first finals triumph in six long years, during which they were largely mired in mediocrity. 

    Tom Rockliff being arguably the best player afield fitted the night's events in the first final of a career 12 seasons deep. Rockliff and Sam Powell-Pepper were the hard heads in the centre, winning a combined 10 clearances. 

    After hanging in for much of the first half, Port exploded into action in a frenetic start to the third term that stole the match from Geelong's wasteful grasp. 

    It began with a Xavier Duursma tackle on Jack Henry that turned the ball over in the middle and kickstarted a three-goal burst to open a match-high 21-point buffer in a low-scoring contest. 

    Ex-Cat Steven Motlop was central to the fireworks – kicking his third major with a snap over his head – but even those who had a quiet first half came to life. 

    00:43 Mins
    Published on

    Power erupt as Motlop makes his move

    The Port Adelaide faithful rise off their chairs after Steven Motlop bags his side's opening goal of the finals

    Published on

    Travis Boak, Ollie Wines and Hamish Hartlett rallied to make their mark, and the kids stood up again. 

    'WE WERE PRETTY RUTHLESS' Hinkley praises Power heroics

    Duursma's effort to run back with the flight in the forward 50 in the third quarter resulted in him being accidentally knocked out and watching the rest of the game from the sidelines. 

    00:30 Mins
    Published on

    Devastating Duursma blow after courageous act

    Port young gun Xavier Duursma gets helped off the field after putting his body on the line in a marking contest

    Published on

    Fast-forward to the final term, and Zak Butters' effort to win a hard ball set up a Peter Ladhams goal just as Geelong had closed the margin to seven points. 

    The only blemish on an otherwise great night was a potential match review incident for Butters, who will sweat over how his potential headbutt on Mark O'Connor will be viewed. 

    For the Cats, this loss does nothing for their finals reputation as underachievers under Chris Scott. 

    'I THINK THE CRITICISM IS A BIT LAZY' Scott hits back over finals record

    The dying stages of the first half summed up their night. 

    Joel Selwood had just kicked a brilliant, standing-start goal to finally give Geelong a narrow – but deserved – lead in the final minute, after largely dominating the second quarter. 

    00:44 Mins
    Published on

    Selwood stunner silences the Power

    Joel Selwood chimes in with a sensational effort right on the brink of half-time

    Published on

    The morale-booster was short-lived. 

    Port won the ensuing centre clearance before an awkward but accurate Wines kick set up Brad Ebert's magnificent 50m strike as the half-time siren sounded that gave his team a one-point edge. 

    That finish meant it was instead the Power who strode off with purpose, after the Cats had beaten them up in the contest but continually wasted opportunities in front of goal. 

    FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED Mixed bag of old Cats not as sharp as former teammate

    The greatest culprit? Tom Hawkins, the man who tore Port apart in the corresponding round 12 clash to the tune of six goals, 12 score involvements and nine marks inside 50. 

    On this night, Hawkins finished with five miserable behinds. 

    His first two shots were deep in the pocket – one went right across the face, then the next to the near side of the left goalpost. Hawkins' next two were less forgivable. 

    The Coleman medallist sprayed a straightforward set shot to the right before opting to play on at his next chance – again within range – and watching his left-foot snap register another behind.

    PORT ADELAIDE     2.1     4.2     7.4     9.4     (58)
    GEELONG                1.4     3.7     4.8     5.12     (42) 

    GOALS
    Port Adelaide: Motlop 3, Ebert 2, Dixon, Rozee, Ladhams, Marshall
    Geelong: Stanley 2, Tuohy, Selwood, Dangerfield 

    BEST
    Port Adelaide: Rockliff, Powell-Pepper, Ebert, Motlop, Wines, Hartlett, Butters
    Geelong: Parfitt, Selwood, Dangerfield, Guthrie, Duncan, Taylor

    INJURIES
    Port Adelaide: Duursma (concussion), Marshall (shoulder)
    Geelong: Nil

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