1. Two is better than one
Even without the support of Patrick Ryder, Port's Matthew Lobbe is one of the more imposing ruckmen to come up against. His preparation is meticulous and his work rate is second-to-none. Yet Cats duo Mark Blicavs and Rhys Stanley were too good on Friday night – out-working Lobbe around the ground to have far more of an impact. Lobbe still finished with an impressive 53 hit-outs – but Blicavs and Stanley combined for 54. They also combined for 33 disposals and two goals, while Lobbe had just five possessions and didn't trouble the scoreboard.
2. Stan the man
Stanley was the unlikeliest of heroes for the Cats on Friday night in his return from a corked quad. The ruckman was a late withdrawal from the club's massive win over Essendon last week, and the time off instantly looked to have done the 24-year-old a world of good. He was just too mobile for Lobbe and played the best half of football in his 66-game career. Stanley had 14 disposals, 15 hit-outs, six clearances and two goals at the main break; unfortunately a knee injury ended his night early, but he still finished with 17 possessions and 24 hit-outs.
Port coach Ken Hinkley spoke of the importance of Friday night's clash in the lead-up, and it was clear from the first bounce that he was on the money. The opening term was a shootout – with both the Power and the Cats slotting five goals apiece – but with the tackle count equally high, the game was played with finals-like intensity. Over the next three terms, the 47,058 fans in attendance were treated to crunching tackles, niggle between opponents, spectacular marks, goals and great team play. The home fans headed home grumpy with the result, but they'd have struggled to complain about value for money.
4. The Chad at his best
There's no greater entertainment in the modern game than Chad Wingard in full flight, and the third quarter produced some of his very best. Tracking back with ball deep in the pocket, Wingard flung himself backwards and somehow held onto the footy with an out-stretched hand. It was an incredible grab and one that will certainly contend for mark of the week, and the resulting goal was ice-cool, Wingard composing himself hard up against the boundary and calmly slotting a crucial checkside.
5. Cats climb over injury trouble
With Cat James Kelly subbed out of the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury, it looked as though Geelong would have its work cut out. And having laid 23 tackles in the first term alone, Friday night shaped as an exhausting match for the visitors. The playing field was evened in the second quarter when Power speedster Matt White was subbed out with a hamstring injury, only to be tipped in Port's favour again when in-form Geelong ruckman Stanley hurt his knee. The Cats stepped up though; Blicavs laid 12 tackles, Josh Caddy found plenty of the ball and kicked two goals, and 299-game veteran Corey Enright was at his very best.