In Thursday night's Five things we learned, brought to you by Haier, the world's No.1 appliance maker, we discover how a Power forward turned it on at just the right time against his old club, and are the Cats' legs too old to get them back in the premiership race?
POWER INTO PRELIM Full match coverage and stats
1. Mixed results for underdone Cats
At an average age of 28 years and 134 days, Geelong fielded the oldest side in VFL/AFL history. But after an impressive opening half, the Cats lost their way and were swamped by the Power in the third term. Joel Selwood worked his way into the contest and ended up one of Geelong's best after a managed build-up into finals that included a four-week rest before round 18. His 16 disposals took him past Sam Mitchell to be the No.1 ranked player for disposals (750) in VFL/AFL finals history. Gary Ablett had little impact, was allowed no space and failed to trouble the scorers from 10 disposals in just his second game since July. On the flipside, Power veterans Tom Rockliff, Brad Ebert and Travis Boak were crucial in the win.
2. Power wingman has the courage to back up his class
Xavier Duursma was concussed in the third quarter while running back with the flight attempting to mark inside 50. Duursma got his hands to a looping Steven Motlop kick but was crunched by Geelong's Mark Blicavs. Duursma hit his head on the ground and failed to move momentarily before he was helped from the ground by trainers to a standing ovation from the Power faithful. Duursma took no further part and will enjoy the week's break before pushing to prove his fitness for the preliminary final.
'WE WERE PRETTY RUTHLESS' Hinkley praises Power heroics
3. Hey Cats… remember me?
Steven Motlop had never kicked a goal in three games against his former side, but on Thursday night the Power livewire proved the difference with three goals in a brilliant display in the front half. Motlop made something out of nothing for his first major before he burnt off Harry Taylor with a soccer on the goal line for his second. He then grabbed the momentum for the Power in the third term as he snapped from close range. For a player who was fighting for his spot earlier in the year, Motlop is now a lock for his fourth preliminary final after three losing efforts in blue and white.
4. Cat fails to fire in battle of All-Australian power forwards
Tom Hawkins' bag of six goals proved the difference when these sides last met, but he couldn't repeat his heroics on Thursday night. Hawkins finished with 0.5 from six shots at goal, opposed to reborn Power defender Trent McKenzie in a surprise move from Ken Hinkley. Hawkins threatened early and while his two misses in the first quarter were tough, a pair of butchered regulation shots in the second term – including a bizarre decision to snap rather than take a set shot – will come back to haunt the 2020 Coleman medallist. Chris Scott's call to throw Patrick Dangerfield forward in the final term also failed to generate firepower for the Cats. Hawkins' All-Australian teammate Charlie Dixon dropped a series of marks across the night and finished with one goal and just six disposals in his match-up with Harry Taylor, but did register four score involvements.
'I THINK THE CRITICISM IS A BIT LAZY' Scott hits back over finals record
5. Hard nut shows no finals fears
In his first career final and 35th AFL game, Zak Butters delivered a massive moment when Geelong were surging in the last quarter. With the ball deep in Port Adelaide's forward 50, Butters bodylined the ball against Geelong defenders Tom Stewart and Jed Bews. Despite having no right to win the one-on-two contest, Butters got a handball to Steven Motlop who put Peter Ladhams in on goal to put the Power 13 points clear. Butters then delivered the assist for Todd Marshall's match-sealing goal just moments later. It came after a two-disposal first half for Butters that included a potential headbutt on Mark O'Connor that could come before Match Review scrutiny.