In Saturday night's Five things we learned, brought to you by Haier, the world's No.1 appliance maker, we discover that the Cats brought their kicking boots this week, Taylor Adams should be Collingwood's next captain and Rhys Stanley has solved the ruck merry-go-round.
CATS v PIES Full match coverage and stats
1. It's amazing the difference straight kicking can make
After battling to finish off its work against Port Adelaide last week, Geelong put its goalkicking troubles aside against the Magpies. Zac Tuohy got the ball rolling with a clinical finish from 45m in the first term and Rhys Stanley followed suit shortly after from an angle. Getting the scoreboard ticking early put Collingwood under pressure and gave the Cats impetus, unlike their clumsy outing in front of goal against the Power. Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins was back to his best, kicking 4.1 to rebound from last week's horror 0.5.
2. Danger is a forward wildcard
Patrick Dangerfield playing in the forward 50 is nothing new - he's done more of it this year than any other - but his spectacular impact against the Magpies would give preliminary final opponent Brisbane cause for concern. So dominant was the Cats' midfield, 'Danger' didn't have to spend a single minute onball, wreaking havoc in the forward 50 and finishing with four goals from 19 disposals. His two second-quarter goals from the identical spot with right foot banana kicks were magnificent. The Lions' defence is tight, but Darcy Gardiner, Ryan Lester and Brandon Starcevich will have their hands full with the 2016 Brownlow medallist.
3. Taylor Adams should be Collingwood's next captain
When Scott Pendlebury decides to call time on his Hall of Fame career, Taylor Adams should be the man to succeed him as the Magpies' skipper. The All-Australian midfielder completed a wonderful season in typically hard-nosed fashion, battling an arm injury for most of the night to be among his team's few good players. Adams was trying to smother a Rhys Stanley kick during the opening term, only to cop the full brunt of Stanley's boot halfway up his arm. He headed straight to the Pies' dressing room in obvious pain, but had the arm strapped and returned to start the second quarter and play the game out. He's tough, skilled, and someone you'd love to play for.
4. Stanley has solved the ruck merry-go-round
It's a question Geelong has asked not just this season, but many others – who should play as its main ruckman? Darcy Fort, Mark Blicavs and Esava Ratugolea have all had their turn in 2020, but after returning against Port last week, Rhys Stanley has locked himself in with a terrific showing against Brodie Grundy and Darcy Cameron. Stanley won the first clearance of the game, took an early intercept mark and then drifted forward to kick a goal and set the early tone for the Cats. He lost the hitouts but competed hard, won four clearances himself and was instrumental in winning the game when it was up for grabs.
5. Collingwood played its Grand Final a week ago
Perhaps in hindsight it was no surprise, but the Magpies' thrilling one-point elimination final victory against West Coast seven days earlier took more of a toll than anyone could have imagined. There's probably no excuse for playing as poorly as it did, but Collingwood was nowhere to be seen from the opening bounce. They looked a step, or two, slow, could not win the ball, could not use it and never looked like genuinely competing. Three months on the road, including two quarantine stints in Western Australia, finally took its toll.