1. Geelong's horror first week finals record deepens
Even without the pre-finals bye, the Cats added another loss to their disastrous first week of finals record. Geelong had long been questioned over its ability to perform after a week's rest, but it mattered little as it was crushed by the Power. Since their flag in 2011, the Cats' record in their opening final now reads 1-8 (including 1-6 in qualifying finals). In all finals since Chris Scott's first year in charge they are now 6-13 at the pointy end of the season. And on Friday night, they recorded their lowest score of the season in a final for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Superstar Patrick Dangerfield had little impact, while a defence lacking Tom Stewart consistently spoiled one another in a notorious finals flop.
POWER v CATS Full match coverage and stats
2. Power gun justifies maiden All-Australian blazer
Aliir Aliir resembled a Geelong forward in the early stages such was the service from the opposition. Just a day after being named a Therabody AFL All-Australian, Aliir took four intercept marks (including three contested) in the opening term which resulted in two direct goals. He spent his time opposed to Luke Dahlhaus and Sam Simpson instead of Coleman medallists Tom Hawkins or Jeremy Cameron to ensure he could zone off at will. The ex-Swan's impact forced the Cats to change their ball movement by switching the play out of their back half in the second quarter which resulted in the Power small forwards feasting on several clangers. Some were debating Aliir's All-Australian selection ahead of Jacob Weitering this week, but not on Friday night.
3. Hamstring curse strikes again for Irish Cat
Mark O'Connor will be racing the clock to feature again this year after straining his left hamstring during the second quarter for a second time in 2021. The Irishman had been deployed as a tagger early in the season before missing six weeks between rounds 7-12 with his first setback. Since his return he has been used mostly in defence and had been seen as a crucial cog with Tom Stewart sidelined with a nasty foot injury. O'Connor's absence will limit Chris Scott's options for next week's semi-final against the winner of Sydney and Greater Western Sydney. Zach Tuohy is a chance to be recalled from his own hamstring strain, while Zach Guthrie will be considered in defence.
4. Power small forwards produce dazzling display
Ex-Cat Steven Motlop started the rot then Orazio Fantasia finished it. Motlop's two first-half goals put his former side on the back foot and brought back memories of his three-goal effort in the corresponding fixture last year. Fantasia kicked one goal in the dying stages of the first quarter and added three others in a sizzling performance before he was subbed out with further knee concerns that have plagued him throughout the season. With spearhead Charlie Dixon held goalless and Todd Marshall kicking one, it was the Power's fleet of smalls that did the damage. Robbie Gray (two goal assists) was also involved and will need his own knee troubles assessed ahead of a monster preliminary final. It looms as a tough fortnight at selection for coach Ken Hinkley should Fantasia and Gray prove their fitness with Mitch Georgiades (hamstring) waiting in the wings.
5. Rohan's finals woes continue
Gary Rohan had to wait until the second minute of the third quarter to register his first kick – in defence. The 30-year-old was thrown back late in the second term with defender Mark O'Connor subbed out. It was Rohan's first appearance in defence in his three years at Geelong after splitting his time between attack and defence in nine seasons for Sydney. Save for Jack Henry, the Cats' backline looked all at sea and Rohan's misreading of a simple Todd Marshall mark and goal in the third didn't help their fortunes. Rohan kicked three goals in Geelong's preliminary final win over Brisbane last year but has otherwise been largely ineffective in finals matches over his career.