A TOM HAWKINS-inspired Geelong outfit has taught Port Adelaide a big lesson heading in to the business end of the season, with a ten-goal blowout at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
A flat Port playing group appeared second to the ball, and fumbled and appeared rushed when they did get it as the Cats put them to the sword 14.7 (91) to 4.7 (31).
Hawkins booted six goals on the night and was the dominant forward with 10 marks. The Cats had 108 marks in total to just 53 as they continued to find time and space around the ground.
It was a slow start for Port, and Hawkins capitalised, booting the opening two goals of the game to go to the top of the race for the Coleman Medal.
His first came after he shoved out Tom Clurey and ran into an open goal and his second when he was too strong in a marking contest 15 metres out from goal.
Hamish Hartlett started strongly on his 30th birthday but much of the Port side looked shell shocked, second to most contests and unable to stop the Cats who seemed to find space out of the stoppages and over the back.
The Power conceded the first five clearances and could count themselves lucky that the Cats were inaccurate in front of goal. The only score at the other end was a rushed behind as Port went into the first change with a 14-point deficit.
Travis Boak and Tom Rockliff went to work to bring an 8-2 clearance deficit closer at 15-14 at the main break.
But Port was its worst enemy, missing plenty of pressured chances and getting its only goal of the half through a 50-metre penalty which brought Scott Lycett to within 40 metres of goal.
Hawkins continued on his merry way with his third of the game while young Tom Atkins also booted a goal as the Cats held a 15-point lead at half time.
The most telling statistic of the quarter was the 10 marks Geelong took inside 50 to Ports zero with Charlie Dixon struggling to impact on the game and Mitch Georgiades also yet to register a touch.
It was a dour opening to the second half with the deadlock broken by that man Hawkins again, proving too strong for Clurey with another little nudge.
Third-gamer Boyd Woodcock snapped one back for Port after being taken high inside 50 before Cam Guthrie and Hawkins responded with more majors – Hawkins now up to five goals for the game.
A late big grab by Georgiades and a set shot goal gave Port a bit of hope heading into the final quarter but the 24-point margin was going to be hard to overcome.
Gary Rohan made sure of the result soon after. He kicked three of the next four goals - his third way too easy into an open goal to blow the margin out.
In fact, Geelong booted seven goals to one in the final term with Port’s sole major coming after a 50-metre penalty to Kane Farrell.
The Cats simply had too may winners on the night, and the 60-point win sees them move to within touching distance of Port at the top of the ladder.
PORT ADELAIDE 0.1 1.6 3.7 4.7 (31)
GEELONG 2.3 4.3 7.7 14.7 (91)
Lycett, Woodcock, Georgiades, Farrell
Boak, Powell-Pepper, Lycett, Wines, Amon
TBC at Metricon Stadium