PORT ADELAIDE has suffered a disappointing loss to Geelong in a high-quality, high-intensity Thursday night blockbuster.
In a game of severe momentum swings, the Cats had the final burst - a five-goal run in the last quarter helping them to record a 17.10 (112) to 14.7 (91) victory at Adelaide Oval.
In a game that only went ahead after SA Health granted Geelong an exemption to cross the closed South Australia-Victoria border, and the Cats started with energy.
Port trailed by as many as 14 points in the first quarter before Connor Rozee got going thanks to a free kick to teammate Todd Marshall who was forced from the field with concussion, bringing medical sub Boyd Woodcock into the game.
Rozee took the free kick and goaled, his first of four first-term majors, which set the game alight and put the home side in front by four points at the first change.
After being held goalless since round 8 and having his place in the side questioned externally, Rozee was simply electric booting two goals on the run and one after a clever high mark to have the Adelaide Oval crowd on its feet.
Port then had the first three goals of the second quarter through Charlie Dixon, Kane Farrell and Mitch Georgiades to open up a 21-point advantage.
Farrell’s goal was destined for the highlight reels with the 22-year-old somehow using the outside of his left foot to bend the ball home from the pocket, in a skill commentators said “defied the laws of physics”.
But it was all Geelong from that point before half time, and after four consecutive goals it was the Cats who took a three-point advantage into the main break.
Tall forwards Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron were the chief villains with three and two goals respectively to that point.
The Cats continued to threaten in the third term as the sides went goal for goal. Brandon Parfitt, who kicked the last goal of the second term booted the first of the third. Ten minutes passed and Port resisted repeated attacks before Ollie Wines snapped a goal out of a pack to steal back some momentum.
Another ten minutes passed before Garry Rohan responded, only to see his goal cancelled out by Dixon, who marked after a quick kick out of the centre.
Rohan had a second right on the three-quarter time siren after a lucky mark inside 50 and the visitors led by 10 points at the final change.
Port started the final term on fire having 19 disposals to one and booting the opening three goals.
Dixon had two to take him to four on the night, and not to be outdone Rozee moved to five when he was held without the ball inside 50.
But as they had all game, the Cats responded with three quick goals – two of them to Cameron - to move back into the lead as the high scoring contest continued.
Cameron booted his fifth major with ten minutes to play and extended the margin to 16 points and when Hawkins booted his fourth into an open goal the lead was 23 points and the game was all but done.
Lachie Jones bobbed up with a late goal – his first in AFL football – to cut the margin but it was not enough on a disappointing night for Port Adelaide.
PORT ADELAIDE 5.! 8.2 10.4 14.7 (91)
GEELONG 4.3 8.5 11.8 17.10 (112)
Rozee 5, Dixon 4, Powell-Pepper, Farrell, Georgiades, Wines, Jones
Wines, Ladhams, Aliir, Jonas, Burton, Rozee