Port Adelaide have upset AFL ladder-leaders Geelong by 11 points to continue the Cats’ post-bye curse.
The Power’s rugged 9.13 (67) to 8.8 (56) win on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval is the eighth consecutive year Geelong have lost after a bye.
The Cats’ second loss of the season was marred by injuries to recruits Gary Rohan (concussion) and Luke Dahlhaus, who limped off with a leg injury.
Port’s brilliant Robbie Gray was instrumental as the Power rose to seventh on the ladder.
Gray and first-year forward Connor Rozee kicked two goals apiece and emerging midfielder Dan Houston gathered 26 disposals in the Power’s seventh victory of the year.
Gray also collected 31 disposals, fellow veteran Travis Boak (30 touches) was valuable and Scott Lycett dominated the rucks with 41 hitouts and 26 disposals.
Port kicked the initial three goals of the game against the sluggish Cats who couldn’t hit top gear throughout.
Patrick Dangerfield, after being a late arrival into Adelaide after the birth of second child, a daughter, on Friday morning, was influential with 28 disposals.
His midfield colleague Mitch Duncan (35 touches) was a standout and Zach Tuohy (28 disposals) and Tom Stewart (23 possessions) marshalled Geelong’s defence.
But the Cats struggled to find a forward-line winner – Gary Ablett and Darcy Fort booted two goals each but Tom Hawkins was scoreless and blanketed by Port’s Tom Clurey.
Geelong, in defender Harry Taylor’s 250th AFL match, were within 11 points at three quarter-time.
But goals to Port’s classy duo Rozee and Gray extended the home side’s lead to 23 points early in the last – enough to see off a belated challenge from Geelong, who kicked the last two goals.
Port’s initial three goals of the match featured a Charlie Dixon conversion in his first AFL game since breaking a leg more than 10 months ago.
The Power led 21-1 after Dixon’s goal – for the rest of the game, the closest the Cats crept was within seven points early in the second stanza.
With worries over Rohan and Dahlhaus, the Cats also will have forward Gryan Miers under match review scrutiny for a first-term tackle which launched Port’s Karl Amon head-first into the turf.