Geelong withstood a brave Adelaide outfit, a Patrick Dangerfield injury and the worst of the goal review system to post a 27 point home win on Friday night.
After the Crows challenged early, the ladder leaders turned on their A-game and broke clear for a 14.12 (96) to 10.9 (69) win.
After the controversy about the lack of a goal review in the final minutes of Essendon’s win over GWS on Thursday night, the AFL was seemingly in full goal review mode.
Crow Elliott Himmelberg kept a goal that had been awarded after dribbling close to the post, then the Cats had another late one overruled after a long delay.
Tim Kelly’s snap appeared to have hit the goal umpire’s flag.
The big negative for the Cats was a heavy bump to Patrick Dangerfield who was crunched by Daniel Talia in a marking contest, hurting his ribs.
Dangerfield returned to the field in the second half and had several marks, but was wayward in his goalkicking and will likely need to be assessed this week.
Asked after the game how he was feeling, Dangerfield said: “A bit of a hip pointer, but sweet”.
“I’ve got so much admiration [for the Crows], that’s where it started for me, but we are competitive beasts. We hung in there and finished off well,” he told Channel Seven.
“I think that’s what it’s about. You’ve got to put your body on the line when you need to. That’s the game.”
Adelaide captain Taylor Walker made a strong start, but also hurt his elbow in the second term and that dented his impact.
The Cats moved Mark Blicavs into the ruck after quarter-time and that was critical. With Blicavs taking control of the ruck duels and midfielder Tim Kelly outstanding, the Cats kicked seven goals to three after halftime.
It was a quick rebound for Geelong, having lost after the bye again last weekend, with Port Adelaide dominating.
Adelaide made the early running, as they threatened to take control of the clearances.
The Crows extended a nine-point lead at the first break to 20 midway through the second term.
But Walker had to leave the field with his injury and that appeared to hamper him for the rest of the game.
Once Blicavs went into the ruck, Geelong had the clearances more on their terms.
The Cats steadied, kicking the last three goals of the half to lead by a point at the main break.
The Crows were on the back foot for much of the third term, but great support from Walker helped to set up defender Brodie Smith for an outstanding goal.
The third term belonged to Cats small forward Gryan Miers, who kicked two goals – the second when he won a 50-50 ball superbly.
Fellow newcomer Jordan Clark and veterans Joel Selwood and Harry Taylor also impressed for the Cats, while Matt Crouch and Rory Sloane were best for the Crows.
Adelaide star Bryce Gibbs, recalled for his first game since round 11, had minimal impact and star forward Eddie Betts was also quiet.