Joel Selwood (centre) was key to the Cats' win over the Power.
Joel Selwood (centre) was key to the Cats' win over the Power.

Win could prove a major stepping stone

THERE are certain wins every year that can define how a team's season will play out.

It is a long way away but the topsy-turvy nature of the 2018 season made Saturday night's result crucial in terms of Geelong's plans for September.

The difference between a top-four berth and playing in a cutthroat final - or making it altogether - might only come down to percentage given how tight things are already, so those types of games, the ones that so few people are expecting the Cats to win, go a long way to expediting that push.

What was most pleasing was the performance of some of the younger players such as Brandan Parfitt (23 disposals, three clearances, three inside-50s and seven tackles) and Lachie Fogarty (17 disposals, two clearances, three inside-50s and 10 tackles), who both stood up against a physically demanding opponent and came out on top.

Only Brad Ebert had more tackles than Fogarty and in a contest as fierce as this one where 161 tackles were laid for the night that says plenty about the number 22 draft pick from last year.

Road trips are never easy and to travel and do as well as they did was inspiring.

Yet again there was also much to like about Geelong's defence.

Mark Blicavs looks made to play across half-back and he did a stellar job on Charlie Dixon.

His biggest test may be yet to come if he lines up on Lance Franklin on Saturday, but Blicavs is more than capable of doing the job.

Like Tom Lonergan, he reads the play exceptionally well, has height and possesses a long reach.

One of Franklin's major assets is his athleticism but this won't concern Blicavs.

The Sydney star also likes to mark the ball out in front rather than above his head, and with his closing pace and ability to get a fist on the ball late, it makes the 2015 Carji Greeves medallist an ideal match up for him.

He will need support from those who will soon be dubbed the usual suspects given the manner in which they are getting the job done week in, week out, although at the moment no moniker seems apt for Jake Kolodjashnij, Tom Stewart, Jed Bews, Zach Tuohy and Jack Henry.

That group continues to infuriate the opposition and defy the naysayers, and with Harry Taylor and Lachie Henderson a fair way off returning, much rests on their shoulders.

Chris Scott will likely look to Rhys Stanley again to do a job against the Swans, which presents as the perfect opportunity for him to consolidate on two reasonably solid games.

Stanley did what he had to do in his ruck duel with Justin Westhoff and Dougall Howard and finished with a career-high 45 hit-outs but the challenge for him now is to provide a stronger aerial presence around the ground.

His efforts will go a long way to shaping the midfield battle, and with Sydney boasting some of the competition's best ball winners, getting on top at the coal face will be vital.

Despite an indifferent past fortnight the Swans will not fear coming to GMHBA Stadium and Scott's men know they cannot afford to let the chasing pack get too close. But with a 3-2 record and two home games to come, albeit against two very tough sides, there is potential for things to start opening up.

The win away from home over Port Adelaide was stirring.

It was undoubtedly significant.

But securing four points against the Swans? That could just be season defining.



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