K rock Football

Fort impresses as Cats down Port

Darcy Fort celebrates one of his six goals in Geelong’s VFL win over Port Melbourne. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

DARCY Fort starred with six goals as Geelong outmuscled Port Melbourne in a 23-point win at Adcon Stadium on Sunday that saw it climb to sixth on the VFL ladder.

Cats speedster Nakia Cockatoo got through half a game in his return from a long-term knee injury and had an impact around the contest with a series of bone-crunching tackles.

But it was fellow midfielders James Parsons (27 disposals), Charlie Constable (25) and Quinton Narkle (20) who did most of the heavy lifting in the engine room in the 18.12 (120) to 14.13 (97) victory.

Geelong broke the game open with an eight-goal second quarter – three of them to Fort, who was a constant aerial threat – and led by 54 points midway through the third before Port Melbourne fought back to give the visitors a late scare.

“We had a really high intensity in the first half and really matched them when they were up and about on their home deck,” Cats coach Shane O’Bree said.

“I thought our boys were really up for the challenge and got that reward, but it’s bloody hard to sustain that for four quarters.

“In the third quarter what we were most disappointed about was we actually played into their hands and played too fast, turned the ball over and they got us on the slingshot.

“That was a good learning for our boys.”

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Fort had five goals by half-time and combined for nine in total with Wylie Buzza (three) as Geelong’s tall forwards managed to click better than they have at most stages this season.

Jamaine Jones, James McLachlan, Lachie Fogarty and Narkle chipped in with two goals each.

“We knew we had an advantage with our talls and it’s been a work in progress all year,” O’Bree said.

“We got isolation, worked well together, worked out who the best match-up was and kicked to advantage.

“They took the marks and kicked the goals, and it was good for Forty and Buzz to have a day like that.”

O’Bree was pleased with Rhys Stanley’s performance in the ruck after the 28-year-old lost his spot in the AFL side.

On-ball trio Stanley, Parsons and Narkle had to work around a tricky preparation, having been with the AFL squad in Perth until flying home on Friday in time to take on Port Melbourne.

“Their midfield craft as a collective was pretty good,” O’Bree said.

“Stanley’s craft around the stoppages, I thought he actually changed up what he needed to because they were obviously trying to take away his strengths.

“I thought he got back and helped us defend. The number of times he got back into the hole and spoiled or marked the ball for us was really good.”

Jordan Lisle kicked five goals for Port Melbourne in front of a vocal home crowd, but couldn’t drag the Borough over the line.

Geelong will look to cement its top-eight spot when it hosts North Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium in a curtain-raiser to Saturday night’s AFL clash.

Twitter: @shayne_hope

GEELONG  5.1, 13.6, 16.9, 18.12 (120)

PORT MELBOURNE  5.5, 7.5, 10.9, 14.13 (97)

Goals; Geelong: D. Fort 6, W. Buzza 3, Q. Narkle 2, J. McLachlan 2, L. Fogarty 2, J. Jones 2, J. Parsons

Port Melbourne: J. Lisle 5, J. Gasper 2, H. Hooper 2, D. Conway 2, M. Signorello, T. Crosbie, M. Wooffindin

Best; Geelong: J. Parsons, D. Fort, R. Stanley, A. Black, J. McLachlan, W. Buzza

Port Melbourne: J. Blair, M. Signorello, H. Hooper, D. Van Unen, E. Templeton, C. Searle