By Luke Voogt
Geelong Cats will play Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval in the qualifying finals next Thursday after defender Mark Blicavs’ possibly match-saving smother cemented their top four spot.
The big Cat was not sure if James Rowbottom’s last-second snap would have gone through the big sticks or not, he told a press conference on Monday.
“I went for it so I presumed it was going to be close,” he said.
“I saw the Sydney player go to kick it and just reacted … instinctively and was lucky to touch it.”
Geelong is set to take on the minor premiers after the Power overcame Collingwood in their last game on Monday night.
The Cats had to claw their way back to a 12-point lead in the final term, after the 15th placed Swans surprised them by kicking ahead in the first.
“They made us earn it, that’s for sure,” Blicavs said.
With the Cats up by 12 and two minutes left, Gryan Miers could have ended the game with a 35m set shot but missed the lot.
Sydney quickly got the ball end-to-end and Justin McInerney dribbled a goal from 50m.
“At the centre bounce we got a 25-second call,” Blicavs said.
“So we knew there wasn’t much time left and that we probably had to throw everything into it.”
With seconds left Blicavs’ smother put a full stop on the game.
“When the kick came in there was a big pack, I probably would have loved a bigger spoil out of the 50, but it wasn’t to be and to Sydney’s credit they got a chance to level the game,” he said.
“I was just [in the] right place, [at the] right time, I think.”
The Cats would “reset” for the finals after narrowly making the top four, Blicavs said.
“We think our best is good enough to take on anyone.”
Despite having zero possessions and almost no impact early on, Patrick Dangerfield again showed his ability to tear apart a game out of nowhere.
While some have labelled Dangerfield’s goalkicking his only weakness, that weakness often disappears in crucial moments, as it did when he slotted three vital goals for the Cats either side of the final break.
“He’s so explosive,” Blicavs said.
“To get him leading out of the [goal] square was a fantastic option for us. He kicked straight and was able to get us back in the game and get us the lead we needed.”
In another positive sign for the Cats heading into finals, Gary Ablett was electric in his first game back.
The ‘Little Master’ set up the Cats’ much-needed first goal for Brandan Parfitt, kicked a brilliant running goal seven minutes later and set up plenty more.
“He’s a freak, we know that,” Blicavs said.
“It probably did take me by surprise how clean he was early on from having no competitive football for a few months. But that’s a credit to him and the work he’s done back home.”
The Cats’ depth and healthy list put them in good stead for their finals campaign, Blicavs said.