Geelong erased memories of last year’s astounding Gabba capitulation by overcoming the Lions by 25 points in the Brisbane wet.
There was no vintage Stevey J magic but Geelong coach Chris Scott was happy to see a wet Brisbane afternoon bring out the best in his creative midfielder at the Gabba.
Steve Johnson shelved his renowned flamboyance to lead the way with 37 disposals and six clearances as the Cats better adapted to the conditions to outclass the Brisbane Lions 13.15 (93) to 10.8 (68) on Sunday.
The 217-game stalwart epitomises the visitors display by getting down and dirty to get the job done as they’re pressure and consistency ultimately told on the young Lions.
Scott, who struggled to stomach a 53-point comeback loss in his last visit to the Gabba, was delighted that Johnson thrived while showing a different side to his game.
“He was really important around the contest,” he said.
“It was one of those (games) where really clean ball use was difficult.
“We think he’s an under-rated contested player. He’s a big man, he’s very strong and he’s a very hard runner too.
“Sometimes in these conditions where it’s a bit closer, while it takes away from his flamboyance a little bit, in some ways it’s not a bad things for us because it means he has to focus on the basics a little bit more.”
Skipper Joel Selwood also relished the slippery and muggy conditions with 26 touches and 13 clearances, while All-Australian defender Andrew Mackie shone in his 200th match.
“I thought we adapted to the conditions well, it wasn’t the prettiest game of football of all time but often it’s the team who adapts the quickest that prevails,” Scott said.
“That was the most significant part of the game for us.”
The only concern for the Cats was an ankle injury to Corey Enright who was subbed out of the clash midway through the third term when the visitors built up a five-goal lead.
A crowd of 20,933 would still have been mostly impressed by Brisbane’s effort as Dayne Zorko was a stand-out and rising star Sam Mayes finished with four goals.
Brisbane, who took the contest to Hawthorn for three quarters in Justin Leppitsch’s coaching debut last week, scrapped hard from the outset but it was a three-goal Cats blitz just before halftime that turned the game.
Instead of taking a 10-point lead into the main break, the Lions trailed by eight at the start of the third term and were dominated until they showed some late resistance.
Jonathan Brown, well held by Harry Taylor, finished with two fine goals but, like round one, again missed two costly set shots.