Cats can bounce back in AFL: Duncan

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Gun midfielder Mitch Duncan says Geelong will draw on last year's experience as they seek to claw their way back from a qualifying final loss to another AFL grand final.

The Cats suffered a 43-point hammering from Port Adelaide on Friday night - their eighth defeat in nine matches in the opening week of the finals over the last decade.

It was a similar story last season, when a loss to the Power in Adelaide left Chris Scott's men facing a tough road to the flag.

Sudden-death wins over Collingwood and Brisbane got the Cats through to the 2020 decider, where they ultimately fell short against Richmond.

This year, Sydney or GWS will present the hurdle in a knockout semi-final to be played on neutral turf at Perth's Optus Stadium next week.

"We're in exactly the same position we were last year so we look forward with great optimism," Duncan told AAP.

"We've just got to win three more games of footy and then we get what we want.

"We start next week and work hard, then who knows what can happen.

"I've got great confidence in the group to be able to play our best footy and when we do that we're a very hard team to beat."

Wrapped up in the Cats' unflattering recent finals record is the fact they've now produced their lowest score of the season in a final five times in the last six years.

Duncan lamented Geelong's inability to circumvent Power defender Aliir Aliir, who took three contested marks and gathered five intercept possessions in the first quarter alone.

The All Australian backman was an influential figure for Port as they resisted the Cats' early challenge at Adelaide Oval.

"We couldn't really stop Aliir - that's probably the main reason (for the result)," Duncan said.

"He was really important for them and they got their attacking game going off the back of him a lot of the time.

"We competed really well around the footy but we just couldn't generate much from that and we couldn't really keep the ball in our (forward) half."

Duncan made his comeback against Port after 10 weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury and had 33 disposals - 10 more than any other Geelong player - in a strong return.

"It was a disappointing result for the footy club and we're disappointed that we couldn't do it for big Tom (Hawkins) in his 300th game, but it was good to be back out there," Duncan said.

"I got through quite well and was a little bit fatigued late, but I felt pretty good."

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