Geelong poised to redeem decade of pain after mauling of Brisbane at the MCG
Geelong is the first team into the 2022 AFL Grand Final after thrashing Brisbane by 71 points, extending their win streak to 15 games.
Starting the match dominant, the Cats never looked like losing as the Lions rarely challenged on Friday night.
Opening a five goal margin at half time, Geelong kept the door slightly ajar due to their inaccurate kicking.
Tom Hawkins put four through the big sticks while also setting up others to really put the game in doubt.
An 11-goal second half to four resulted in a mauling of the Lions, with the Cats entering the ‘Big Dance’ for the 19th time in their history.
✍️ RECAP https://t.co/OfXDvAPHJo
🔢 STATS https://t.co/cS99vaydox pic.twitter.com/vXNYpLKDxB
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) September 16, 2022
Geelong will await nervously for their opponents, with Sydney and Collingwood to do battle on Saturday to see who the Cats will face.
Geelong were at their best on Friday night at the MCG, meaning they get a chance to do it on the biggest stage.
Forcing the Lions into turnovers mixed with speed on the ball, the Cats seem to be purring (excuse the pun) at the right time of the year.
Brisbane were restricted to seven goals for the match, well under their average.
Geelong piled on 18 themselves and proved why they are the premier team of the competition.
A faultless performance by Scott’s men, they will go into the grand final as heavy favourites and rightly so.
Old Cats still got it
When the game was there to be won, Geelong’s experience rose to the top with Tom Hawkins, Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood leading the way.
Dangerfield’s opening quarter which resulted in two goals from nine touches kickstarted the Cats as they quickly opened up a 14-point buffer.
Selwood – along with Mark Blicavs and Tom Atkins – was able to nullify Lachie Neale’s impact in the first half and ultimately control the midfield.
Hawkins, despite his inaccurate kicking, was able to put score on the board and share the love in the meantime.
Externally, fear and doubt spread over Geelong’s ageing list and whether their stars could carry them once again.
Ironically, the team that was fielded had an average age of 28 years and 173 days, the oldest in V/AFL history.
— Swamp (@sirswampthing) September 16, 2022
However, they have proved the majority wrong and have set up another chance at premiership glory, something that’s alluded Dangerfield and the Cats since 2011.
Lions couldn’t find their roar
In what turned out to be a forgettable night for the Lions, they will look at the review with plenty discomfort as some players didn’t rise to the occasion.
Known as a heavy scoring side, Brisbane’s goal kickers struggled to get on the end of any, with Joe Daniher kept goalless as well as Daniel McStay.
Hugh McCluggage performed well under his best while Dayne Zorko found it hard to get going.
After a fortnight of big games, it seemed the Lions were out of breath and could not get up for a third week straight.
Geelong have plenty of answers
Speculation grew over what Chris Scott’s plans were for superstar Lion Lachie Neale, given his impressive fortnight on the big stage.
Averaging 33 touches and 13 clearances, the task was dire or so we thought.
Scott deployed multiple layers to what turned out to be a foolproof plan, limiting Neale to 20 disposals, well below his best.
At times, Joel Selwood, Mark Blicavs and Tom Atkins spent time on Neale to curb his influence, which all worked to great effect.
Atkins and Selwood’s grunt around the stoppages was notable, denying the 2020 Brownlow Medalist and his teammates first look.
Blicavs strength and aerobic capacity also meant that Neale never really had space throughout the night and couldn’t get himself going.
As is the theme for Geelong in 2022, it was another coaching masterclass of Scott once again.
Holmes’ hamstring a worry
Despite a night for Geelong fans, the only negative that has come out is youngster Max Holmes’ injury.
Holmes appears to have hurt his hamstring in the third term of the preliminary final win against the Lions, with fears he may miss the big dance.
History suggests that a 21-day break from a hamstring tear is usually required and that may mean Chris Scott finds another option for the grand final.
Medical sub Mark O’Connor is an option as well as Brandon Parfitt and Jon Ceglar, depending on whether Sydney or Collingwood win.
Max Holmes seemingly pulls his hamstring here and looks absolutely devastated. 🤕
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) September 16, 2022
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