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2022 Toyota AFL Premiership
Geelong Cats v Sydney Swans
Grand Final •
133 20.13
Kennedy - Official Timekeeper Full Time
52 8.4
Cats Won By 81
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    Tom Papley in action during the 2022 Grand Final between Sydney and Geelong. Picture: AFL Photos

    IT ALL comes down to this.

    Geelong and Sydney do battle at the MCG on the final Saturday in September, bidding to be crowned the 2022 premier.

    Max Holmes (hamstring) will miss the clash, with Mark O'Connor coming into the Cats' 22 and Brandan Parfitt named the sub.

    >> Get all your LIVE scores and stats on the go with the AFL Live Official App
    CATS v SWANS Follow it LIVE

    Sam Reid, who has been dealing with an adductor injury this week, will take his place, with Braeden Campbell named Sydney's medi-sub.

    Geelong v Sydney at the MCG, 2.30pm AEST

    LATE CHANGE
    Geelong:
    Max Holmes (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Mark O'Connor

    MEDICAL SUBS
    Geelong:
    Brandan Parfitt
    Sydney: Braeden Campbell

    10:09

    SUMMARY

    Two teams on two long winning streaks, but there can be only one winner when Geelong and Sydney square off in Saturday's Grand Final. Not only will it be the first decider at the MCG in three years, it will also be the first time these teams have squared off to decide a premiership. The Cats have won 15 games straight and the Swans are on a nine-game streak, with both teams showing little sign of weakness as 2022 has drawn to a close. Geelong hammered Brisbane in its preliminary final to advance, while Sydney squeaked home against Collingwood. Who will win this battle of the competition's two most consistent clubs of the past decade?

    Where and when: MCG, Saturday September 24, 2.30pm AEST

    WEATHER

    Melbourne is expected to reach a maximum of 14C throughout the day with light southwesterly winds and the chance of a morning shower. 

    HOW MANY WILL BE THERE? 

    After the past two Grand Finals were held in Brisbane (2020) and Perth (2021), this should be the first crowd over 100,000 since the 2019 Grand Final, with the MCG officially a sell-out.

    Jack Riewoldt celebrates Richmond's 2019 Grand Final win with a packed MCG crowd. Picture: AFL Photos

    TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

    ENTERTAINMENT

    International superstar Robbie Williams will headline the pre-game entertainment that will also feature September favourite Mike Brady, with five-time ARIA winner Katie Noonan to sing the national anthem. The half-time entertainment will feature Australian artists G-Flip, the Temper Trap and Goanna, that will include Christine Anu, Emma Donovan, Tasman Keith and William Barton.

    THE DEPTH TEST How the less-storied names stack up on Grand Final day

    WHO WILL PRESENT THE CUP AND MEDALS? 

    Former Geelong premiership captain Cameron Ling will present the cup if the Cats get up, while Sydney champion and Brownlow medallist Paul Kelly will do so if the Swans salute. 2002 Norm Smith Medal winner Nathan Buckley will present this year's medal. Carlton legend John Nicholls will present the Jock McHale Medal to the winning coach.

    Cameron Ling with the premiership cup after the 2011 Grand Final between Geelong and Collingwood. Picture: AFL Photos

    UMPIRES

    Matt Stevic (10th Grand Final), Simon Meredith (eighth), Brendan Hosking (first).

    WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR?

    Round 2: Sydney 17.5 (107) def. Geelong 10.17 (77) at the SCG

    One of the all-time great nights in Australian football history, this match will be remembered as the night Lance Franklin became the sixth player to kick 1000 goals in the VFL/AFL. 'Buddy' entered the night needing four goals to tick the milestone off, and after a slow start he got moving and achieved the mark during the final quarter, sparking unforgettable scenes at the SCG with most of the crowd rushing the ground. Sydney was in control of the match from early in the second quarter, with Isaac Heeney kicking five goals, Franklin four and Will Hayward three to go along with Callum Mills' 29 disposals.

    SIX OF THE BEST Swamp's spectacular Grand Final statistics

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR

    Geelong
    The Cats love to overwhelm their opponents with superior numbers. From the moment the ball clears the centre of the ground, Rhys Stanley drops into defence – allowing Mark Blicavs to take over in the ruck – and thus helping to free up intercept kings Tom Stewart and Sam De Koning. At the other end of the ground it's the lung-busting repeat sprints of players like Gryan Miers, Brad Close and Gary Rohan that help the Cats get more players to each contest and then allows them to quickly transition either into attack or defence.

    06:15

    Sydney
    For the Swans, they had great success against Collingwood last week with quick exits from centre bounces that allowed them to get the ball into one-on-one contests with their dynamic forward line. Making the Cats' accountable will be crucial, so Tom Hickey's ruck-work, the ball-winning of Luke Parker and Callum Mills and the breakaway speed of Chad Warner and Tom Papley will all be vital. How the Swans attempt to slow down Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron will be fascinating, with Dan Rampe, along with Tom and Paddy McCartin all critical.

    06:46

    THE STATS THAT MATTER

    -       Geelong has outscored opponents by 25.5 a game from intercept possessions to rank first in the competition. They conceded 76 points from intercepts in round two against the Swans – their most this season.

    -       These are the two highest-scoring first-quarter teams in the League. Geelong is ranked first with 25.8 points a game, with Sydney (24.9) not far behind.

    -       The Swans recorded a Pressure Factor of 203 against Collingwood last week. It is the third time in 2022 they have cracked 200.

    -       Geelong has totally changed their playing style this year, going from 18th in 2021 for kicking forward, to fourth in 2022.

    -       Lance Franklin has won just two of his past 17 offensive one-on-one contests, losing nine.

    -       Cam Guthrie has turned the ball over with every 8.41 disposals, the second-best ratio of the top-50 ball-winners in the League.

    IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR…  

    Geelong
    Look no further than skipper Joel Selwood. Although it's a Grand Final and there are dozens of worthy storylines, the magnitude of Selwood's record-breaking 40th Finals appearance should not be lost. Think about it – that's almost two entire seasons of playing purely finals football. And the 34-year-old, with 354 games alongside his name, is not exactly limping to the line either, showing in both matches this September he still has a significant contribution to make at the coalface.

    Geelong captain Joel Selwood on the final siren against Brisbane in the 2022 preliminary final. Picture: Getty Images

    Sydney
    Geelong has a handful of individuals that need close attention, but none more so than red-hot forward Jeremy Cameron. With that in mind, veteran Dane Rampe might have one of the most important jobs on the field on Saturday. Although slightly shorter than Cameron, Rampe has the speed to go with 'Jezza', and the discipline to stay with him, as he roams up the field. Rampe could do worse than watch Brisbane Lion Darcy Gardiner's performance on Cameron last week, after keeping him to one goal from 12 touches.

    PREDICTION

    Sydney by eight points. The two best teams with arguably the two best tactical coaches will hopefully give us a Grand Final for the ages.

    Purr-fect 10: Cats smash Swans in Grand Final romp

    The Cats have capped a stellar season with a Grand Final thrashing of the Swans

    Geelong celebrates its 2022 premiership win after the Toyota AFL Grand Final victory over Sydney. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

    IT WAS Geelong's sweet 16. 

    The Cats saluted for this year's premiership on Saturday, completing a dominant season in equally as destructive fashion against Sydney with an 81-point win at the MCG.

    One of the oldest clubs in the competition added the 10th cup of its history to its coffers in commanding style, with the Cats claiming their 16th consecutive win with the 20.13 (133) to 8.4 (52) thrashing. 

    CATS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats

    The Grand Final was back at the MCG for the first time since 2019, with Robbie Williams producing the greatest pre-game entertainment footy has seen. But the result was similar to three years ago, when Richmond hammered an overawed Greater Western Sydney.

    08:03

    And through it all, Geelong was on top, with Chris Scott notching his second premiership as coach after his debut triumph in 2011. Surely this one was sweeter, given the Cats' close runs and near misses in previous campaigns.

    THE MOMENT Tomahawk's brute power blows Swans away

    Surely, too, for captain Joel Selwood, who secured his fourth premiership but first as skipper in a brilliant 26-disposal typically hard-edged performance.

    00:56

    The Cats' comprehensive win carried storylines everywhere: from the mature-age recruits who dominated, such as Isaac Smith and his three-goal and 32-disposal performance. Smith's standout game was rewarded with a Norm Smith Medal, another astounding part of the game in his second season after crossing from Hawthorn where he was a key member of its triple-premiership teams form 2013-15.

    EVERY CATS PLAYER RATED Super Stengle, Danger brings his best
    EVERY SWANS PLAYER RATED Skipper battles, Chad stands tall

    Then, to the veterans like Tom Hawkins (three goals) and Mitch Duncan (27 disposals, one goal) who weren't going to let the chance for another premiership slip, to the superstars who so desperately wanted their first flags in Patrick Dangerfield (26 disposals, nine clearances) and Jeremy Cameron (18 disposals, two goals).

    There were the fresher faces, like Sam De Koning, Zach Guthrie and Brad Close who all paid their way, and Tyson Stengle? His story grows another incredible chapter after a game-high four goals, while another two Irishmen became premiership players – Zach Tuohy and Mark O'Connor. 

    10 THINGS WE LEARNED Danger's elusive premiership, Selwood's touching tribute

    This was a Grand Final Bloods bath – from start to end. 

    It was a first quarter that will live on in the memories of Cats fans forever. In fact, it might already be on repeat around the country. 

    After dominating the first nine minutes without getting the scoreboard reward, Geelong then banged home six goals in the next 21 minutes to set up a 35-point lead at quarter-time – the biggest in a Grand Final since the 1989 classic.

    Hawkins started the run with back-to-back goals out of the ruck inside 50, before Selwood and Dangerfield's commanding midfield performances led to more opportunities. Selwood wound the clock back with 12 disposals in the opening term while Dangerfield was destructive, having six touches and three clearances.

    CROWNING MOMENT Superstar Cat finally gets his premiership medallion

    One of those led to a goal to Smith, who then streamed forward and kicked his second. Smith then set up another for Close, who capped a terrific term by slotting a difficult shot. It wasn't as if everything was falling Geelong's way – the Cats had forced it this way with a brutal beginning. 

    00:38

    All-Australian forward Stengle got involved in the second term, kicking two goals, but the Bloods stopped the bleeding to hold the deficit to 36 points at half-time. 

    The Swans had managed to get back into the contest around the ball as co-captain Callum Mills slotted a long bomb and Isaac Heeney's goal just before half-time in what was just his second kick of the game at least saw him impact the contest.

    00:52

    But it was short-lived. If the first quarter was the business, the third quarter was the party. The Swans could manage just one point as the Cats piled on six goals to steamroll them into oblivion. 

    They came in different ways: Duncan the beneficiary of a holding the ball free kick, Close the winner from a Tom McCartin miskick. Smith added another long goal before Stengle kicked two of his own, his fourth coming from the boundary line in front of a Geelong faithful that has embraced the former Crows and Tigers small forward from the moment they recruited him last year for a last chance.

    00:48

    The Swans had entered the game on a nine-match winning streak after last week's one-point thriller against Collingwood, but that proved to be their limit as they were outplayed by the season's best side. Chad Warner (29 disposals, two goals) was among the few winners for the Swans, while Tom Papley tried hard. Lance Franklin was held to four kicks and one behind in his sixth Grand Final and was jeered late in the game.

    'WE MADE A MISTAKE' Shattered Longmire laments Reid gamble

    There were only cheers for Geelong, though, as the Cats cruised to the premiership, a success many years in the making and one set to be celebrated for many years to come, with Selwood's late banana the cream on the Cats' cake. 

    ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS

    GEELONG       6.5       9.8       15.11       20.13 (133)
    SYDNEY         1.0       4.2         4.3           8.4 (52)

    GOALS
    Geelong: 
    Stengle 4, Hawkins 3, Smith 3, Cameron 2, Close 2, Blicavs, De Koning, Duncan, C. Guthrie, Parfitt, Selwood
    Sydney: Warner 2, Hayward, McLean, P. McCartin, Mills, Heeney, Papley 

    BEST
    Geelong:
     Smith, Dangerfield, Hawkins, Stengle, Selwood, Close 
    Sydney: Warner, Fox, Rowbottom, Papley, Lloyd

    INJURIES
    Geelong: C. Guthrie (hamstring)
    Sydney: Reid (adductor)

    LATE CHANGES
    Geelong:
    Max Holmes (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Mark O'Connor
    Sydney:
    Nil

    SUBSTITUTES  
    Geelong: Brandan Parfitt (replaced C. Guthrie in the fourth quarter)
    Sydney: Braeden Campbell (replaced Sam Reid in the third quarter)

    Crowd: 100,024 at the MCG

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