THE MATESHIP between Josh Jenkins and Patrick Dangerfield last month led to Jenkins joining his old mate 'Danger' at Geelong, but their on-again, off-again relationship on the field could snare the pair some history.
If the Crows-turned-Cats duo play together in a final for Geelong – and there's every chance that will happen next year given Chris Scott's team was this season's minor premier and was close to a Grand Final berth – they will achieve a rare September feat.
They stand to become just the fourth known case of players being teammates in a final, then being opponents in a final, before reuniting as teammates for another finals campaign.
If the Cats veterans perform this unusual treble, they will match the efforts of Hawks-cum-Bulldogs Matt Suckling and Taylor Duryea, who in September joined an exclusive group that also comprises St Kilda/Richmond pair Ian Stewart and Stephen Rae and journeymen Brent Crosswell and Craig Davis.
Jenkins and Dangerfield first shared the same field in a final in 2015 when they were members of the Adelaide team that pipped the rising Western Bulldogs by seven points at the MCG, with Dangerfield among the Crows' best with 26 possessions while key forward Jenkins was goalless from nine touches.
Six days later they returned to the hallowed turf for a semi-final against Hawthorn, which was en route to its three-peat. The Crows suffered a 74-point hiding but our duo could hold their heads high with Dangerfield the best for the losers with 29 disposals and a goal, while Jenkins kicked half of their eight majors and gave another away.
Josh Jenkins consoles Patrick Dangerfield after the 2015 finals loss to the Hawks.
That off-season Dangerfield was granted his wish for a move to Geelong so he and then fiancée (now wife) Mardi could raise a family close to their loved ones.
Two years later Dangerfield faced Jenkins and the Crows in a preliminary final at Adelaide Oval. The Cats' superstar, then the reigning Brownlow medallist, started forward and wasn't sent into the middle until midway through the first term when his team was already three goals down.
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A bone-jarring collision with former teammate Rory Sloane left Dangerfield dazed in the second quarter, but he still managed to have 23 touches and kick a team-high 2.3. It wasn't enough though as Adelaide triumphed by 61 points with Jenkins bagging four goals.
For the Cats comrades to have any hope of pulling off the third leg of their finals odyssey, Jenkins needs to secure a spot in Geelong's attack alongside fellow veteran Tom Hawkins and developing tall Esava Ratugolea.
Dogs duo Suckling and Duryea completed their triple treat when they played alongside each other in the 58-point loss to Greater Western Sydney in the elimination final at Giants Stadium this season. They were far from their team's worst performers.
The left-footed defensive runners started at Hawthorn, where they were teammates in six finals, including the 2014 and 2015 premiership teams.
Suckling's relocation to Whitten Oval brought him up against his old club, and Duryea, in a 2016 semi-final when the underdog Bulldogs cruised to a 23-point win on their way to a fairytale premiership. However, an Achilles injury cost Suckling the chance of winning a fourth flag.
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Legendary centreman Ian Stewart and speedy half-forward Stephen Rae were teammates in St Kilda's 1970 preliminary final loss to Carlton.
The next season Stewart crossed to Richmond and played against Rae and the Saints in the preliminary final, but his Tigers succumbed by 30 points.
Rae transferred to Punt Road early in the 1973 season and played eight games that season, taking the field with his idol Stewart in four finals and becoming premiership teammates.
It's difficult to imagine any combination surpassing the feat of the flamboyant Brent Crosswell and Craig Davis, who had two stints as both teammates and opponents in finals.
Brent Crosswell played 98 games for the Blues.
They were Carlton teammates in the 1973 qualifying final loss to eventual premier Richmond; opponents in the 1975 qualifying final between Carlton (with Davis) and North Melbourne (Crosswell), which was won by Crosswell's Kangaroos; teammates in North Melbourne's loss to Hawthorn in the 1977 qualifying final; and opponents in the 1979 preliminary final between Collingwood (Davis) and North (Crosswell), won by Davis' Magpies – his only victory in this sequence.
Meanwhile, Jenkins and fellow Geelong recruit Jack Steven should also finally experience victory at the Cattery, having never done so with their previous clubs. Jenkins was 0-4 at Geelong headquarters as a Crow while Steven lost all three games there as a Saint – by a whopping average losing margin of 81 points.
- Information supplied by AFL statisticians and historians Col Hutchinson and Stephen Rodgers.