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.

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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

Max Holmes (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Mark O'Connor

Brandan Parfitt
Sydney: Braeden Campbell



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


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


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


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.

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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


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


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.

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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.


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.



-       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.


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

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.


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.