Former Hawthorn teammates Lance Franklin and Isaac Smith will face off on opposite sides in this year's Grand Final. Pictures: AFL Photos

AHEAD of Saturday's Toyota AFL Grand Final, put the challenge to stats guru Swamp to compile his six fascinating facts about the 2022 decider. The result is an unexpected link to the Kennett Curse, a record match-up drought, and a reason why Brownlow Medal votes can hurt your premiership chances. 

Follow Swamp on Twitter: @sirswampthing


Former Hawthorn teammates Isaac Smith and Lance Franklin, who played together in the 2013 premiership win against Fremantle, join a rare club on Saturday when they line up against each other in a Grand Final representing new clubs. 

There have been only three other instances like it, most recently in the 2010 Grand Finals when Collingwood ruckman Darren Jolly lined up against 2005 Sydney premiership teammates Sean Dempster and Adam Schneider, who were both representing St Kilda. 

Darren Jolly attempts to mark in front of Sean Dempster and Jason Blake during the 2010 Grand Final between Collingwood and St Kilda at the MCG. Picture: AFL Photos

Essendon premiership teammates Blake Caracella and Damien Hardwick, who were part of the Bombers' 2000 premiership, were on opposing teams for the 2004 Grand Final, representing Brisbane and Port Adelaide, respectively. 

In that same Grand Final, 1999 North Melbourne premiership teammates Martin Pike and Byron Pickett were opponents, with Pickett winning the Norm Smith Medal as part of the Power's premiership team and Pike representing the Lions.  

Will Selwood follow Ling's lead?

What has Geelong's Cameron Ling done differently to every other captain who won the toss in the past 16 Grand Finals held at the MCG? 

The 2011 premiership captain bucked the trend against Collingwood in what was the Cats' fourth Grand Final in five years, electing to kick to the Punt Road End in the opening quarter against Collingwood.  

Every other captain who won the toss between 2005 and 2019 chose to kick to the City End before the 2020 and 2021 Grand Finals were held in Brisbane and Perth, respectively. 

Cameron Ling went against the grain in 2011, but it didn't stop Geelong claiming the premiership. Picture: AFL Photos

History repeats

Geelong’s preliminary final win against Brisbane was its 15th straight win this season, with its most recent loss coming against St Kilda in round nine.   

The last time the Cats were on a 15-game winning streak was after the 2008 preliminary final win against the Western Bulldogs.  

The next week they played in the Grand Final against a side featuring Lance Franklin, losing the decider to Buddy's Hawks. 

That match launched what became known as the Kennett Curse after Hawks president Jeff Kennett declared the Cats didn't have the "psychological drive" Hawthorn did. 

Geelong would go on to beat Hawthorn by 43 points in the opening round of 2009, and in all 11 matches the teams played until the 2013 preliminary final.

Jeff Kennett looks on after the R19 clash between Hawthorn and Geelong in 2012. Picture: AFL Photos

A long Grand Final build-up

The last time these two sides met was 183 days ago, all the way back in round two when the Cats travelled to the SCG but fell to the Swans by 30 points as Buddy notched up his 1000th goal. It is the longest ever gap between games for two sides going into a Grand Final. 

The previous record is held by Hawthorn and Fremantle, who met in the 2013 decider 161 days after their previous meeting, in round four of that season. The Hawks won on both occasions. 


Tuohy's special milestone

Geelong veteran Zach Tuohy will play his 250th career game on Saturday, becoming just the second player to reach that milestone in a Grand Final. 

Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge was the other, playing his 250th match in the 2014 Grand Final win against Sydney. 

It was a good day for Hodge, who finished with 35 disposals, two goals and a Norm Smith Medal around his neck as he lifted the premiership cup as captain.   

Zach Tuohy poses before a Geelong training session at GMHBA Stadium on September 19, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Brownlow hangover

A trend has emerged on Brownlow Medal night that favours the Grand Finalist that has collectively received less recognition from the umpires.  

Of the past 14 Grand Finals, 11 have been won by the side that polled fewer Brownlow Medal votes earlier in the week. 

This season, Geelong polled 92 votes compared to the Swans' 83. 

The Cats' last Grand Final appearance, in 2020, saw them head into the match after polling 64 votes to eventual premier Richmond's 56. 

Last year's premier Melbourne bucked the trend, polling 96 votes compared to the Western Bulldogs' 85 in 2021. 

Is this an omen for Sydney? Luke Parker and Chad Warner sure would like to think so. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos