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. 

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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.


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.

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


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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 


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.


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.


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.

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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. 


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

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 

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

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

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

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