Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood during the trophy presentation after winning the 2022 Grand Final against Sydney at the MCG on September 24, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

1. Danger finally got his flag

One of the game's most decorated players of his era, you can now add 'premiership player' alongside Patrick Dangerfield's name. In his 15th season and 303rd game, the bulldozing midfielder would not be denied. Already with the eight All-Australian jackets, the 2016 Brownlow Medal, an AFL Coaches' Association MVP and an AFL Players' Association award, Dangerfield was magnificent in his second Grand Final appearance. The 32-year-old set up a first quarter goal for Mark Blicavs with a brilliant turn of speed and perfect pass, then was instrumental in another moments later for Isaac Smith when somehow coming up with the ball despite being outnumbered and started a Cats' forward surge. 'Danger' finished with 27 disposals to be one of the best players afield.

FINALLY, A FLAG Superstar Danger savours crowning glory


2. The Sam Reid gamble backfired

No matter what Sydney says there was always a degree of risk playing Sam Reid after he was subbed out of the Swans' preliminary final win over Collingwood with an adductor strain. The power forward – who has been so influential in 2022 – was selected in the hope he could help occupy Geelong's key defenders. Not only was he ineffective from limited first-half entries, but Reid was rushed down to the changerooms just prior to half-time and did not return after the main break, being replaced by medical substitute Braeden Campbell early in the third term.

'WE MADE A MISTAKE' Shattered Longmire laments Reid gamble

Sam Reid on the bench for Sydney against Geelong in the 2022 AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

3. Experience counted when the heat was on

After a 10-minute arm wrestle to start the match, Geelong's veterans decided enough was enough and effectively put it beyond doubt by quarter time, racing to a 35-point lead. Tom Hawkins started the avalanche with two remarkably similar, yet unique goals. The first came from a ball-up 15m from goal where he threw Swan Tom Hickey out of the way, grabbed the ball and snapped truly, and the second came just minutes later from a throw-in, where he again shrugged Hickey to catch the ball and checkside with his right foot from 30m. Isaac Smith started his massive 30-disposal, three-goal day with two first-quarter majors, while Joel Selwood (12 touches) and Dangerfield (eight) also had big influences early.


CATS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats

4. Joel Selwood's touching tribute to the Little Master

Geelong's skipper Joel Selwood could hardly have scripted a better day. Not only did the 34-year-old surpass Michael Tuck as the game's most prolific finals player with his 40th appearance, but he was a major part of winning a fourth premiership. Perhaps his most memorable moment though came when he ran on to the ground carrying former teammate Gary Ablett jnr's beaming three-year-old son Levi. It was a touching moment, with Ablett clearly chuffed when the Cats' skipper handed his son back. Selwood was magnificent once the ball was bounced, gathering 12 first-quarter disposals and finishing with 26 for the day. He capped the performance with a final-quarter goal that brought a tear to his eye and his mother's who was watching in the grandstand.


5. Heeney had a horror day

He had plenty of teammates, but Isaac Heeney had a day he'd rather forget. When the Swans needed their star to have a big influence, the athletic half-forward barely went near the ball. In fact, Heeney did not gather a disposal until midway through the second quarter when he won a free kick. He managed to kick a goal just prior to half-time to give the Swans hope, but had little impact apart from that. The 26-year-old finished with just 11 disposals. Lance Franklin was another Swan struggling to go near it, although when the midfield is getting slaughtered, it's hard to be critical of someone playing so close to goal. Franklin hit the post early in the second term for his only score of the day, ending up with a quiet five touches against a Cats defence that was simply too good.

Sydney's Isaac Heeney in action against Geelong in the 2022 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

6. Stengle's redemption story was completed in style

At his third club after being let go by both Adelaide and Richmond, Tyson Stengle completed a remarkable redemption story with a remarkable performance on the biggest stage. The dynamic small forward kicked four goals, to take his season tally to 53, showing every inch of class that won him a first All-Australian blazer. After a quiet opening quarter, Stengle sprung to life in the second, clutching passes from Jed Bews and Tom Atkins and going back both times from 50m and kicking truly. It was a hallmark of his performance, adding a third with a relatively routine snap in the third and then a fourth from an exquisite around-the-corner set shot from 40m.

FROM PURGATORY TO HEAVEN Tyson Stengle's amazing year


7. Robbie's pre-game masterpiece

He was hyped up as much as any pre-game entertainer in AFL Grand Final history, and Robbie Williams did not disappoint, producing a performance that will forever live in the memories of those at the MCG. The British rock great, decked out in a bright pink suit, wowed the 100,024 spectators with a 20-minute set that started with his classics 'Let Me Entertain You' and "Rock DJ'. He really got the fans rocking with a rendition of John Farnham's 'The Voice', paid tribute to cricket legend Shane Warne before belting out 'Angels', and capped his masterpiece with an energetic version of 'Kids' with Delta Goodrem, who matched Williams with her own pink outfit.

Robbie Williams performs in the pre-game entertainment at the MCG on September 24, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

8. Chris Scott is a modern-day coaching great

If there was any question mark over Chris Scott's coaching legacy, they have surely now vanished, after leading Geelong to a second premiership. Scott won a flag in his first year in charge in 2011, and after eight top-four finishes in his 12 seasons in charge, saluted for a second time in emphatic fashion. The way he embraced change in the past 12 months, finding lesser roles for his stars and more prominent roles for Sam De Koning, Tom Atkins, Brad Close and other youngsters, should not be undervalued. Alongside Alastair Clarkson's four premierships and Damien Hardwick's three, Scott now sits as a great of this generation.


9. You definitely want Robbie in your foxhole

All week speculation swirled around which Swan would man Geelong dynamo Jeremy Cameron. Would it be Dane Rampe? Would Paddy McCartin get a turn? When Robbie Fox stood alongside the 196cm Cameron it was a mild surprise. But John Longmire knew what he was doing. Fox, who stands 185cm, did a marvellous job on the athletic Cats forward, shadowing his every move. Although Cameron slotted two goals in the final quarter with the sting well and truly out of the game, his impact was relatively minimal. Fox enhanced his reputation for the Swans, as did young tyro Chad Warner, whose 29 disposals were full of merit.

Robbie Fox of Sydney leads Geelong's Jeremy Cameron to the ball in the 2022 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

10. The Irish are part of a premiership again

Before Geelong's triumph, Sydney's Tadhg Kennelly was the only player from Ireland to win an AFL premiership, when he helped the Swans to the 2005 flag over West Coast. You can now add Zach Tuohy and Mark O'Connor to that list. Tuohy has been a mainstay since moving from Carlton at the end of 2016, and his 250th game is now one he'll always remember after racking up 21 disposals and winning a premiership. Then there's O'Connor, who replaced Max Holmes on game day, storming up and down the wing to put his name into history.

Zach Tuohy in action for Geelong against Sydney in the 2022 AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos