Geelong was widely criticized ahead of the season for simply being too old, but AFL superstar Patrick Dangerfield has explained why the Cats made it all the way to the grand final, despite the knockers and their age demographics.
Speaking on podcast The Field – featuring JJ & Danger, the veteran midfielder has opened up to the skills of the freshly batted All-Australian Tyson Stengle – one in particular – who blows his mind, and the forgotten Cat who plays his best game for the preliminary final against Brisbane.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Old Cats chase Grand Final history.
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“The strength of our team this year (is) is the moments of so many different players that change every week. That has been key to our success and everyone at different stages has stood up and had their turn,” said Dangerfield.
“Gryan Miers over the weekend (in the preliminary final against Brisbane)…it’s probably the best AFL footy game he’s played. He was just phenomenal.”
Geelong recruited Stengle as a de-listed free agent at the start of the year after spending a year in the SANFL after being removed from Adelaide’s list.
As far as the redemption stories go, it’s hard to top Stengle’s.
“What a season, All-Australian,” Dangerfield said.
“I’ve never seen a player hit a front-and-square method and position with such speed and balance.
“He will take the ball neatly and then be ready to kick in a few milliseconds. He has been a revelation to us and at 23 he will only get better as he spends more time with our attackers.
“It was a pretty handy pickup for literally nothing, so it’s been spectacular.”
Having personally starred in the Preliminary Finals, Dangerfield also had a message for young aspiring footballers who had nerves for big games like finals.
Listen to the JJ & Danger podcast in the player below
“…understanding what the game is and not trying to make it bigger than the occasion demands,” he said.
“It’s just a game, one you’ve played many times all season. You can’t build it up so big that you get so small and it overwhelms you.
“I think that’s a really important part of performance. It’s just that next moment, getting the ball cleanly…just doing those little things right…and that culminates in a more well-rounded performance.”
Dangerfield said the Cats were soaking up the atmosphere in Melbourne after playing their previous big final in Queensland in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
“Our destiny is in our own hands. To have a full MCG it becomes special. You can see why it is so special to have it at the ‘G,'” he said.
“Brisbane was a great host, Western Australia the same with Optus Stadium last year. But footy and the MCG, they go hand in hand when it comes to the biggest opportunity on the calendar for us. I can understand why after the last few days… the entire state is just embracing it.
“Even when you walk down the street at Geelong, everyone says hello quickly, good luck this week… You have to embrace it as a player. Don’t try to hide from it.”
As for who will win on Saturday, Dangerfield has nothing but respect for Sydney but clearly thinks Geelong is well positioned to take the silverware.
But it boils down to this: “Who can play their game the longest on their terms, and who can take advantage in front of goal, and who can stop their opponents from scoring.”
Listen to the full episode of The Field below with JJ and Danger as the guys dive in:
00:10 – Looking forward to this week’s grand finale
04:05 – How are Danger and the Cats preparing for this year’s grand finale?
14:26 – Max Holmes’ chances to play this week
16:30 – The many stories that will come out of the premiership decision this year.
19:18 – The Brownlow Medal
23:51 – Mirroring on the media
28:46 – 3 votes
31:28 – Joe the Goose
Listen and subscribe to The Field with JJ & Danger via iTunes and Spotify