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Geelong Football Club : 2007 & 2009 AFL Premiers

From the Hillbilly Cat to the Geelong Cats .....

Geelong Football Club : 2007 & 2009 AFL Premiers

Geelong Football Club : 2007 & 2009 AFL PremiersThe Geelong Cats Football club has won the 2009 AFL Grand Final, beating a quality St Kilda team; 12. 8. 80 to 9. 14. 68 - This is the clubs second Grand Final victory in thee years and it's eighth in total since it's first in 1925

Premerships: 1925, 1931, 1937, 1951, 1952, 1963, 2007, 2009.

Cats the last ones standing in epic battle -- 2009

Geelong is the premier for the second time in three years after coming from behind to stun St Kilda by 12 points in a classic Toyota AFL Grand Final at the MCG on Saturday. The scores were level with just five minutes to play in a nail-biting final term, but a quick snap from Paul Chapman (And 2009 Norm Smith Medal Winner) gave the Cats a lead they would not surrender despite the Saints' best efforts in the frantic final minutes. Max Rooke played one of the best games of his career and the ball fittingly ended in his hands as the final siren sounded. He put aside his elation to bounce through the meaningless goal that confirmed the 12.8 (80) to 9.14 (68) final scoreline.

Chapman's heroics in the final minutes capped a gutsy 26-possession, three-goal display that saw him awarded the Norm Smith Medal. Joel Corey (29 possessions), Gary Ablett (25) and Joel Selwood (24) all played critical roles in around the many stoppages. Harry Taylor and Matthew Scarlett won their respective battles with Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke.

St Kilda   3.2  7.7  9.11 9.14 (68)
Geelong  3.0  7.1  9.4   12.8 (80)


St Kilda: Schneider 2, Goddard, Hayes, Koschitzke, Jones, Dempster, Riewoldt, Montagna
Geelong: Chapman 3, Mooney 2, Hawkins 2, Rooke 2, Selwood, Byrnes, Ablett


St Kilda: Gram, Hayes, Ball, Jones, Montagna, Baker, Goddard
Geelong: Chapman, Rooke, Milburn, Taylor, Selwood, Ablett, Corey, Bartel, Ling, Scarlett

Umpires: McBurney, Ryan, Rosebury

Official crowd: 99,251 at the MCG

Geelong's remarkable, season produced:

  • The AFL Premiership – The clubs second in three years
  • The Norm Smith Medallist – Paul Chapman (Best on ground Grand Final)
  • The Brownlow Medallist – Gary Ablett (Best play season)
  • (Gary is the son of Gary Ablett (Sr), arguably the best player ever to play the game.)
  • The AFLPA Most Valuable Player – Gary Ablett (For a record, third year in a row.)
  • Geelong won 21 matches including finals

2009 AFL Ladder

Geelong Football Club : 2007 AFL Premiers

It'd be too easy to say Geelong won the 2007 premiership because it was the best performed AFL team over 22 rounds and in the finals. Although this is factual, it doesn't highlight the real reasons and indictors why it achieved its first flag in 44 years. Entering the 2007 home-and-away season, opinions were divided on Geelong's prospects. And after the club suspended eventual Norm Smith Medallist Steve Johnson for an off-field incident before the season had started, the cynics were relishing the opportunity to fire another barb. And with new skipper Harley sidelined for six matches after the opening round and Geelong winning just two of its opening five rounds, Thompson's future was again questioned. But a whopping 157-point victory against Richmond at Telstra Dome in round six was the turning point for Geelong. From that point the Cats – and Thompson – haven't looked back. A remarkable 15 wins in a row followed and just one more loss for the season occurred – a five-point defeat in round 21 to eventual Grand Final opponent Port Adelaide.

Geelong's remarkable, record breaking season produced:

  • The AFL Premiership – by a Grand Final record winning margin of 119 points
  • The Norm Smith Medallist – Steve Johnson (Best on ground Grand Final)
  • The Brownlow Medallist – Jimmy Bartel (Best play season)
  • The AFLPA Most Valuable Player – Gary Ablett
  • The Ron Evans Medal – Joel Selwood (Best first year player)
  • The McClelland Trophy – For the minor premier (Top of ladder at end of season)
  • Geelong won 21 matches including finals – the most in a season by the Cats
  • Nine All Australians – Gary Ablett, Bartel, Joel Corey, Matthew Egan, Johnson, Cameron Ling, Darren Milburn, Cameron Mooney and Matthew Scarlett
  • The VFL premiership (Reserve grade)

On Saturday, Geelong achieved its finest hour since 1963, capping off one of the most remarkable AFL seasons – and transformations in a year – seen by a team.

It started off-field, when the stability of the club became a priority. President Frank Costa, chief executive Brian Cook, Thompson and new skipper Tom Harley led the charge. In particular, Costa and Cook didn't waver when Thompson was under the pump from outside influences early in the season. This has played a massive part in Geelong's season that way. From that point, its on-field team was given every opportunity to prosper. And it did. The club's physical and medical staff also played a key role this season, after that area was rocked in 2006.

Sure an ounce of luck is always part and parcel with injuries and list management, but Geelong's was first-class in 2007. The Cats averaged just 6.84 listed players per round (including finals) unavailable each week.

Only Port Adelaide (5.08), Sydney (5.34), Kangaroos (6.48) and the Western Bulldogs (6.68) averaged fewer listed players unavailable than Geelong on a match-by-match basis this season.

More importantly, Geelong was able to keep the majority of its best 22 in place.

Continuity is super important in a team and Geelong had five players feature in every match this season – including four 2007 All Australians – as 16 Cats also notched up 20 appearances or more. Only three premiership players managed fewer than half of the matches this season. The desperately unlucky Mark Blake, who was a Grand Final emergency after making way for fellow ruckman Steven King and 2007 All-Australian Matthew Egan, who fractured a navicular bone on the eve of the finals, both played 22 matches for the season. Travis Varcoe, another emergency, also played 18 matches after making his debut this year.

Geelong's blend of youth, peak-age and experienced players was also telling.

It entered the season with the ninth-oldest (or eighth-youngest) list in the competition, although Geelong's match experience on Grand Final day was vital against the younger and inexperienced Port Adelaide.

The Cats entered the match with 2578 matches of experience at an average of 117.18 games per player. Darren Milburn was the most senior with 213 matches and Joel Selwood was the least inexperienced with 21 appearances. In terms of the acquisition of players, recruiting manager Stephen Wells had been instrumental in building the list since the club obtained Steven King – the current longest serving Geelong player – in 1995.

Interestingly, the majority of the premiership team was recruited from 1995-2001, with Geelong's 15 current longest serving players all part of the success – from King to James Kelly (No.17 in the 2001 NAB AFL Draft).

Johnson (No.24 in the 2001 NAB AFL Draft), Andrew Mackie, Shannon Byrnes, Brad Ottens, Nathan Ablett, Mathew Stokes and Selwood (No.7 in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft) were the other seven premiership players recruited outside of the '15' from 1995-2001. For the record, Geelong still has a host of listed players interspersed through these draftees. An example is Charlie Gardiner, who was selected between Kelly and Johnson at No.23 in the 2001 NAB AFL Draft, yet he was not a member of the premiership side.

By Matt Burgan

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