AFL 3 years ago

Cats end tough AFL season on a high

  • Cats end tough AFL season on a high
  • Cats end tough AFL season on a high
  • Cats end tough AFL season on a high

For a club about to miss out on AFL finals action for the first time in a decade, Geelong sure found a way to end their 2015 campaign on an almighty high.

Steve Johnson brought the sublime and the silly in roughly equal measures and Mathew Stokes and James Kelly also played prominent roles as the trio brought down the curtain on decorated Geelong careers totalling 715 games and eight premierships with a 39-point win over Adelaide.

At times in the last quarter of Saturday's 17.17 (119) to 11.14 (80) victory the Crows were pretty much reduced to the role of the Washington Generals opposed to Johnson and Co as the Harlem Globetrotters.

Johnson exhorted the packed house at Simonds Stadium to get on their feet and roar after taking a brilliant mark in the goalsquare and kicking his second major.

A towering left-footed torpedo which sailed through for a point was another quintessential Stevie J moment.

He ended his last game in the blue and white hoops with 2.6 and then burst into tears after singing the club song for the final time.

"I was clapping and laughing, like I have been for the previous five years," said Geelong coach Chris Scott.

"Probably you did not see some of the frustration there at times but that is the ride you are on with Stevie.

"I'm really close to him.

"I don't mind saying it's emotional for all of us but I love those three guys.

"Anyone who thinks that it's unemotional or it's callous thinking doesn't really understand the inner workings of an AFL footy club."

Johnson's worst moment came during the third quarter when he chose to snap over his shoulder rather than kicking a regulation drop punt for goal from 30 metres out, only for it to fall 10 metres short.

It came midway through a run of five successive goals from Adelaide which allowed them to narrow the margin to a single point.

As it turned out, had the Crows found a way to win they would have hosted next weekend's elimination final at the Adelaide Oval after Brisbane scored a shock win over the Western Bulldogs in a match which began 45 minutes later.

Instead, that knockout final will take place at the MCG.

"As a football club you can't rely on other clubs' results," said Adelaide caretaker coach Scott Camporeale.

"Our destiny is in our hands, we understand that as a playing group and a coaching group.

"We played 20 minutes of footy and in that 20 minutes we got more reinforcement about how we want to play.

"But to Geelong's credit they were too good for the other three quarters."

Adelaide's Sam Jacobs was the dominant ruckman on the ground, while Eddie Betts kicked a game-high four goals for the Crows, all of them coming in the second half.

Rampaging midfielder Patrick Dangerfield was also among the Crows' best players, which would have produced mixed emotions from the Cats' faithful as he has been strongly linked to a move to Geelong next year.

In one final moment of sporting theatre in a day full of them, the local fans stood and cheered as Dangerfield took a shot for goal after the siren - only for it to drift in for a point.

All-Australian defender Brodie Smith hobbled off early in the game with a right ankle problem and did not return, but Camporeale declared he would be a definite starter against the Bulldogs.

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