My Dad always jokes that the 2007 Grand Final win was the greatest day of his life, better than his wedding day and the birth of his kids.
But I know it’s not a joke.
A long 10 years have passed since Geelong broke their 44 year premiership drought and put Dad out of his 44 year misery.
That sunny Saturday afternoon will go down as one of the greatest premiership wins in history, and it belongs to the small club down the highway.
We headed down our highway early, as we were keen to see our 2007 heroes paraded and feted before the game.
The legendary call of the final seconds of that famous win is swirling around in my head…
…It’s the Cats…….
A sense of nostalgia filled the stands with our old town legends making a humble return.
They were all there…well, almost.
Stevie J and James Kelly were welcomed home like old times, and it felt so right.
There was Josh Hunt, Shannon Byrnes and Brad Ottens. All who played different roles to bring together greatness.
Cam Mooney sat with Matthew Stokes, best mates reunited. It was like a day hadn’t gone by.
Jimmy returned home, along with Ling who was wearing his trademark smile.
There was Snappy Chappy and Slapsy Maxy. Still the same energetic characters they were 10 years before.
Dad’s favourite ‘Dasher’ Milburn was there too, alongside pocket rocket David Wojinski.
…They’ve come so close so many times…
Along rolled Tom Harley and ‘Bomber’ Thompson and the crowd went wild. They were the ones who brought everything together. And to think Bomber was on the verge of being kicked out of the club!
And there was Nathan Ablett, our reserved paradox. His return sparking memories of a young superstar that was pivotal for the Cats in 2007.
Each player was left reminiscing on a truly momentous occasion.
Yet, it was a celebration of our whole club, not just the team that graced the field that day.
It was every coach, trainer and doctor that was part of the 2007 season. It was every past player and President and CEO. It was every member and supporter who had been there through thick and thin.
It was Geelong.
…in the last 44 years…
Tonight, it was easy to notice similarities between the Geelong of old and the current Cats.
When the going got tough in the final minutes of the game, we were searching for a new era Max Rooke. Then up stepped Patrick Dangerfield.
And, as we have said for years about Rooke, we now say about Danger…”he doesn’t play a position, he is a position”.
He crashes packs, dives on every ball, and tonight, kicks matching winning goals. Fearless and ferocious, yet calm and collected, just like Rooke.
In the last play of the game, it was left to Tom Stewart to shut down Robbie Gray and he did it just as Matthew Scarlett would have. A calm head, who knew how to draw an opponent in. Stewart knew exactly how to lock the ball and his player down and save the game. Ironically, Scarlett discovered him at South Barwon.
Zac Smith has been a crucial part of the Cats team recently, just like Brad Ottens was in 2007. Ottens had the impeccable ability to move smoothly between the ruck and the forward line, making an impact wherever he was placed. At 202cm, Ottens could kick long goals, but also tackle with an intensity that few ruckman possess. At 209cm, Zac Smith is following in Ottens predominant path.
However in 2017, there is no one that compares to Nathan Ablett. The enigmatic recluse, the reluctant hero, the one that walked away… who many believed to be the Ablett that possessed the most talent. No one expected it, but incredibly, he was here with us tonight.
…but the torture is finally over…
The game tonight did not mirror the 2007 Grand Final. It did not mirror the relief, and it did not allow us enjoyment throughout.
It did however, mirror the ambition, the strength, the drive and the fervor that was carried out 10 years ago.
…Geelong are the Premiers for 2007…
Tonight, it wasn’t 119 points or 44 years of torture.
It was the Cats by 2 points, but it was enough, and it was…fair dinkum unbelievable Bobby!