Sitting before him were Ian Nankervis, Corey Enright, Alistair Lord, Peter Riccardi, Matthew Scarlett, Joel Selwood, Mark Blicavs and Tom Hawkins, all ‘Carji’ Greeves Medallists from years past.
On stage, Patrick Dangerfield stood, receiving his second ‘Carji’ in only his second season at the Geelong Cats.
As the 2016 Brownlow Medallist humbly received his honour, he turned his attention to retiring legends Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan, praising them for their contribution to Geelong and their professional, yet fun approach to playing AFL.
“They’ve given the philosophy around enjoying what you do.”
“I think if you’ve got experienced older players promoting that sort of message it relieves the tension out of everybody.’ Dangerfield stated of the veterans.
Dangerfield called upon young guns Ryan Gardner and Wylie Buzza to emulate Mackie and Lonergan and elevate themselves to one day become Geelong legends.
Dangerfield, who edged out Mitch Duncan by 14.5 votes, reflected on his second ‘Carji’.
“It’s very humbling. I’ve been here a couple of years now and it’s surreal.’ Said the 2016 Brownlow Medallist.
As for the Runners-Up Mitch Duncan and Zach Tuohy, Dangerfield had kind words to speak of his teammates.
“Mitch had such an unbelievable year,” He began.
“And we’re very lucky that Tuohy chose the Geelong Football Club. His footy this year has certainly spoken for itself.” Dangerfield said with a smile.
Dangerfield, who averaged 29 disposals in 2017, placed importance on the ‘Geelong way’ and the value in enjoying what they do as players.
“It’s an integral part of what we are. We stand for being uncompromising and having a team first mentality, but we have fun while doing it.” He said.
The Fan Player of the Year then moved on to talks about 2018 and beyond, highlighting the need to gel as a team in order to succeed come finals time.
‘The more we play well together, the more we improve. And we’re going to need to as the competition improves.”
With Dangerfield leading the way, it is time for Geelong to ‘Stand Proud’ and take that next step in 2018.