2022 Grand Final Player Ratings

After an engrossing finals series, with seemingly every game better than the one which preceded it, we were due for a letdown and unfortunately on the biggest stage the young Sydney side couldn’t handle the experience and class of a Geelong team finally destined for glory.

Despite the gap on the scoreboard viewers could only marvel at the supreme domination of a team freed from the grip of past finals failures and able to play exhilarating football on a perfect spring day. The number of amazing stories to arise for the winners were too numerous to detail, from Selwood’s crowning glory, Dangerfield’s long-sought medallion, Tuohy’s 250-game milestone, De Koning’s meteoric rise and redemption for Cameron and Rohan, these will be played out over the coming weeks and months in what will no doubt be a drought-breaking party for the ages down at Sleepy Hollow.

For the vanquished, nothing too positive can come from a Grand Final thumping like this, and even though the season was a resounding success there are no guarantees the mental scars won’t last for a long time. 12 players under the age of twenty-two bode well for the future, and perhaps a look at the selfless selection of the Cats team might help the Swans from making the same mistakes again.

Please find our individual player ratings and assessments thanks to @Trent Shields (Geelong & Brisbane)

 

Grand Final: Geelong vs Sydney

 

Geelong(Trent)

 

[2] Zach Tuohy – 7

Celebrated his 250th match in style, being chaired from the ground and raising the premiership cup aloft to a legion of adoring fans. Was calm and precise coming out of the backline as usual, his 21 disposals being delivered at the elite 91% efficiency.

 

[16] Sam De Koning – 8

Led the game with three intercept marks from his total of seven, added 16 possessions and a celebratory final goal in the last term. Received one NSM vote and based on his post-game efforts may have polled heavily at the after-party too. A revelation in his first full season, with a first premiership medal already secured, is a star on the rise.

 

[24] Jed Bews – 6

Kept the dangerous Tom Papley well under check while he was in the forward line, but not really required to do much more as his six possessions and one goal assist demonstrated. Great reward for a sterling season and career.

 

[22] Mitch Duncan – 8

A typically understated game from Duncan, one of only three survivors from the 2011 Geelong triumph. Had 27 touches at just a tick under the elite 80% level of efficiency, led all-comers with 13 marks, and capped off a great day with a run-down tackle and goal on Tom McCartin.

 

[38] Jack Henry – 9

Led his team in spoils and one percenters (five of each), took two intercept marks and also the not insignificant achievement of obliterating possibly the most dangerous player on the park. After being tried up forward at times earlier in the season, re-found his groove down back in the lead into finals and was superb throughout September.

 

[44] Tom Stewart – 6

Was better than average, but his best is very, very good and through the circumstances of the game just wasn’t called on to do too much at all. Endured a tight tag from Ryan Clarke which minimised his capacity to find loose ball but was still solid with 16 touches and five marks. A premiership medallion caps a wildly successful first six seasons at AFL level.

 

[7] Isaac Smith – 10

Only the 9th time in 258 career matches that he’s collected more than 30 disposals, Smith was unstoppable from the first bounce to the final siren, his 32-possession, 12-mark, five clearance, 11 I50, 14 score involvements and goal assist had him as probably the most clear cut winner of the Norm Smith Medal alongside Dusty in 2020 in recent memory.

He’s always been a big game player, and this award (while bittersweet for Hawks fans) at least secures his legacy as such after being repeatedly overlooked for AA selection throughout his career.

 

[14] Joel Selwood – 9

Was best afield in the first term where he couldn’t stop getting his hands on the ball, and after a quiet middle period of the time, exploded back to life in party time, including a stunning goal that capped off the celebration lap in-game. Rumours abound that he might’ve played the final game of his incredible career, could not have possibly left on a higher note if so, and only added to his legacy pre-and post-game with his amazing acts of generosity with kids and fans alike.

 

[42] Mark O’Connor – 6

One of two major benefactors from Max Holmes’ untimely injury, O’Connor was busy without being influential. Collected five intercepts and six marks amongst his 13 disposals and worked tirelessly to limit the output of the Swans’ mids. More than did his job.

 

[45] Brad Close – 9

Probably only behind Smith and Dangerfield for best afield honours, the long-sleeved young Gomez Addams (Thanks HB) was noticeable for his clean ball handling, pressure on the opposition (nineteen pressure acts – 3rd for the Cats), and ability to read the play better and faster than others around him. He finished with 18 disposals (nine contested), two goals, and a further two goal assists, this whole September season was a coming out party for the young #45.

 

[5] Jeremy Cameron – 5

Soundly beaten by Robbie Fox for three quarters, Cameron filled his boots in the last term with both of his goals and eight of his 18 touches. Played a selfless role in freeing up space for Hawkins and therefore Stengle and Close, and now has that coveted premiership medal (well he did for a few hours anyway, before sharing it with a favourite calf) to go with his Coleman’s and AA jackets. Was a big part of the reason why the Cats made the GF in the first place.

 

[32] Gryan Miers – 7

Has quietly become a hard-running link player as opposed to the opportunist forward pocket with the unorthodox kicking style. Luckily for him this evolution has occurred because his kicking at goal yesterday was poor, but his positioning and running were critical in breaking down the Swans’ defences. Miers contributed to five scoring chains with his 18 touches.

 

[18] Tyson Stengle – 8

Was the game-high goal kicker with four goals, giving him a total of 53 for the season at the impressive average of 67% accuracy. His finishing this finals series has been sublime, with 7.1 in the last two games of the season. His four goals and six marks were equal-career highs and he’s been a critical piece of the puzzle in Geelong’s incredible run in 2022.

 

[26] Tom Hawkins – 7

Perhaps marked harshly, but again his finishing was poor and he only went at 35% efficiency throughout. Kicked the first two goals through displays of brute strength and it must be said, poor tactics by the Swans. Finished as the season’s highest goalkicker for the third successive year to go with his now three premiership medallions.

 

[23] Gary Rohan – 3

The second lowest ranked player on the field, just couldn’t pull down one of the marks he got hands to throughout the game. Mildly unfair to call out his overall grand Final record of 24 disposals and 1.2 across four appearances, but at least this one had a happy ending, was epic in the Qualifying Final win that gave the Cats belief.

 

[1] Rhys Stanley – 7

Comfortably accounted for Tom Hickey, his 11 hitouts to advantage from 27 total knocks far surpassing the Swan’s numbers of six & 21. He also bested him around the ground taking five marks, winning two centre clearances and sixteen disposals as a perfect team role player.

 

[46] Mark Blicavs – 8

23 disposals (14 contested, only behind Dangerfield for the Cats), 20 pressure acts, 15 hit outs, eight tackles, seven score involvements, and four clearances were capped off with a goal when he intercepted yet another wayward McCartin kick. His first premiership came hot on the heels of his first AA jacket in a big month for the athletic Cat.

 

[35] Patrick Dangerfield – 9

If not for a game that was ‘one for the ages’ (thanks Bruce and the 2013 GF call), Dangerfield would’ve broken his long wait for a premiership with a NSM as an added bonus. Becomes just the second player after Shane Crawford to win their first flag after playing more than 300 games and this coveted memento finally completes his incredible trophy cabinet. Had a game-leading 19 contested possessions amongst his personal tally of 27, with 13 score involvements and nine clearances, but also unbelievably six direct goal assists, the equal fifth highest number ever recorded.

 

[39] Zach Guthrie – 6

Steady as they go for the younger brother of star Cam, Zach played 21 games in 2022 in a breakout year after only 33 games across his other five seasons. He was safe with five intercept possessions from a total of 15 touches and took four marks as he effectively partnered with his fellow defenders to hold the Swans to only 12 scoring shots down from their season average of 25.

 

[8] Jake Kolodjashnij – 7

Another extremely strong performance by the Tasmanian who took 11 marks, to give him a total of twenty across the last two games. He added seventeen disposals and 13 pressure acts to an assured performance as an integral part of an unbreachable defensive unit.

 

[29] Cameron Guthrie – 7

Workmanlike performance from the elder Guthrie who had 16 disposals and 16 pressure acts as he harassed the outclassed Swans midfield with five tackles before being subbed off around three-quarter time. Kicked a goal in the premiership quarter as the Cats completely shut the door on the contest.

 

[30] Tom Atkins – 7

Yet another solid, if unspectacular member of the premiership Cats midfield rotation. Atkins compiled 16 disposals at above 80% efficiency, but it was his defensive work that most stood out. He won two free kicks for HTB from his seven tackles, three inside F50, won four clearances and led his side with 21 pressure acts.

 

Medi-Sub [3] Brandan Parfitt – 5

Got on the end of a withering chain of handballs to kick a goal from point blank range within seconds of entering the field of play and was constantly involved from there on with eight touches and a goal assist from only 14% game time.

 

Sydney (Trent)

 

[24] Dane Rampe – 4

Was a contributor throughout and never dropped his head in compiling 16 touches and six marks, his heartfelt post-game speech will probably be remembered more so than his on-field exploits on this occasion. May be one of those unfortunate warriors to, unfortunately, miss two eras of success with his diminishing pace getting exploited on a regular basis now.

 

[30] Tom McCartin – 2

Led the game in one percenters, intercepts and spoils, and took two contested marks amongst his four for the match, but sadly his game on the biggest stage was littered with errors. Dropped marks, horrible turnovers leading to goals, and a pretty substantial bath applied by Tom Hawkins.

 

[22] Nick Blakey – 3

Shutting down his line-breaking ability would’ve been one of the major strategic objectives the Cats’ brains trust would have aimed to achieve, and they succeeded spectacularly. Blakey gained possession 15 times, down on his season average of 19, but he was held to just 159m gained, which was more than 270m down on his average as the Cats didn’t allow him any space to work.

 

[44] Jake Lloyd – 4

Lloyd is another swan with a poor historical Grand Final record that belies his career output, and while he was ok yesterday with a neat 18 disposals at just under 80% efficiency, he didn’t provide any drive, only involved in one scoring chain and partly responsible for the small cat forwards having a collective picnic.

 

[39] Paddy McCartin – 2

What would have been the fairy-tale story had the Swans been successful instead turned into a nightmare. McCartin could not access the ball often enough to take advantage of his contested marking and strong spoiling, only contributing one and two respectively for the match. Was moved forward late and kicked a goal. Still a wonderful redemption story and young enough to still impact a final series.

 

[27] Justin McInerney – 1

Clearly underdone with an ankle injury and another fumble of the Swans selection committee. The young gun is a future star, but not as impactful this season as last when he tag-teamed successfully with Jordan Dawson. Just seven touches and one score involvement in a forgettable outing.

 

[21] Errol Gulden – 4

Another of the Swans’ prime movers was worked over by the disciplined Cats structure. Had 14 touches and three tackles, but was unable to contribute in score involvements and delivery I50 as he typically would.

 

[1] Chad Warner – 9

The reflex reaction was to downplay Warner’s game after collecting 12 touches in the dead rubber final term, but the fact of the matter is that the 39-gamer went toe to toe with a vastly superior midfield single-handedly and stood tall for the entire day. If you discount his 3 clearances in the final stanza, he still finished third on the day in this metric. He kicked 2 superb long goals, finished 1 contested possession behind Dangerfield and added a direct goal assist, along with 22 pressure acts as well in a stunning match.

 

[14] Callum Mills – 3

One of the Swans co-captains and likely Bob Skilton Medallist was well down on his usual and expected output against the Cats. The bigger bodies of Dangerfield, Blicavs and Guthrie overwhelmed him, and he just couldn’t get a foot in the door of the contest. Kicked a great long goal to perhaps give his team a small sniff in the second term, but a relentless opposition quickly extinguished that.

 

[5] Isaac Heeney – 3

11 disposals and one goal weren’t enough from the potential matchwinner, and while six tackles and two clearances indicated not an entirely wasted afternoon, without a greater output from their star utility it was always going to be an uphill battle.

 

[20] Sam Reid – 1

Enjoyed an extremely positive season driving the Swans back up the ladder, but never should have played in this game due to a pre-existing groin injury. Had no core strength to leap or hold his ground in marking contests and was rendered ineffective with just four handballs to show in just over 2 quarters of game time before Longmire conceived his selection mistake.

 

[9] Will Hayward – 3

Started brightly with five touches and an excellent roving goal to put the Swans on the board in the first term, but faded badly, only able to muster six further disposals and absolutely no impact

 

[11] Tom Papley – 5

Well covered by Jed Bews, but one of the few Bloods who never stopped trying. Contributed twenty disposals and four clearances as he was one of the few effective Swans in the centre square contest, along with an equal team-high six score involvements, his wayward 1.2 indicative of wasted opportunities.

 

[23] Lance Franklin – 1

Probably only his stature in the game made it impossible to give him a zero for this match, but it was an absolute shocker. After a starring role in their rousing Prelim win last week, Lance was unable to muster the same heroics and contributed just five disposals at 60% and one miserable behind. 2022 will always be remembered for his elevation to the 1,000-goal club though.

 

[4] Ryan Clarke – 7

The former-Kangaroo stuck to his task despite the fierce pressure applied and kept Cat star Tom Stewart relatively quiet. Was able to contribute 14 touches, three tackles and a direct goal assist himself as he reinvented himself as a vital cog in Longmire’s rising team.

 

[31] Tom Hickey – 3

Unfortunately for Hickey after two great seasons, he was roundly smashed by Geelong’s unconventional ruck duo of Blicavs and Stanley. Helped his team with six of his 21 hot outs going to advantage, but five of his 13 disposals resulted in turnovers. Another player in red and white overwhelmed by the Cats’ strategic masterpiece.

 

[26] Luke Parker – 7

Was one of the most prolific Swans with 23 disposals, but only 1 in the third term when they needed everything to go their way. Led the game with a massive 14 tackles and 34 pressure acts, eight and 12 respectively above his next highest competitor.

 

[8] James Rowbottom – 6

One of the few Swans to take it up to the Cats in the early going and kept putting his body on the line despite the weight of numbers resembling an avalanche at times. Eight clearances, six tackles and a goal assist allow him to walk into his exit interview with his head held high.

 

[42] Robbie Fox – 8

Dubbed Fantastic Mr Fox by Jimmy Day last weekend, I’d suggest Roald Dahl might have chosen a myriad of other superlatives, sensational, magnificent, wonderful after witnessing his all-round performance on Jeremy Cameron. While the Cat superstar was able to get off the leash late after the horse (or should that be cow) had well and truly bolted, Fox collected a career-high 26 disposals at 93% efficiency, driving his team forward for 402m and being a surprise packet star for his side.

 

[13] Oliver Florent – 2

The clever Swan was unable to impact the game at all, and only gathered a solitary touch in the first term while the result was up for grabs. Playing behind and wide of the ball, he should have been able to find space to run and carry but wasn’t up for the fight on this occasion.

 

[2] Hayden McLean – 3

Took a spectacular one-handed mark at the top of the goal square and set up Heeney for a goal with a neat pass inside F50, but otherwise looked like a player who hadn’t been in the senior side since round 8.

 

[3] Dylan Stephens – 3

Lacked the assuredness by hand and foot from the past few weeks, and only eight of his dozen possessions were effective. Broke into the team later in the season and the early draft pick has a bright future ahead of him.

 

Medi-Sub [16] Braeden Campbell – 2

Only able to contribute four touches and two tackles in 35% game time after being inserted to replace Sam Reid. Hard to get involved in a game that was already over for all intents and purposes by that time but disappointing all the same.

 

 

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