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Opinion

AFL grand final player ratings: Geelong Cats

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24th October, 2020
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The Geelong Cats came close to causing an upset in the AFL grand final, but ultimately fell five goals short as the Tigers won their third premiership in four years.

Here’s how each of the Cats rated in the decider.

Jed Bews: 4/10
A fairly quiet night for Bews. Certainly wasn’t the Cats’ worst, but was a long way off being their best.

Harry Taylor: 7
In what was probably the last game of the veteran’s career, Taylor’s influence on the match was evident by how little of the ball Tom Lynch got. The Tigers spearhead only got the ball once in the first half, and finished the match with just one major.

Harry Taylor and Tom Lynch

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Jake Kolodjashnij: 5
Played a part in a couple of Cats scores, but will be remembered more than anything else for being on the wrong end of a Dustin Martin fend as the Tigers superstar kicked the game-turning goal at the end of the second term.

Lachie Henderson: 4
Kept Jack Riewoldt very quiet in the first half but, like so many teammates, dropped away in the second. Was caught out of position a number of times, and Riewoldt had a considerable influence after the major break.

Mark Blicavs: 3
Only three marks for the entire game for Blicavs, and the accuracy of some of his handballs was well below par, putting the Cats under pressure at the wrong end of the field.

Tom Stewart: 7
One of only three Cats to finish the game with 20 or more disposals, and gained a massive 624 metres.

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Mitch Duncan: 7
At halftime, Duncan was the best aground with 16 touches and a crucial goal from a tough set-shot. His influence dropped away after the break during the Tigers’ surge.

Joel Selwood: 8
A typically busy performance from the Cats skipper. Did all the dirty work in close, finishing with five tackles and six clearances, and only Duncan got more of the ball than him.

Sam Menegola: 7
Wasn’t far off being the Cats’ best. He only touched the ball 13 times, but used it well when he got it and his two goals were crucial.

Luke Dahlhaus: 5
Dahlhaus threw himself into every contest, but at times to his own team’s detriment. His decision to make a grab at what would have been a chest mark for Tom Hawkins in the second term was a shocker.

Gary Rohan: 2
Another rough outing in a grand final for Rohan. Hardly got the ball, and mistimed a number of marking attempts.

Gryan Miers: 5
Kicked a crucial goal in the third but also butchered one which could have helped make the game Geelong’s in the second, and produced a poor option going forward in the fourth when he decided to kick deep instead of hitting a target.

Gryan Miers of the Cats celebrates

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Mark O’Connor: 5
A fairly quiet night, but O’Connor did pick off five intercepts throughout the night.

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Tom Hawkins: 4
The focal point of Geelong’s forward line was well held by Noah Balta. Hawkins finished with just the one goal and three marks, not anywhere near the impact the Cats needed from their main man up front.

Gary Ablett: 7
Only in 2020 would such a superstar of the game be hobbled by injury in the opening minutes of his final game. Despite clearly playing through some serious pain after dislocating his shoulder, Ablett nonetheless played a key role in two Cats goals, his silky handball in the second one final reminder of the little master’s class.

Gary Ablett and Daniel Rioli

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Rhys Stanley: 6
The ruck battle between Stanley and Toby Nankervis was fairly even, but the Cat still had a good game. Was at fault for Martin’s fourth goal, but the game was lost for Geelong by then.

Patrick Dangerfield: 4
Dangerfield’s eight touches in the first half belied his influence when Geelong were on top, but he dropped away badly in the second – although some of the blame needs to be sent Chris Scott’s way for that. He got his hands on the ball just once in the third term after being thrown forward, and didn’t quite look up to the pace of the game when thrust back in the middle. Finished with his fewest disposals of any game this season.

Cam Guthrie: 6
Kicked the Cats’ first with a booming effort and was very good before the main break. Like his team, couldn’t follow it up with a comparable performance in the last two quarters.

Jack Henry: 6
Was one of the Cats’ best at picking off Richmond passes, finishing with equal-team-high seven intercepts alongside Taylor.

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Brandan Parfitt: 6
Didn’t get a lot of the ball, but applied plenty of pressure and finished with a team-high seven tackles.

Zach Tuohy: 4
Tuohy’s penetrating kick has hurt many an opposition team in the past, but the Irishman didn’t have much of an influence on proceedings at the Gabba.

Sam Simpson: 4
Didn’t do a hell of a lot with the ball when he got it, but the youngster showed incredible courage to leap into a contest midway through the fourth. Unfortunately, that collision with Menegola ended the Simpson’s night early.

Written by Daniel Jeffrey and Stirling Coates