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Aussie Rules: The takeaways from the GF as Cats reign supreme

Geelong capped a superb 2022 AFL season by cruising to a comfortable 81-point grand final victory over the Sydney Swans in a one-sided affair at the MCG on Saturday.

A Geelong victory came as no surprise as they have been the best team in the comp all season, however the manner of the victory and the ease at which they did it, was.

Sydney have also been one of the strongest teams in the AFL this season. They finished third on the ladder after all and went in to the grand final on the back of eight straight wins.

However they had a nightmare day and were on the back foot from almost the first kick as the Cats completely dominated.

The game was pretty much over at quarter-time. Sydney trailed by 35 points and needed to come out firing. But it was the Cats that did just that as they ran away with the game.

Geelong deserve nothing less. Since winning their last flag in 2011 they have been one of the most consistent sides in the AFL. They have made finals on a regular basis but have come up short on each occasion.

On Saturday they got their rewards for sticking at it and coming back even stronger in 2022.

So what were the big takeaways from the 2022 grand final.

Chris Scott got the big call right

Before a ball was even kicked, coach Chris Scott made a huge decision that played a part in Geelong going on to win the grand final.

He made the brutal call to leave wingman Max Holmes out of the side as he felt he was not fit enough to take to the pitch in such a huge game.

Holmes has been outstanding all season but had been nursing a hamstring injury all week and was touch and go. Had it been any other game then Scott may have played him, but he was not willing to take a gamble in such a big game.

Especially when he has a squad blessed with plenty of talent and strength in depth. It was a decision that paid off as Geelong got the job done.

"Our medical staff are elite, and they got him to the point against all odds where he probably could have played,” Scott told reporters after the game.

"The decision was nuanced, but we just thought with quality players like Brandan Parfitt and Sam Menegola and Mark O'Connor there, we just couldn't take the risk and put the rest of the team in jeopardy.”

John Longmire admits he got his call wrong

While Geelong got it spot on with Max Holmes by leaving him out, the Swans did the opposite and took a gamble on injured star Sam Reid.

Like Holmes, Reid was battling for fitness all week after picking up an adductor injury in the preliminary final win over Collingwood.

Reid is a hugely important player to the Swans and Longmire opted to put him in the side. It back-fired as he did not look at all comfortable and ended up lasting until just before half-time before being subbed off.

"We were obviously confident, that's why we picked him, but we made a mistake," Longmire said. "Personally, you feel like you've let a lot of people down.

"You let your players down, you let your supporters down, you let your staff down, you let your board down. That's how you feel."

Experience won the day

The experience in the Geelong side was another key factor to their victory. Joel Selwood has played in more that 40 finals games and was outstanding in the victory.

Norm Smith medal winner Isaac Smith is another. He became the oldest player in the history of the grand final to scoop the award for best on ground.

But he had already won three premierships while with Hawthorn. Patrick Dangerfield won his first premiership on Saturday but is another player with experience and it showed.

John Longmire admitted as much after the game when saying his young side were overawed by the grand scale of the occasion.

"They had 12 players 29 and over, it was an experienced, hardened team as you'll come up against and they handled it that way.” Longmire added.

"We didn't. we didn't have our heads in the game from the very start. We weren't able to think clearly or perform at that level we should have."

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