Geelong’s deputy mayor has given the Swans plenty of motivation by revealing the city is already planning a big final victory parade ahead of the teams’ clash in the biggest game of the year on Saturday.
In a statement sure to go down like a lead balloon among Sydney’s players and fans, Trent Sullivan told Channel Seven’s Sunrise program that the Cats’ hometown is preparing to claim a Premiership win a full five days before the first center bounce to celebrate at the MCG.
“There will be a Cats holiday on the Sunday after the grand final, and I even let you know that we are already planning our big final victory parade through the streets of Geelong,” the deputy mayor told Seven’s Edwina Bartholomew on Monday morning.
While the Cats are hot favorites to win their 10th Premier League, teams are almost always very careful not to give the impression that they take a big final win for granted – but it seems Sullivan didn’t get the memo.
Both teams will have a hectic week of big final signings, with Cats coach Chris Scott admitting he used to prefer escaping the hype when he was a player but has very different advice for his team now.
“I thought 30 years ago or whenever it was that you could just isolate yourself from the week and just treat it like another week,” Scott told reporters.
“If that was possible then, it’s impossible now.
“You have almost no choice but to embark on what is the right path anyway.
“It’s so hard to get into this situation.
“The only way to screw it up is to try to hide from it I guess, so embrace the moment.”
Geelong fielded the oldest 22 starting XI in AFL/VFL history in the provisional finals win over Brisbane and have significantly more finals experience than the Swans.
This Cats team went into the penultimate week of the season with 339 combined finals games, compared to Sydney’s 142 before their thrilling one-point win over Collingwood.
Geelong will field about 14 players in the grand final who played Richmond in the 2020 season decider, and Sydney will select about half that number from their last grand final of 2016.
But Swans manager John Longmire has no qualms about his younger side’s ability to handle the opportunity.
It’s been enhanced this year with the return of the Grand Finals to its traditional home at the MCG for the first time in three years, with more than 100,000 fans expected.
“A lot of these guys had never played a pre-final, let alone a grand final, so they’re experiencing it for the first time,” Longmire said at his Saturday night post-game press conference.
“It was hot (against Collingwood) as it was against Melbourne (in the qualifiers).
“That’s what this time of year is all about, experiencing this really red-hot pressure.
“I thought our guys generally handled it well (against Collingwood).
“This week is just going to be a reminder to get our fundamentals good and get our fundamentals right in the game.
“That’s what we’re going to focus on.”
Sydney scheduled an event at the SCG for Sunday night’s Brownlow medal count. They will travel to Melbourne on Thursday.
The two sides will converge on Friday for the grand closing parade in Melbourne before meeting at the MCG in the traditional Saturday afternoon timeslot.