17/04/2024
Like the previous player to wear number 29 at the Cats, Cam Guthrie has the chance to play in a premiership alongside his brother Zach.

A long-haired Geelong midfielder wearing number 29 once won a premiership with his taller, younger, key position playing brother. In 2007 that was Gary and Nathan Ablett. This weekend, Cam and Zach Guthrie will aim to replicate them.

“It’s very special,” Cam Guthrie told The Inner Sanctum.

“I can’t believe it is happening in a way, and we’ll be out there Saturday fighting tooth and nail to bring it home.”

Both players will have enjoyed excellent seasons. For Cam, it is just one of many in a career that has seen him develop into an All-Australian midfielder. For Zach, 2022 has seen him start to reach the potential that Geelong insiders always saw in him.

Both players have had a noticeable influence on the finals series. Cam’s dash and long kick off half back helped seal the qualifying final against Collingwood. In the Preliminary final, Zach was impassable in defence. He later drifted upfield to set up one goal and kick another.

The brothers also traded handballs in a flowing move that swept the ball from defence to the forward pocket for Tyson Stengle to goal.

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It is a rarity in the modern game for brothers to play on the same team, even more so to line up in a Grand Final. Geelong coach Chris Scott won a premiership with his twin brother with Brisbane, and at Geelong, Gary and Nathan Ablett helped deliver the 2007 premiership.

What makes the Guthries stand out is their age difference. Cam was drafted in 2011, and Zach in 2017.  They had played no football together until AFL level.

“We were six years apart, so it was a little bit tricky,” Guthrie said.

“Obviously I couldn’t play under 12s when I was 18. It probably doesn’t happen very often, even at local level to get into a Grand Final with a family member.

“Zach and I are really close so I can’t wait for it on Saturday.”

Taking the field is an honour that the Guthries will share with childhood friend Mark Blicavs. The versatile Cat has been one of Geelong’s best weapons in 2022.

Like Zach Guthrie, he was originally rookie listed at Geelong, and has worked his way into becoming a key player.

“I think our families are very proud of us,” Cam said.

“We’re good family friends with the Blicavs’.

“I remember going to their place as kids, mucking around on the tennis court, and going to their house Grand Final day and watching.

“To be able to run out with Zach and Mark on Saturday in a Grand Final in front of our families is pretty cool.”

When the Cats meet Sydney on Saturday, Cam Guthrie expects a tough game with plenty of excitement, which in his words is “exactly how we want it”.

After a 71-point thrashing of Brisbane in the preliminary final, there are no concerns that Geelong might be vulnerable to a more battle hardened Swans.

Guthrie says that the one sided scoreboard can be deceptive. The Lions were no easy task.

“Sometimes it might visually look like that but it was a tough game, and our GPS numbers were up there with what we usually put out,” he admitted.

“We still had to work hard to put the game away, and Brisbane are a quality opposition.

“It was nice we could kind of enjoy the last 10 minutes knowing that we were going to go through to the Grand Final.

“We still played the game out. It was definitely Scotty’s message at three quarter time.

“We feel like we’ve been building good habits all year. We didn’t want to go away from that and flirt with our form.”

Embracing the week

The 2022 Grand Final will be the third of Cam Guthrie’s career. He was an emergency in 2011 when the Cats won, but a star of the side in their 2020 loss to Richmond.

This one seems more enjoyable for the Geelong players and fans. Unlike 2020, the team can really embrace the atmosphere around the match.

“We feel like we get to really enjoy the week and enjoy the extra stuff,” Guthrie said.

“It’s such a great time to be in this town, it’s an exciting time, the weather’s coming good an there’s definitely a buzz around it.

“Just being able to have our fans around is a big one as well.”

Soaking up the festivities has not distracted Geelong from the challenge ahead. Their 16th consecutive win would deliver a 10th flag to the club. Sydney is one of the few sides to beat it in 2022.

“We don’t want it easy, we want to scrap and fight for everything we get,” Guthrie said.

“I feel like our year has been set up for this moment, so we go in confident.”

From playing in the backyard with the Blicavs’ to running out onto the MCG for a Grand Final, it has been a special journey for Cam and Zach Guthrie.

If it results in a premiership on Saturday it will be a historic one. 

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