Geelong’s round eight clash against Richmond falls around a special anniversary – the weekend a premiership dynasty was born.
Geelong was nearly unstoppable on its way to the premiership from there, but things were far from rosy at the Cattery leading up to the game.
“We were clearly under the pump, after a bad loss to North Melbourne at home,” Geelong premiership player Cameron Mooney told The Inner Sanctum.
The catalyst for the dramatic form shift was what Mooney described as a “heart to heart chat” after the match against North Melbourne.
And, as he continued, what was said in the rooms was far from easy to swallow.
“There were a couple of shots fired at a couple of players, a couple of home truths… [the talk] was just the players.
“We told the coaches to get out. That was really the catalyst for us.”
Nothing extraordinary was expected from Geelong that Sunday night, an ordinary home and away match against Richmond. On that night, Mooney said, it “just clicked.”
“It was quite incredible,” he said.
“We had a lot of talent, a lot of ability, but there was just something missing… and in one game, it all came together.
“We just played this unbelievable brand of football.”
At half time, Geelong led by 107 points after a 20 goal first half.
By that point, Mooney knew they would have a big win, and it just kept getting bigger from there.
“By the last, we said, ‘we might get 200 here,’” he said.
“Which is something that obviously none of us have ever been involved in.
“It was great for us it was bad for Richmond… they definitely weren’t the club they are today.
“[As] soon as we got our hands on the ball, I felt like we scored every time.”
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A whopping 15 out of 22 players scored at least one goal for Geelong, and two more registered a score.
“It was just one of those nights, where everyone was on,” Mooney said.
There were two players who were on more than any others that night – the Ablett brothers.
Gary and Nathan Ablett combined for seven goals, Gary coming away with the three Brownlow votes in a best-on-ground performance.
Mooney was always happy to see the pair in full flight, continuing a Geelong dynasty.
“It was always good to see Gaz at full flight,” he said.
“Nath, was still this up-and-coming young talented key forward, to watch him get on the scoresheet was fantastic.
“[And] to watch Stevie Johnson, get on the score sheet, Andrew Mackie kicked a few from half back. Everyone got a piece.”
After making a statement that no one could ignore, Geelong never looked back, and the premiership dynasty was born.
Looking back, Mooney believes that it wasn’t the game alone that was the catalyst, citing the heart-to heart of the week before that sparked the next few seasons.
“We found a way to tell each other things that we didn’t like about what they were doing, without offending them,” he said.
“People were telling me things, and it was ‘this isn’t personal it was about making you better for the team.’
“Once we took that onboard, that’s really when the catalyst started.”
The game against the Tigers was more about what it meant for the club going forward for the remainder of the year.
“It was more about getting the ball rolling in the right direction, that’s what that game means to me,” he said
“We could have spoken about what we spoke about the week before and gone out there and played ordinary football. Once again, all talk no action.
“The fact that we were all talk and all action, I think was the most important thing for us.
“And to go on to win three premierships in five years, you can take it back to that weekend.”
After a narrow loss to Sydney, Geelong has a chance to get its season back on track against Richmond on Friday night, just like it did 14 years ago to begin a dynasty like few others.
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