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Throwback Thursday: Menzel's star on the rise

Menzel announced himself in round 24 against the Pies.  - Geelong Cats,Daniel Menzel
Menzel announced himself in round 24 against the Pies.

The year is 2011 and the Cats are four games away from a third premiership in five years.

With just one game left in the home and away season and Geelong looking to bounce back from a round 23 loss to Sydney, the stage is set for a Friday Night blockbuster at the MCG against Collingwood.

Enter Daniel Menzel. The mercurial young forward had come into the game with some solid performances throughout the year, but nothing would compare to the game he was about to have.

Menzel had shown little snippets of his talent, with a three-goal haul in round two against Fremantle and a four-goal haul against St Kilda in round 13, but his five-goal haul against Collingwood confirmed that Geelong had something special in their midst.

Menzel was magical both in the air and on the ground as he led Geelong to a 96-point trouncing of Collingwood.

Menzel nailed Geelong’s first goal of the game late in the first term, before adding two more in the second and third quarters to have his first five-goal haul, with a quarter still to play.

In addition to his five-goals, Menzel hauled in 10 marks – three of which were contested and five inside 50s, highlighting his ability to play as an aerial target as well as a roving forward.

Cats Coach Chris Scott remembers a particular one-on-one contest fondly.

The youngster faced off with Brownlow medallist and Collingwood champion Dane Swan, in a ‘moment of arrival’ where the young Cat announced himself to the football world.

Menzel stood his ground and out-marked Swan, which lead to a Joel Selwood goal.

“Little things like that led us to believe we had something special”, Scott said to the Herald Sun after the game.

Menzel polled three Brownlow votes for his performance before injury struck the following week.

Trying to evade his Hawthorn opponent, Menzel’s knee got caught in the turf and twisted the wrong way, resulting in the first ACL rupture in his right knee.

It was the first of four knee injuries that Menzel would suffer in the space of three years, which would see him miss the 2011 Grand Final victory.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs