For the second time this year Geelong has fought back from a final quarter deficit to win a thriller at the MCG on a milestone occasion.
The first came in Round 3 when the Cats overcame a 30-point deficit to defeat Collingwood on a night where Joel Selwood became the most capped skipper in the history of our game.
On that occasion 19-year-old Max Holmes was named in the best and again last night it was Geelong’s younger brigade that helped overturn a 17-point final term deficit to record a thrilling three-point victory in Jeremy Cameron’s 200th game.
Chris Scott highlighted post-game game that this is a different side but one very much with the self belief that we've been accustomed too during his tenure as senior coach.
"We are a different team to the one we were even a couple of years ago and I think we will be different again by the end of the year, but we are building a bit of depth in there and it gives us enough confidence that if nothing else, if the game is going against us, we are not going to turn up our toes," Scott said post-game.
Four of Geelong’s top five ranked players on the ground were developing players with Tom Atkins, Tyson Stengle, Sam De Koning and Jack Henry each standing up in pivotal moments.
None more so than the match winning play when Atkins won the clearance, Stengle drove it deep inside 50 and Henry flew high to take an excellent mark and give the Cats the lead with a minute left on the clock.
Atkins set the tone for the Cats with his work ethic and relentless attack on the footy and opponent. He finished the game ranked first for centre clearances (6), pressure acts (29), ground ball gets (9) and equal first for Geelong (second overall) for contested possessions (13).
In his first game since Round 5, Henry impressed in his comeback for the Cats with two goals from 10 disposals after finding out he’d be starting in attack 20 minutes out from the first bounce after Gary Rohan fell ill in the warmup.
Stengle was another Cat who produced an eye-catching display in Geelong’s front half with three-goals from 18 disposals. The 23-year-old now has kicked at least three goals on seven occasions this season.
At the other end of the ground, De Koning had some nice moments too playing on one of the star key forwards in the competition in Tom Lynch. The 21-year-old had 12 intercept possessions and a team-high five spoils.
We've all been accustomed to watching the likes of Joel Selwood, Tom Hawkins, Patrick Dangerfield and Mitch Duncan own the big moments and know they will again, but to see the next generation of emerging players stand up in finals like intensity bodes well for what's to come this year and in the future.