Geelong’s last premiership captain Cameron Ling has declared Joel Selwood as the greatest captain this club’s ever had.
Speaking on the To The Final Bell Podcast, Ling said Selwood, who’s due to play game 300 this week, was peerless when it comes to captaining the Cats.
“Joel’s the greatest captain this club’s ever had.” Ling said.
“Tom Harley, two-time premiership captain, Reg Hickey, obviously an absolute legend of this football club, Freddie Wooller, Fred Flanagan, all legends, no question, but Joel is the greatest.”
Fellow panellist and former teammate of Selwood, Mathew Stokes, said there was something different about Joel as a leader.
“Joel had this look in his eye in a game and it’s just ‘get on my shoulders and I’ll do the rest, follow me’, and he drove me so many times just with the sheer lock in his eyes before a game.” Stokes said.
“There’s been games where it’s on the line and you just look at Joel and you just knew that we were going to get through because of his grit.”
But the evidence doesn’t just lie with the testimonies of his teammates.
Whilst his 189 games as captain comfortably sits him atop the longest serving captain in club history, he will also draw this week in sixth spot for most VFL/AFL games as captain with Matthew Pavlich.
And there’s no reason why Selwood can’t continue in his current vein of form and set his sights on claiming the top spot from Stephen Kernahan on 226 games.
Upcoming milestones:— Patrick Keane (@AFL_PKeane) June 28, 2020
Joel Selwood to captain 190th game, draw level Pavlich 6th spot all time most games as a club captain.
This is only possible due to the fact Selwood was entrusted with the leadership of his club at the age of 23. Some of the club’s most revered players and leaders including Corey Enright, Jimmy Bartel, Matthew Scarlett, Steve Johnson and Paul Chapman had all of a sudden gone from Selwood’s idols to the men he’d lead out onto the field.
But it isn’t just his club that Selwood has been entrusted with leading.
As a 17-year-old bottom-ager in the AFL/AIS Academy he was selected to captain the side to take on Ireland. The incredible part was that three top age players in the side, Marc Murphy, Josh Kennedy and Shannon Hurn would all go onto become AFL club captains, as would fellow bottom-ager Nathan Jones.
Selwood’s junior career wasn’t the end of his representative captaincy honours. His three selections as All Australian captain in 2013, 2014 and 2016 is second only to former North Melbourne captain Wayne Carey’s four selections.
The one final piece to officially crown Joel Selwood as the game’s greatest ever captain will be the addition of premiership captain on his long list of achievements.