Anyone watching the jubilant Geelong side immediately after last Saturday night’s preliminary final win would have noticed a stony-faced Patrick Dangerfield among all of the blue and white celebrations.
Players all deal with these situations differently, but it was apparent that the 30-year-old was already thinking about the following week’s challenge. At least it looked that way.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Dangerfield confirmed as much when he said there’s an air of unfinished business about the group, despite the very real achievement of reaching a grand final in 2020 and all that has come with it.
“It’s one thing to get there,” he said. “It’s another thing to get there and win it.”
“While it’s enjoyable to be part of it all, the challenge is still very much ahead of us and one we’re really going to embrace.”
“I’ve got some great mates that have been in granny’s but haven’t been part of a successful side and it’s a really tough day to deal with, and ones they often refer to and think about.”
“It’s a great recognition of the group and our entire club that we’ve got this far but we’re not done yet.”
Standing in the way of Geelong bringing the premiership cup back from Queensland next week is Richmond, arguably, the best side in the competition over the past three years.
The Tigers took the long way to the Grand Final by losing their first up Qualifying Final, as did the Cats, but they will go into the game with some confidence, having put Geelong to the sword in Round 17 to the tune of 26 points.
The key to reversing the result, according Dangerfield, is to come out the gates quickly. The Cats were held to just three behinds in first quarter back in September.
“The main lesson is you have to start well against the great sides if you want to beat them,” Dangerfield said.
“The games where we haven’t played well this year, we haven’t started well. You cannot give away a start like that to a team like Richmond.”
The Cats are coming into the decider with confidence, having performed well over the past fortnight, disposing of a red-hot Collingwood and flag-fancies, Brisbane.
“They (Richmond) have been the benchmark, the pinnacle of excellence over the last four years, so the challenges are ahead of us,” Dangerfield told the Herald Sun.
“They are a wonderful side. We have to be at our best to compete with them, and I am confident we can do that.”