AFL Grand Final: Geelong Cats Preview – Line-Up Predictions, Stats, Betting & Odds 

Over the past 15 years, Geelong have enjoyed a period of sustained high-level performance like no other team in the modern era. Since beginning a run that saw them win three Grand Finals in five years between 2007 and 2011, they’ve made the preliminary final in no less than 12 of the past 16 seasons – an unprecedented run in a league with as many equalisation measures as the AFL. Since that 2011 win, however, that consistent presence at the pointy end of the season hasn’t translated into any more silverware; prior to this season, they had lost five of their past six preliminary finals, while that solitary victory resulted in a Grand Final loss to Richmond in 2020. This weekend, they’ll get a great opportunity to flip that trend on its head and win the club’s tenth Premiership, and in this preview we’ll take you through all of the important information you need to know about the team in the lead up to the Grand Final.  


Geelong’s Journey to the Grand Final

The aging list with which Geelong entered this season was viewed by many as likely to be an impediment to their Premiership chances. For any side with as many players over the age of 30 as they have, immediate success is clearly the plan, and for the Cats criticism was always going to come thick and fast if they struggled. And nine rounds into the season, that criticism was beginning to mount. Their start to the season wasn’t terrible, but a 5-4 record for a team which was clearly intending to compete for a flag in 2022 wasn’t ideal, and losses to Hawthorn, Fremantle and St. Kilda within the space of five weeks had many questioning their Premiership credentials. 


From that point onwards, however, things took a sharp turn for the better. It started with a 35-point defeat of Port Adelaide in Round 10, and incredibly they haven’t lost since. They ended the home and away season with an 18-4 record, two games clear atop the ladder and with comfortably the best percentage in the league, entering the finals as the clear Premiership favourite as a result.


Their qualifying final didn’t go exactly as planned, with the plucky Magpies jumping them early in a game that ultimately went down to the wire. But pivotal efforts in key moments from a number of Cats – most notably the much-maligned Gary Rohan – saw them creep into a preliminary final with a six-point win. That preliminary final turned out to be a far easier assignment; welcoming Brisbane to the MCG, they were dominant from the outset of the game, and went on to win by 71 points to march into their second Grand Final in three years.  


Geelong Grand Final Team News

Geelong have very little to complain about in terms of the health of their list, with virtually their best 22 likely to be available for Grand Final Day. The biggest concern will centre around Max Holmes, who injured a hamstring in the Cats’ dominant preliminary final win over Brisbane. Clearly a hamstring injury isn’t something which can typically be returned from within a week, but scans were less severe than expected and his chances of playing have grown exponentially over the early stages of the week. Though the 21-year-old might be a little way down the pecking order in terms of Geelong’s most important players, he has developed into a key part of their system this year and his performance up until the injury in the third quarter last week was indicative of that.


Geelong Grand Final Preview

Since Round 10, when their current run of 15 consecutive victories began, the Cats have been clinical all across the park. They ended the home and away season in third for both points for, and points against, though they were within a handful of points of top spot in both those categories. For a long time criticisms of the team have centred around their slow ball movement and subsequent inability to score in big games – hence their run of preliminary final defeats – but this year, they have been substantially more dynamic with ball in hand.


They are only an average clearance and contested possession side, though they have maintained the ability to control the ball once they have it – ranking sixth in uncontested possessions per game. And, pivotally, this year, the way they move it is second to none. They accumulate more inside 50s per game than any team in the league, and with one of the most dangerous forward lines in the AFL that typically spells danger for the opposition. Courtesy largely of their key forward duo of Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron, they also rank first for marks inside 50 – and by some margin, racking up 14.9 per game, nearly two more than any other side.


The midfield battle is where a lot of games are won and lost and it will once again be pivotal in this clash, but Geelong don’t need to dominate in that area of the field to win this game. Defensively, they are more than capable of holding firm even if they’re losing in the guts, and if they get the ball forward enough – something they typically don’t have much of a problem doing – it will be very hard for the Swans to stop them from putting up a score.


Geelong Predicted Line Up

FB: Zach Tuohy, Sam De Koning, Jed Bews

HB: Jake Kolodjashnij, Jack Henry, Tom Stewart

C: Isaac Smith, Mark Blicavs, Max Holmes

HF: Brad Close, Jeremy Cameron, Mitch Duncan

FF: Tyson Stengle, Tom Hawkins, Gary Rohan

Fol: Rhys Stanley, Patrick Dangerfield, Cameron Guthrie

IC: Joel Selwood, Tom Atkins, Gryan Miers, Zach Guthrie


Geelong Player to Watch

There are plenty of players who will play a pivotal role in the Cats chances on Saturday, but one of the most important might be Patrick Dangerfield. The Brownlow Medallist and eight-time All Australian is now 32 years of age and not as consistently damaging as he was in his heyday, but at his best he is still more than capable of turning a game on its head. Given they won by 71 points they might not have needed it as much as they probably will this week, but last week was a prime example of how good he can be, as he accumulated 28 touches, kicked two goals, and was adjudged best afield by both coaches. In his 15th season, this is his best opportunity yet to claim that elusive Premiership medal, and his performance might have a significant say in whether he ends the day with that medal around his neck.


Geelong Notable Stats

  • Having now played two finals, Geelong’s Tom Hawkins sits tied with Charlie Curnow for the most goals in the league this year with 64, while Jeremy Cameron is just one goal behind with 63.
  • Hawkins also leads the league in score involvements per game, and comfortably, while Cameron is in third.
  • Patrick Dangerfield sits fourth in the league for centre clearances per game in 2022.
  • Tom Stewart averages 8.9 intercept possessions per game, behind only the Giants’ Sam Taylor for most per game.


What is Geelong’s Record Like in Grand Finals?

In the 125 years since the beginning of the VFL/AFL, Geelong has competed in 18 Grand Finals and won nine of them for a Grand Final record of 9-9.


Geelong vs Sydney Head to Head

The Cats and the Swans have played one another on 228 occasions, with the Cats winning 125 of those and the Swans 103. Since the Swans, formerly South Melbourne, relocated to Sydney, they’ve played on 69 occasions; the Cats lead the count too, boasting a 40-29 record in those games. 


Geelong Betting Markets

Take a look at the odds for some of the most popular betting markets relating to Geelong for the Grand Final below:

Geelong to win outright$1.48

Geelong -12.5$1.91

Geelong to win by 1-39 points $2.09

Geelong to win by 40+ points – $4.40


Geelong Grand Final Tips


Patrick Dangerfield to have 25+ possessions @ $2.25 

Dangerfield will come into this game with his tail wagging after a strong performance last weekend, and will be eager to put his imprint on it from the beginning. He hasn’t surpassed this total the majority of the weeks this season, but with everything on the line and after a disappointing showing in his first and only Grand Final against Richmond in 2020, expect him to come out all guns blazing and have a big impact on this game.


Tyson Stengle to kick 3+ goals @ $3.70 

Tyson Stengle has had an extraordinary year, earning his inaugural All-Australian jacket in one of the most rapid rises to stardom in recent memory. This will be his first Grand Final so the prospect of him being overawed is certainly worth considering, but it hasn’t seemed to be an issue so far; he kicked three goals in last week’s preliminary final, making it three of his past four games in which he’s done so, and at $3.70 he appears decent value in this market.


**Odds quoted are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.