Party time as Cats finally lift the lid - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Party time as Cats finally lift the lid

By Guy Hand 29/09/2007 10:47:03 PM Comments (0)

Fittingly for an AFL club which hasn't won a premiership since Beatlemania was in its infancy, Geelong's grand final heroes and fans partied like rock stars.

With the town of Geelong in party mode, the 22 players who brought home the Cats' first premiership since 1963 first celebrated at a team function in Melbourne before heading back to Geelong to share their triumph with the faithful.

Geelong's players promised monster celebrations and skipper Tom Harley boldly declared his club could kick-start a winning era after the most lop-sided grand final win in AFL history.

Last year's under-performers completed their transition to the competition's benchmark with a remarkable display of running football to destroy Port Adelaide by 119 points and end the Cats' streak of five grand final defeats.

Harley said the seeds of this season's performance were sown at the end of last, with the players making a pact to perform for each other and regain respect lost in a dismal 2006.

With the Cats' oldest grand final player Darren Milburn aged 30, Harley believes the club can now embark on a Brisbane-like era of domination.

"We (the players) got together at the end of last year, and obviously we got dragged from pillar to post as a club, and we knew we were better than that," Harley said after the match.

"We've showed how good we are. We've had a stellar season and it's culminated today.

"It's probably redemption from last year but we'll be on a mission next year. We want to hopefully start an era."

After being introduced to fans at Melbourne's Federation Square, Harley led his team onto the stage at a club function at nearby Crown Casino to be feted by club sponsors and top-end fans.

But he promised the team would return to Geelong later in the evening to continue their celebrations with the team's rank-and-file supporters.

Harley said his team's sparkling football in the grand final to cap off a run in which they won 18 of the last 19 matches was a lesson to other AFL teams that attractive footy could get results.

"The VFL, the grand final, the Brownlow, we cleaned the pools and we'll go down as legends," Harley said.

"The way the boys played was the way footy should be played. I think the other 15 clubs will have a good look at what Geelong have done in 2007 and come chasing us."

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