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Geelong 2009 Premiers

published  First Published: 26/09/2009
Article written by: News Editor: Nigel Brookson
Paul Chapman kicked a late goal to break a tense deadlock, before Max Rooke added a major after the final siren to confirm a 12.8 (80) to 9.14 (68) win.
Geelong trailed for the majority of the match, but its experience from having played in two straight grand finals previous to this one told in a thrilling final quarter.
Geelong's win makes amends for a crushing loss to Hawthorn 12 months ago but adds to its demolition of Port Adelaide in 2007 to confirm its status as the dominant AFL side of the modern era.
Shattered St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt delivered an apology message to the club's crestfallen fans, whose wait for a second AFL premiership will continue beyond 43 years.
AFL Season 2009 Grand Final.
Saturday 26th September 2009
Played at the MCG
St Kilda
Leading Goal Kickers:
St Kilda: Schneider 2, Goddard, Hayes, Koschitzke, Jones, Dempster, Riewoldt, Montagna
Geelong: Chapman 3, Mooney 2, Hawkins 2, Rooke 2, Selwood, Byrnes, Ablett
Umpires: McBurney, Rosebury and Ryan
Crowd Attendance: 99,251
Quarter by Quarter Results
1st Quarter
2nd Quarter
3rd Quarter
4th Quarter
Final Points
St Kilda
Winning Margin 12 points. Geelong's Paul Chapman was the Norm Smith medalist with 3 goals and 26 touches.
"It's been a long time, and we gave it our best this year and today and you should be proud of your players," he said at the post-match presentation.
"To our boys, just remember how much this hurts, bottle it and use it to motivate you," Riewoldt added of the Saints' third consecutive grand final loss (1971, 1997, 2009).
Chapman's contribution was inspiational, despite hamstring concerns; a brilliant snap for his second major in the third quarter kept the Cats in it after they trailed by seven, before his match-winner at the death followed a booming inside 50 from Brownlow Medallist Gary Ablett.
"Well done boys, people have counted us out all year but we've bounced back and we really deserved this. Well done," Chapman said.
Ablett himself was superb with 25 deliberate touches of the football adding to a goal and six tackles, while Harry Taylor did brilliantly to restrict Riewoldt to 1.1 and five marks.
Heart-breaking loss
The loss is heart-breaking for a St Kilda side which had lost just twice previously in 2009, and which led by a whisker at every change in a contest that lived up to its billing as one of the grand finals of the decade.
For St Kilda, Lenny Hayes enjoyed a blinding first quarter in which he tallied 11 touches and a goal, while the impressive Jason Gram finished with a match-high 30 disposals.
Brendon Goddard was heroic, toiling with a suspected broken nose and a sore right shoulder for 21 touches and nine tackles, while Cats favourite Jimmy Bartel tackled the house down with 16 challenges.
Geelong would just not allow the Saints to kick clear at any stage, although at times St Kilda proved to be its own worst enemy with crucial errors.
Wasteful shots from Andrew McQualter, Adam Schneider and Stephen Milne robbed the Saints of three certain goals in the first half, while Zac Dawson handed Tom Hawkins a goal on a platter with a terrible attempt to clear from defence.
The young full-back struggled at points throughout the afternoon, perhaps overawed by the occasion with snubbed veteran Max Hudghton watching on in the stands.
Steven Baker was amongst St Kilda's best and did an outstanding job to completely starve 2007 Norm Smith medallist Steve Johnson of the ball in the first half.
Johnson, whose 2009 season has been blighted by hip problems, eventually finished with nine touches.
The Saints edged the Cats by a straight kick back in round 14 and had they been more accurate and ruthless with their opportunities, could have doubled their luck and added an AFL flag to their minor premiership.
Last year's grand final defeat perhaps stands between the Cats and the tag of the greatest side in the game's rich history, but they proved their experience and class to keep the Saints in check and sneak away late on.
"Footy sucks sometimes," Geelong coach Mark Thompson offered by way of consolation to St Kilda.


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