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Joel's stunning season

01 Oct, 2007 10:41 PM
BENDIGO'S Joel Selwood enjoyed a fairytale ending to his stunning debut season with Geelong on Saturday.

In just his 21st game of AFL football, Selwood was a key part of the Geelong side that smashed Port Adelaide 24.19 (163) to 6.8 (44) in the grand final at the MCG.

Speaking to The Advertiser yesterday from Geelong's family day at Skilled

Stadium, Selwood described the feeling of having a premiership medallion around his neck after just one season with the Cats as surreal.

Selwood grew up barracking for Geelong, which took the star 19-year-old with selection seven at last year's national draft.

"I remember the days when I used to go down to

Geelong to watch the football and sit in the outer when the new grandstand wasn't there," Selwood said.

"To think that I was out there on Saturday and part of a premiership is just amazing and it's all still a bit surreal."

Selwood's premiership on Saturday came 12 months after his older brother, Adam, played in the West Coast Eagles' winning grand final side of 2006.Selwood, who started his career with St Therese's before progressing through to the Bendigo Pioneers, was among the well wishers in the West Coast rooms last year, and says he never envisaged one year later he, too, would be back in the winner's rooms, only this time as part of the victorious team.

"To think that I have gone out and did what Adam did last year is just so surreal," Selwood said.

"I think the family is nearly more happy than me that I have walked away with the medal.

"It has been perfect ever since I came down to Geelong.

"I have never had a problem down here and the club is fantastic in looking after me training-wise and giving me time off every now and then.

"It has just been a great year."

Despite all the hype and excitement that engulfed

Geelong last week, Selwood said he enjoyed a relaxed build up to the grand final and slept well on Friday night with no pre-game jitters.

"It was a fairly normal week except for the parade, and yesterday we did a bit of a different warm-up before the game," he said.

"I stayed in Melbourne on Friday night and I went off to sleep fairly well.

"I woke up fairly early on Saturday and wasn't sure what to do with my morning, but there weren't too many nerves there."

Geelong produced the most dominant performance in grand final history, with the 119-point victory a record winning margin.

The demolition job on the Power ended a 44-year premiership drought.

"Everything went to plan and we played some good footy," Selwood said.

"We have been the best side of the year and we knew that...the stats say it all, we are first in attack and first in defence and first in clearances.

"We knew we had to go out and enjoy the day and play four quarters."

Selwood, who won this year's Rising Star award in a canter and is touted as a future captain, started on the interchange, but came on to the ground at the eight-minute mark of the opening term.

The youngest player in the Geelong team, Selwood finished the match with 10 kicks, seven handballs, five marks, five clearances, three tackles and an equal game-high four score assists playing predominantly on the wing.

Like he has been in every game this season, Selwood was calm and composed when he had the ball and relished the big stage.

One of the AFL's most respected commentators – Robert Walls – rated Selwood's game as an eight out of 10 and had him in the best five players on the ground.

But Selwood sets high standards and wasn't getting carried away with his performance.

"It wasn't my best day out there," he said.

"I went all right early, but then copped a corkie at the end of the first quarter, so I wasn't as free as I would like to have been.

"But I walked away with the medal, so I'm very happy."

Also part of the Geelong premiership side was Josh Hunt, who, like Selwood, is a former Bendigo Pioneer.

Hunt, who was taken by Geelong with selection 44 in the 2000 national draft, played perhaps the best of his 99 games for Geelong by holding the dangerous Brett Ebert goalless.

While Hunt kept Ebert – the Power's leading goalkicker this year – goalless and to just eight possessions, Hunt collected 15 possessions himself.

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