Regardless of who you support, Geelong’s 2022 AFL Premiership just felt right.
The oldest team in AFL history were dominant throughout the year, entering the Grand Final on a 15-game winning streak and handing champion Patrick Dangerfield his maiden premiership, while Tom Hawkins and Joel Selwood were left in tears with retirement rumors swirling.
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The Cats were the best team all year, winning the minor premiership by two wins and the prelim and decider by a combined 152 points.
But while they were the best team on the field throughout the season, the celebrations after the match showed what champions the club’s biggest stars are off it as well.
Social media was all praise for Captain Selwood, who would have been well within his rights to make the moment all about himself and his teammates.
Instead, the 34-year-old accepted his premiership medal and had a brilliant moment with the Auskicker, giving the kid his boots and posing for a picture in a lovely moment.
It came after tear-jerking moments before the game when Cats champion Gary Ablett Jr.’s son Levi was carried onto the field by Selwood, leading the premieres onto the MCG.
It was just the beginning for Selwood.
In a shared video of the victory lap in front of thousands of excited Cats fans, Selwood found Sam Moorfoot in the crowd.
Moorfoot is well known at the Cats as the club’s water boy, a job he has held for the past seven years.
The 29-year-old Moorfoot, who has Down syndrome, has become a fixture at the Cats since 2015, where he hit it off with Cats skipper Selwood as well as the rest of the squad.
In August, Moorfoot, who plays for the Geelong Dragons in the Football Integration Development Association made a grand final of his own against Kananook Bulls, but fell short in a 16.10 (106) to 8.3 (51) loss.
Selwood, who is the AFL’s inaugural Disability Inclusion Ambassador, told The Age in August he was behind Sammy for the big game.
“Sam has let everyone know about the big game this week. He’s not shy of that,” Selwood said.
“He was even caught earlier in the week doing hot and cold recovery with the boys at the club. We’re all really excited for him.”
While Sammy couldn’t get his medal on his own grand final day, Selwood made sure he didn’t miss out on his big day.
After helping him over the barrier and onto the MCG, Cats star Jeremy Cameron took off his own medal and put it around Moorfoot’s neck in tremendous scenes.
Moorfoot had been working at the Cats Bistro as a volunteer when the GMHBA Stadium was redeveloped and the bistro closed.
The team made him the head water boy on the team’s main training day.
Selwood said of his bond with Moorfoot via The Age: “We share a very special friendship, and I consider him like family. He has my back from him and I have his from him.”
Moorfoot also shared his admiration for the Cats skipper.
“I think Joel is amazing. A great role model but also a little bit cheeky. He treats me like a brother and always looks out for me,” Moorfoot said.
“There isn’t one player at Geelong that isn’t kind and supportive. They are all my mates.”
They were brilliant scenes that fans couldn’t help but love to see.
One fan called it an “absolutely beautiful moment”.
Former Federal opposition leader and current Minister for the NDIS Bill Shorten posted: “Joel Selwood made a lot of dreams come true yesterday. This could be the sweetest.”
Sports broadcaster Robin Chipperfield tweeted: “This is so lovely… what a beautiful thing to do at your own moment of triumph…”
Nine’s Michael Atkinson wrote: “This is so, so, so superb. well done
@joelselwood14, @GeelongCats and most of all, Sammy.”