Grand day for Bendigo's Joel

A STIRRING half-time speech by Bendigo wunderkind Joel Selwood has helped inspire Geelong to its second premiership in three years.The Cats overcame a gallant St Kilda in a torrid grand final at the MCG on Saturday to record a 12.8 (80) to 9.14 (68) win.It was Selwood’s second premiership and third grand final in three seasons since he was drafted in 2006.He has fitted seamlessly into one of the great sides of the modern era, playing in all but five games during a record run of 65 Geelong wins from 75 starts.Selwood played his part on Saturday, collecting the highest number of contested possessions by any Geelong player.The former Bendigo Pioneer played old-fashioned football like a veteran hardened by decades in the clinches. At only 21, he was the second youngest player on the ground.At half-time, with St Kilda six points in front, Selwood gathered the side together in the rooms and told them to focus on being desperate.His father Bryce said yesterday Joel had willed himself throughout the match to do the same things he had implored his team-mates to do at half-time.Selwood also told his father he may not have been able to play a replay of the match last weekend because of injury had the grand final finished a draw - a distinct possibility until Paul Chapman’s goal three minutes and 21 seconds from time.“He contributed with a lot of little tap-ons and knocks and getting himself in there, things that don’t record as statistics but are just as important,” Bryce said.“The game was very tight, it was just toing and froing all day.“It just seemed to go from one contest to another, no team had easy possessions.“When they got the ball and looked up, it was just a sea of players.“It was just so slippery for the players, they were attacking the ball but often it just wasn’t going their way.”It was the fifth grand final in a row featuring a Selwood, with Joel’s older brother Adam playing in the 2005 and 2006 deciders with West Coast.Adam was far removed from the rain, wind and intensity of the MCG this year as he holidayed in the Greek Islands, but Bryce was joined by wife Maree, Adam’s twin brother and Brisbane Lion Troy, and younger brother Scott, of West Coast, at the game.Adam called Joel after the match to congratulate him.“It’s been a great thrill being involved in all of them,” Bryce said.“They’re (Adam, Troy and Scott) just rapt for Joel.“Scott and Troy are a bit envious he’s been there, they want to experience it too. Of course Adam’s got his medal and Joel has two now.”The other AFL players in the Selwood clan may have to beat their brother and the all-conquering Geelong on future grand final days to claim a premiership, with further silverware beckoning the Cats.“They’ve got a good group of young guys really coming on down there,” Bryce said.“We’ll see how it transgresses, they’ve got to try and keep the list together (and) if they do, it could develop into a dynasty.“But to keep a team at the top for three years is pretty tough.” Power to almost 2200 homes was cut about two minutes before the end of the grand final.The outage was caused by strong wind which blew a large tree across powerlines in Stanley Avenue, Spring Gully.

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