GEELONG Cats veteran Harry Taylor is eager for his next appearance in an AFL Grand Final, despite having to wait nine years to get the chance again.
The defender’s first Grand Final was the 2008 loss to Hawthorn but he chalked up two wins in 2009 and 2011, making Saturday’s match against the Tigers his fourth appearance in the season’s ultimate game.
“There’s probably a different perspective (for me) on what the grand final’s about, compared to when I first started – a lot of unknowns, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ sort of thing – but 270-odd games in, to be able to get the chance to do it again is something I’m looking forward to and really proud of.”
The Cats defeated Brisbane to make it to the Grand Final. Taylor said the win made him “not quite as excited” as his famous galloping run when Hawthorn’s Isaac Smith missed an after-the-siren goal against Geelong in the 2016 qualifying final, but “the emotions are something you have to embrace”.
“You find yourself in your quiet moments this week projecting forward or looking back – I think it’s okay to do that and Scotty (coach Chris Scott) certainly said it’s an important part of the week; to try to embrace it. If I’ve learned anything from my previous experiences, it is not trying to hide or shy away or hide any of those emotions or feelings – let them come into your mind, deal with them at the time, and then move forward.”
He said he was not spending much time thinking about whether the Grand Final would be his last game.
“Should we win, should we lose, it’s not something I will use to dictate next year. The game itself will be magic and amazing, and I want to focus on that.”
Win or lose, Saturday will be the last game for Cats star Gary Ablett. Taylor said the idea of “doing it for Gaz” would not be personally useful for him.
“If there’s a week to do it, this is probably the one, but I’ve never really got in the habit of doing that too much – for me, it’s very much about process and just being driven to do the best that I possibly can to help the team. I see us winning as an outcome for Gaz more so than an actual thing and a process that’s going to help me perform better for my team-mates.”
Ian Nankervis has been invited to present the premiership cup to Geelong if they are triumphant on Saturday.
Nankervis played 325 games for Geelong between 1967 and 1983. He captained the club for four seasons and was a three-time best and fairest winner (1972, 1976 and 1977). and is a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
If Richmond wins the flag, number one ranked women’s tennis player Ash Barty will present the cup to the Tigers.