I’m not normally one to shed a tear at a sporting event. Except for the time when Cathy Freeman ran into the straight at the 2000 Olympics. Or the time “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler got beaten by Sugar Ray Leonard, and there was also the time when the Cats got rolled at the SCG with five seconds on the clock in the 2005 semi final. I also shed a little tear when I first watched the grainy Cinesound footage of my old man winning the 1955 Stawell Gift. There may have been a few other times. But besides Freeman, Hagler, the 2005 Cats, the 1955 Stawell Gift and a few other times, I’m not one to cry whilst watching sport.


But on Grand Final day I did.


The ball goes over the boundary. Throw in, Smith struggles a ball to Close, who taps to Selwood who gets the footy onto the outside of his boot from forty out, whilst being crunched, and it sails through. It wasn’t so much the goal, superb though it was, it was the reaction. Still on the turf he puts his head in his hands.


The exhaustion of it all comes to the surface.


The premiership is Geelong’s.


His decade of slog is over.


Joy and elation and monumental pride in performance burst out.


They got around him, his mates, and jumped on him.


Symbolic of how he’d been largely holding them aloft since gaining the captaincy in 2012.


The crowd also burst. It wasn’t the typical guttural footy roar; the hollering of the tribe with the snarl of aggressor, it was cheerier than that. But it was loud and honest and utterly exuberant. And then the chant started:


“Sellllllwoooood, Sellllllwooooood, Selllllwooooood!”


That might have been when the little tear escaped.


I’m not really sure why? But I could feel it in the grandstand. We were watching something special. A great of the game. A footballer’s footballer. A leader of men. The spontaneity of his team mates demonstrated a deep respect. They’d followed him because he was leading them somewhere.


And here they were, premiers!


With apologies to The Waterboys, I saw the crescent in this premiership Joel, but you saw the whole of the moon.




Read more from Dips O’Donnell HERE.


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About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. Talk about adulation!

    Seriously, old mate, I am really curious about what Joel’s post-playing career might bring.
    The options for him, whether in the footy industry or in the wider world, are endless.

  2. Agree Smoke.

    Hope he doesn’t join the rabble in the football meeja. He’s better than that.

    But whatever he does I’m tipping he’ll do it at full speed!!

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    What a player. What a person. To think that it has taken all this time for me to really appreciate him.

    Happy tears indeed Dips.

    He had his whole career ahead of him when this was taken.

  4. Absolute champion have admired and appreciate him for years even as a non cat – the moronic duckwood garbage is close to my most hated thing in footy and so ironic that virtually every club uses footage of
    Selwood as a teaching tool best player in the game at going low and hard at the contest

  5. Hayden Kelly says

    Nice Dips
    As an opposition supporter perhaps I never properly appreciated Selwood as a player . Perhaps it was the lowering the shoulders thing [i didnt say ducking ] which annoyed me until Hunter and Toby McLean perfected it at the Dogs in 2016 . More likely it was to do with my calls for ‘who is on bloody Selwood ‘ when he invariably kick started the Cats .
    In hindsight he has been a wonderful player and a great leader on and off the field . He obviously thinks about doing good things off the field and i suspect that’s not about enhancing his reputation . Clearly carrying young Ablett out on Saturday was planned as was the boots to the Auskicker but pulling Sammy the water boy onto the ground was to my eye spontaneous act of kindness from a genuine bloke .
    Jeez the media already debating if he was a better leader than Hodge and the best of all time etc please that’s like comparing Phar Lap to Winx there is no answer . If there is an answer re on field leadership success perhaps the boyos and girlos in the media should google Syd Coventry .
    I hope he doesn’t morph into another special comments hack and continues to contribute more widely . As I understand it the City of Geelong will declare a week of mourning tomorrow with a public holiday on Monday

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Was a magnificent moment. Well played J.Selwood. Very happy for all the O’Donnell’s that I lunched with last Friday.

  7. You like to see the best go at it.
    Much to learn – for the curious.
    Much to admire – for the rest.

    well played Dips.
    well played J Selwood.

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