The 2022 AFL premiership was just rewards for the Geelong Cats but the victory was almost not as sweet as it could have been.
Geelong Cats coach Chris Scott revealed he almost walked away from the club in 2021 after the disappointment of another season of unrealised potential.
The Cats finished third in the 2021 season but were destroyed by 83 points in the preliminary final to eventual premiers the Melbourne Demons.
The Cats missed a golden chance in the finals after the side was defeated in the first week of the playoffs by Port Adelaide and were forced to go up against the Dees.
While the club could definitely be in worse positions, since the 2011 flag, the Cats had missed just one finals series, finished top four seven times and made five prelims but just couldn’t get over the line.
It left Scott questioning whether he was the man to lead the Cats back to the promised land again after claiming his first premiership as coach in his maiden season in the top job.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360, Scott said it took his leaders to convince him to stay on.
“You have put me on the spot. It’s a good time to get me after a few drinks,” Scott began, speaking from the Cats’ celebrations.
“Yeah, I will be honest. I did (think about it). I made it hard for them. I said, if you have any doubt at all you have to tell me.
“It was a bigger group than just Joel (Selwood) and Pat (Dangerfield) and I have done a version of that (meeting) almost every year, but at the end of ’21 in particular they were emphatic and the support was the basis of my drive in 2022.”
No wonder it was so emotional.
“Yeah. If they had hesitated,” he said.
The Cats didn’t have the perfect start in 2022 going 5-4 through the first nine rounds to sit seventh on the ladder.
But that was the last game the Cats lost, romping to the premiership with 16-straight wins after winning the minor premiership by two games.
While the support from his leaders gave him confidence, Scott said he wouldn’t have stayed if he didn’t think it would help Geelong.
“Probably the most important thing to me at Geelong I make sure I’m doing what’s right for the club, and that means if what’s best for me isn’t what’s best for the club, so be it,” he said.
“So I did think really hard about whether we could do it, and if we couldn’t, we needed to change tack and maybe part of that change involved me.
“But by the time the end of the season rolled around I was committed and I was sure with the people we had around that we could put a plan together that would give our guys a chance.
“The part that gave me the most confidence was when I spoke to our players. It reminded me of 2010.
Made it all worth it.
“I saw the same thing at the end of 2021. Patty and Joel were certain they could play better in 2022 than 2021, and they delivered in spades.”
This was doubly true in the final two games of the season.
The Cats romped into the Grand Final on the back of a 71-point win over the Lions in the prelim before mauling theSwans by 81 in the decider.