After what could be the most extraordinary comeback of the season, Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield has paid tribute to captain Joel Selwood, who on Saturday night broke the record for most games as skipper.
The Cats were on the canvass and facing a 30-point deficit at three-quarter time, but Selwood and several of his teammates lifted in the final quarter to cap a remarkable comeback, kicking seven goals to Collingwood’s sole behind to win by 13 points.
Selwood’s 227th game as captain surpassed Carlton legend Stephen Kernahan’s longstanding record and, speaking to Fox Footy’s Best On Ground, admitted Selwood’s record was a motivating factor for the comeback.
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“There’s few games where even pre-game you just acknowledge the fact that yes it’s about the collective and what we need to achieve as a team but we also need to recognise the individual and the impact that he’s had on our club,” he said.
“He’s just extraordinary. He embodies everything we want to be as individuals at the club.
“His care for others around him is quite extraordinary, has been for 16 years. It was about him tonight. We had to dig deep and it wasn’t all perfect but it was a terrific game of footy.”
Asked if there were any flaws he could find in Selwood, Dangerfield said the 33-year-old was peerless.
“He’s Mr. Perfect, he really is. When I first rocked up to the club, you almost think ‘this guy can’t be real’,” he said.
“This level of care and authentic care for just everyone around him, from the person that opens the door, at the time it was the late great Vic Fuller, to the CEO. It’s just even for him.
“That’s been him from the very beginning I’m told and certainly throughout my time here. As players that come into the footy club, you needn’t look further than the captain to go that’s how I need to conduct myself.
“Tonight was about getting it done for him. It looked at bit precarious at three-quarter time but our guys dug deep and this is AFL footy, anything can happen.”
Selwood himself, speaking after the incredible win, was in awe of his side.
“It’s unbelievable. This group, seriously, there is something special about it,” he told Channel 7.
“To be honest we had confidence at three-quarter time even though that third quarter just wasn’t ours, we got outplayed big time. Outstanding by the boys, there were some big efforts in some big moments in that last quarter.”
Selwood also admitted it was difficult to contemplate the fact he had just broken such a major record in the game.
“It’s very special. I’m really not sure how to put it into words. I’m lucky I’m at a great club, they’ve built it up unbelievably well this week, I’m so lucky,” he said.
“I’ve heard from so many of my past teammates, past staff members, but even the footy world.
“It’s a big footy world out there and I’m just so thankful to everyone that’s reached out and I’m bloody proud of the boys tonight. I’m exhausted to be honest.”