Big farewell for departing Cats’ AFL stars

Departing Geelong stars Mathew Stokes, James Kelly and Steve Johnson combined for a whopping 84 possessions in Saturday’s euphoric 39-point win over Adelaide.

How many of those kicks and handballs were a direct result of the trio deliberately sharing the ball was not immediately clear.

But the short answer was: plenty of them.

“The last quarter, once we knew it was in control – maybe the (finals-bound Crows) had other things on their mind with next week – but every time I got the ball, I just looked for Kell or Stevie,” said the popular Stokes.

“It was a really good way to be able to finish, a bit of fun, get the ball a bit.”

To no one’s surprise, Johnson brought plenty of the fun.

There was a brilliant mark in the goalsquare in the final quarter and a demand that the Simonds Stadium crowd get to their feet and cheer – which they did.

There was also a ridiculously audacious 55-metre torpedo on his left foot which sailed through for a point.

And on any number of other occasions, Johnson deliberately chose the difficult option when the simple would almost certainly have sufficed.

Unlike Stokes and Kelly, he declined to speak publicly after the match, increasing the intrigue over whether he would play on with another club next year.

Stokes and Kelly did not rule out the prospect of donning different colours in 2016 either.

But they are decisions for another day.

“I’ve known for about six or seven weeks that I was finishing and I was able to go through the emotion and the ups and downs,” said Kelly.

“Today, I was just really looking forward to playing.

“Wednesday (when he announced this would be his last game for Geelong) was a pretty big day; a pretty emotional day.

“But today, I sprang out of bed a little bit and was really excited to just come down here and play and enjoy running around with my mates again.”

The great unknown was the future of veteran defender Corey Enright, although he was understood to have told club officials on Thursday he was playing on for one more season in 2016.

“I’d love Boris (Enright) to keep playing, because I just love watching him play,” said Stokes.

“We need a couple of older guys hanging around to mentor these young kids through because it’s going to be a pretty tough period for the club over probably the next 12 months.”

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