Cats to farewell three AFL stars

Geelong fans have three big farewells and hope they are also saying hello when they host Adelaide in Saturday’s season-ending AFL match.

The Simonds Stadium match will mark the first time since 2006 that the Cats’ season has not gone into the finals.

Geelong confirmed on Friday that Steve Johnson is about to play his last game for the club, meaning he joins James Kelly and Mathew Stokes as Cats departures.

Between them, they have eight premierships from the Cats’ great 2007-11 era.

The game will also be notable because of the rampant speculation about Patrick Dangerfield’s playing future.

There has been talk for months that the Crows star will move to Geelong at the end of this season through free agency.

Cats coach Chris Scott said it was crucial that Johnson, Kelly and Stokes had the sendoff they deserve.

It comes a week after Geelong’s finals hopes ended with the upset loss to Collingwood.

“We’d love those guys to go out on a high – it’s really important that we respect the occasion and play accordingly,” he said.

“I’ve never been on the view that we should try any harder or less hard, given the circumstances – we should be giving it everything we’ve got.

“We were really disappointed with the performance last week and even though we don’t have next week to look forward to, it’s an opportunity to work on our game.”

Scott said their three departing stars are proud players who would want to end on a high.

Equally, Adelaide coach Scott Camporeale said the all the “welcome Danger” talk in Geelong would be water off a Crows’ back for his star midfielder.

“If you know Patty, that stuff just bounces off him,” Camporeale said.

“I think his form suggests it hasn’t bothered him and he’s in great touch and I will coach Patty no different than I will coach the other 21 players.”

Also on Friday, Scott gave Adelaide unprompted praise during his media conference when talking about the game.

The Crows are an incredible ongoing story, making the finals despite the tragic death of coach Phil Walsh.

“I should take this opportunity just to say how amazed we are at Adelaide’s ability to work their way through tragedy this year,” Scott said.

“They seem to be playing as good footy as anyone.

“Our footy club has a great deal of respect for them and they should be commended for how they’ve handled things on and off-field.”

But the Crows will have their work cut out on Saturday.

Despite Geelong’s determination to win for the three departing stars, Adelaide also have a seven-game losing streak at the ground.

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