A warrior right up until the final siren, Patrick Dangerfield still wonders if he had more to give in Geelong’s brutal AFL preliminary final loss to Sydney.
The Brownlow Medal favourite was yet again the Cats’ best player on Friday night at the MCG, finishing with 39 touches, nine clearances and a goal.
But it wasn’t enough to stop the Swans from booking a spot in the grand final with a dominant 37-point win.
Limping into the Geelong rooms after the game with a heavily-iced calf, Dangerfield was clearly devastated.
“It’s as tough as it gets,” he said.
“You don’t put the work in all season, finish in second position and really give ourselves a chance to have a crack it all and not be disappointed with the season ending the way it did.
“It just felt like we could have given way more.”
Sydney booted the first eight goals of the 15.7 (97) to 8.12 (60) win, with all but one coming in an imposing first quarter that left the Cats reeling.
“It’s almost reminiscent of the way Sydney jumped Adelaide last week when the game was over in the first quarter,” Dangerfield said.
“You can’t win a game in the first quarter but you can lose one. It’s certainly tough to come back from there.”
The Cats won the inside-50 count by a whopping 72 to 40 but Dangerfield, who added nine to the tally, was quick to concede that too many of the forward entries were ineffective.
The loss is sure to prompt fresh questions about Geelong’s reliance on Dangerfield and midfield partner in crime Joel Selwood, who racked up 39 disposals and laid 13 tackles.
Dangerfield said the side would consider areas to improve on across the ground, including the balance of contributors in the midfield
“I think throughout the season when we’ve played our best footy, we’ve played with a real even contribution from everyone,” he said.
“Joel and I spend plenty of time in there, that’s why our numbers sometimes sit higher than the rest of the players that run through there.
“But I think while emotions are running pretty high now, it’s something that I suppose we’ll reflect on over the coming week.”