Cats say goodbye to revered AFL figures

Joel Selwood choked back tears, Mitch Duncan broke team rules and Chris Scott gave an emotional post-game tribute.

As Geelong’s AFL season ended on Friday night, the 62-point preliminary final loss to Adelaide doubled as a tough farewell for Tom Lonergan and Andrew Mackie.

The premiership defenders are revered at Geelong and they announced before the finals that this would be their last season.

After speaking of his disappointment about the loss, Selwood was asked about losing two great players.

“It’s going to be sad not having them around – being next to Domsy’s (Lonergan) locker for a long time and then Mack, he’s just a a great person,” Selwood said, his voice wavering.

“They’re two individuals who really set the standard for this club for a long time – and not just on the field, but off it.

“They set the right tone, behaved really well and they’re going to be missed in many ways. Good people.”

Duncan revealed he ignored Geelong’s interchange rotations and stayed on the ground during the last quarter.

“Whether that was the right thing to do or not, that’s how I felt playing with those blokes and I just didn’t want to let them down,” he said.

“They’re probably going to be irreplaceable – we need players to come through now and take that on and build their 15-year career.”

Before Scott took questions from journalists after the match, the Cats coach spoke about Lonergan, Mackie and also football director Steve Hocking, who is to become the AFL football operations manager.

“He’s one of the best men I have met in footy …as good a right-hand man as one could hope for,” Scott said of Hocking.

Scott hopes Mackie will stay at the club in some capacity.

“He is just such a good football person … and just a champion guy,” he said.

“I said to our players post-game, we all aspire in some ways to be like Mack on and off the field. He is going to be a significant loss.”

Scott noted Lonergan was still showing reckless disregard for his own safety in the last quarter of his career.

Lonergan lost a kidney after a sickening 2006 on-field collision.

“He virtually doesn’t have any internal organs left but he continually puts his body on the line for his mates. He has been a warrior for us,” he said.

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