Geelong's AFL Mad Monday stunt sparks angry public backlash

Seen here, Geelong players are dressed up as elderly citizens for their Mad Monday celebrations.
Some members of the public took offence to Geelong players dressing as elderly citizens for their Mad Monday celebrations. Pic: Getty

For many AFL fans, Geelong's Mad Monday stunt was the perfect response to critics who'd written the team off for being too old to win a premiership.

The Cats fielded the oldest team in the league's 126-year history in Saturday's grand final, but were full of running in the 81-point thrashing of Sydney at the MCG.

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Geelong ace Patrick Dangerfield admitted afterwards that it was "nice to shut a few of the haters up", before adding that it was never the team's driving motivation.

The Cats' social media team were also quick to make light of the 'too old' barbs with a humorous post in the wake of their premiership triumph.

Geelong's piece de resistance came on Monday, however, when the victorious squad dressed up as elderly citizens for their premiership celebrations.

Cats players gathered at the Wharf Shed in Geelong on Monday to continue the party, following their thrashing of the Swans.

A group of players including Dangerfield and captain Joel Selwood arrived dressed as elderly men - with grey hair colouring, walking sticks and Zimmer frames - in a clearly pointed dig at critics.

The players even arrived in a minibus from a retirement home, with Isaac Smith pretending to suffer a fall and was helped up by Dangerfield.

The team's Mad Monday celebrations were widely lauded by fans on social media, but not everyone saw the funny side of the stunt.

Discussing Geelong's celebrations on 3AW radio in Melbourne, some callers rang in to accuse the players of "belittling" the elderly.

One listener named Norm said: “I don’t see the funny side of belittling the elderly.

“I think it will taint Joel Selwood’s accolades from Saturday.”

Selwood was widely praised for a number of classy gestures on Saturday, including running out with Gary Ablett Jr's son Levi, who has been diagnosed with a degenerative condition.

The Cats skipper also melted hearts around the world after bringing super-fan and honorary Geelong waterboy Sam Moorfoot - who has Down syndrome - onto the field to join in the team's grand final celebrations.

Pictured here, Geelong captain Joel Selwood with Cats super-fan Sam Moorfoot.
Geelong captain Joel Selwood's gesture for Cats super-fan Sam Moorfoot has captured the hearts of fans around the world. Pic: Getty

Another listener named Diana said she thought "it was inappropriate" of Geelong's players to turn the plight of the elderly into a sideshow.

“I retired last year and I seem to be the butt of a lot of jokes lately.

“I’m demoralised by people saying you’re old and there are old jokes on the radio. And jokes on TV and belittling the elderly. I don’t agree with it at all.

“In this day and age, we should be better than that.”

Other members of the public expressed their disgust at Geelong's stunt on social media, however many argued that the players were actually taking a stand against some of the ageist commentary in society.

Geelong the oldest team to win an AFL flag

Geelong's grand final triumph came after critics repeatedly wrote them off due to their ageing roster, with the average age of their grand final team 28 years and 206 days.

"We never had any intention of trying to prove people wrong ... but it does feel like it's been a really long, challenging road," coach Chris Scott told reporters afterward.

"We've been consistent.

"But it feels as if it's been a bit of a cruel game because we've done everything we can to give all our people a chance and with that comes great emotional risk if you don't get it done at the end of the season."

The 33-year-old Smith (32 disposals, three goals) claimed the Norm Smith medal as best afield - the oldest player ever to win the gong - and snared the fourth premiership medal of his career after winning three at Hawthorn.

This photo shows Geelong Cats players posing at their official end of AFL season celebrations at Wharf Shed.
Geelong Cats players pose at their official end of AFL season celebrations at Wharf Shed. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)

Smith helped 34-year-old Tom Hawkins spark the Cats' six-goal first term which laid the platform for victory.

Hawkins finished with three goals, while 32-year-old Dangerfield (26 disposals), 31-year-old Mark Blicavs (23 disposals) and 34-year-old Selwood (26 disposals, one goal) were outstanding - and among the 10 Cats aged 30 years or older.

Selwood was particularly influential early in his record-breaking 40th finals appearance - one more than Hawthorn legend Michael Tuck.

with AAP

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