Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield had a point to prove during Friday night’s preliminary final win over Brisbane, according to teammate Tom Stewart.
After struggling with persistent injury niggles and indifferent form for much of 2022, Dangerfield roared to life on Friday night, playing at a level more synonymous with his Brownlow Medal winning best.
The eight-time All-Australian finished with 28 disposals (16 contested) to go with eight clearances and two goals in the 71-point win.
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Stewart, speaking to foxfooty.com.au’s Ben Waterworth post-game, said Dangerfield’s wayward form at times this year completely understandable given the 32-year-old’s longevity to this point.
“Time catches up with everyone,” Stewart told foxfooty.com.au.
“He’s been an unbelievable player for 12-13 years.
“I think he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder tonight and he came out and played the way we love him playing, just brutal around the contest and getting the ball in our forward half.”
Dangerfield’s remarkable durability has been tested significantly in the last two years, starting with a syndesmosis injury he suffered against North Melbourne in round five, 2021.
This season, Dangerfield has been plagued by persistent calf complaints, but has now put together four consecutive games after being carefully managed near the end of the season.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said the management of players this season has been a significant focus, with Dangerfield’s current physical state a testament to that.
“He‘s in really good shape,” Scott told reporters post-game.
“Compared to where he‘s been previously, it’s chalk and cheese.
“He’s a bit older but he goes into the biggest game of the year in the best shape he’s been in four years.”