Last year there was no doubt, virtually from the opening bounce, and of course they went on to win by a record margin. This year, relieved of the 'history' of only being at a grand final when Geelong loses and, much worse, paying for my two elder daughters to be there when they lose - this year we will go and watch the best Cats since the 1952/1953 team play the team that has always been their bete noir (though some people might ascribe that title to West Coast) and for the first time since September 1967 I believe I will be able to deal with an unfavourable result (I still can't bring myself to use the 'L' word) if that is to be the case.
Keren and Vicki have been going to Geelong games since almost before they could walk and have been 'infected' with their sad parent's unwavering mental entanglement with the highs and lows of the performance of a provincial football team in a State that we left to come North more than 25 years ago. As a parent I didn't now what terrible angst I was wishing on my two eldest children when I took first one and then the next to the freezing (most often) standing terraces at Kardinia with the long trek to and from Geelong down the old Geelong Road on so many winter Saturdays.
Their mother and I (long before they were born) had been there in 1967 to see our first ever grand final after moving to Victoria from Sydney earlier in that year - Geelong lost to Richmond by 9 points and we walked back from the MCG along Bridge Road past the Richmond town hall and deliriously happly crowds to our rented flat in Hawthorn without exchanging a word.
We were there in 1989 to see the last VFL final, and probably one of the greatest, and one of the most physically tough, football games of all time when Hawthorn beat the Cats. We watched the Cats win the fights in the first two quarters but trail by six goals at the end of the first quater and by 35 ponts at half time - and still trail by five goals at three quarter time only to see them score goal after goal in the last quarter to get within a heart breaking one straight kick when the final siren sounded.
One of the greatest players to ever play the game kicked 9.1 and took the mark of the century that day. A kid called Gary Hocking got cleaned up by Dieperdemenico 20 kilos heavier and seven years more experienced resulting in eventually needing 11 stitches in one of the wounds inflicted in that cowardly piece of gamesmanship but still picked himself up and with blood streaming down his face (before the 'blood rule') tried to kick the goal that he normally would have slotted but his kick wobbled off the boot and missed everything. (his brother Stephen had previously been kneed in the groin so hard one of his testicles had burst and he was carried off the ground)
Brereton's fractured sternum (payback by Mark Yeates for a Brereton illegal tackle in the home and away game earlier in the season) and Dieperdemico's broken ribs (retaliation for the Hocking attack by Gary Senior) and the Norm Smith medal for 'God' were no consolation for those fantastically talented and very brave boys. Two young girl's tears were also not nice.
We were there when Geelong lost twice to West Coast and I didn't have the heart to take hem a year later to see Carlton wipe them off the park - I left at half time.
So Keren and I will fly to Melbourne a little later this morning and meet Vicki (who will be flying in from Hobart) at the airport and make our way to the MCG to watch 'the boys' try and make it back to back flags.
For a few hours the vagaries of ADSL and Australian marketplaces can look after themselves.