Sydney provocateur Tom Papley toasts Collingwood fans at the Grand Final Parade as Chris Scott discusses Geelong’s chances

Little Sydney forward Tom Papley just has a way of upsetting his rivals and during Friday’s AFL Grand Final Parade he was back at it and there were Collingwood fans who admittedly dished it out to Papley last weekend during the thrilling preliminary finals at the SCG.

Papley is so often the center of attention and last Saturday a shot he scored in the closing stages of the game was the subject of controversy as some believed it should have been counted as a free-kick for Collingwood’s Darcy Moore for a shove in the back .

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Papley scored and the Swans won that game by a point to earn a spot in the Grand Finals.

However, some Collingwood fans, keen to remind the Swans and Papley of how they got to the Grand Final Parade, waited for them at the curb with a large banner with a photo of the moment and the eye-catching words, ‘How Sydney Reaches the Grand Final’ .

When provocateur Papley spotted the banner, he quickly snapped a video and added it to his Instagram story, complete with the cheekiest face that only a small forward could make (see below).

It’s been an interesting journey for Papley, who requested a trade with Carlton in late 2019, which was repelled as the Swans were unhappy with the Blues’ offers

Three years later, Papley is gearing up for his second major final in hopes he can exorcise the demons of the 2016 0-0 loss to the Western Bulldogs.

“Funny how things change and things happen for a reason,” Papley told reporters at Friday’s grand final parade before facing Geelong in Saturday’s parade.

“It’s huge for me, playing the grand final in 2016 and not getting the work done, it really hurt.

“So I’m looking forward to tomorrow and when that siren goes off hopefully we’ll be ahead.”

The 26-year-old is known for his exuberant celebrations and his attacks on opponents.

“It just comes naturally and instincts and adrenaline take over,” he said.

“But there will be a lot of adrenaline tomorrow and the crowd will get up, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Joel Selwood and Luke Parker with the 2022 Premiership Cup during the AFL Grand Final Parade. Recognition: Michael Willson/AFL photos via Getty Images

Meanwhile, Geelong coach Chris Scott believes his hot favorites the Cats are better placed than ever to end their heartbreaking run of failures in September’s AFL Grand Finals.

The Cats will field the oldest team in the competition’s 126-year history against Sydney on Saturday and there are still doubts about Max Holmes’ fitness.

The young wingman will be given until the last minute to prove he has recovered from a minor hamstring injury.

But the small firsts are full of confidence, riding a 15-game winning streak as the season decider returns to the MCG for the first time in three years.

Scott has led the Cats to five preliminary-finals defeats and one devastating Grand Final defeat in 2020 since guiding them to a Premier League in his first season at the helm in 2011.

“I try to look at each year in isolation, but if you force me to step back and take a look at the last decade or so, our fans should be proud of the consistency of our players,” Scott said.

“They deserve it, they just work so hard. We have an experienced group but I think they deserve every success that comes their way.

“It was a privilege to coach her.

“But I think this year we’re in great shape, we have good availability and our game is in really good shape.

“For as many times as I can remember, I’ve felt like we gave each other every chance.”

Catch a look at the opening game of Channel 7’s AFL Grand Final

Catch a look at the opening game of Channel 7’s AFL Grand Final

Mark O’Connor was Geelong’s medi-sub in the finals victories against Collingwood and Brisbane and is believed to be Holmes’ most likely replacement should he fail.

Brandan Parfitt and Sam Menegola are also there.

Holmes underwent a fitness test on Friday morning and sat down on the Cats’ easy practice run on the MCG in the afternoon.

“We were hoping that we were at the point now where we could absolutely say he was playing, but what we do know is that it’s absolutely not a ‘no,'” Scott said.

Sydney coach John Longmire insists Sam Reid (adductors) and Justin McInerney (ankle) will play through injuries despite easy weeks.

Sam Reid and Luke Parker during the AFL Grand Final Parade. Recognition: AFL photos via Getty Images

Young big forward Logan McDonald was dropped in favor of Hayden McLean, who is returning for his first game since round eight in support of Tom Hickey Ruck, with Reid likely to be somewhat limited.

“You just have to do what’s right for the team, and that’s where it begins and ends,” Longmire said.

“It’s not easy, but you have to give yourself the best chance to play against a team that’s clear two games up in the rankings and has been the dominant team all year.

“We have to get it right in the selection and we have to get it right in the way we play. We know it will be a big challenge.”

The Swans have won nine straight games and defeated Geelong in their only previous encounter this season by 30 points at the SCG in round two.

It was the same night that legendary striker Lance Franklin scored his 1000th goal.

Lance Franklin addresses the media after signing a one-year extension

Lance Franklin addresses the media after signing a one-year extension

Like Scott, Longmire is aspiring to his second tenure as manager, having led the Swans to their flag in 2012 in his second season as manager.

“We understand and respect Geelong’s strengths (and) they have many of them, but we also just remember what we do,” Longmire said.

“It’s two teams in good form who trust their systems and that will make for a great final.”

Geelong captain Joel Selwood will play a record-breaking 40th finals game and is one of three players remaining from the 2011 flag, alongside Tom Hawkins and Mitch Duncan.

The trio are among a group of 10 cats in the grand final cast aged 30 and older.

Reid and co-captain Luke Parker are the only Swans players surviving from their 2012 Premiership, with former skipper Josh Kennedy retiring through injury.

– with AAP

AFL fans furious after Grand Final Parade boats pull up briefly

AFL fans furious after Grand Final Parade boats pull up briefly Sydney provocateur Tom Papley toasts Collingwood fans at the Grand Final Parade as Chris Scott discusses Geelong’s chances

James Brien

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