“It’s great,” he said with a smile after the Cats’ 20-point win over West Coast in their entertaining semi-final at the MCG on Friday night.
“I haven’t personally been there [to a grand final] and I want to get there and a lot of our group hasn’t been there and those that have want to get back there so I don’t need any more motivation that’s for sure.”
But it’s certainly not going to be easy for Geelong. For Dangerfield to avoid an 0-4 record in preliminary finals, he and his teammates must get past the might of Richmond on Friday night at the MCG in what is tipped to be a full house with predominantly Tigers supporters in the stands.
The last time they met, the Cats battered an injury-depleted Tigers by 67 points in round 12, but the most memorable meeting between the two teams of recent times was the 2017 qualifying final which Richmond won by 51 points in front of 95,028 fans.
However, Dangerfield doesn’t feel that Geelong owe them one for that result.
“Not really. It’s just about taking your opportunity,” he said.
“We know what’s on the line, there’s no point hiding away from that I don’t think.
“Embrace it, enjoy it, know what it is and these opportunities don’t come up very often. So – win, give ourselves an opportunity at a grand final. Lose, it’s finished, so saddle up.”
Dangerfield commented at the time on how loud that crowd was back in 2017, but he denied it put him off his game and he cannot wait to play in front of a similarly huge crowd in six days’ time.
“You love hearing it. Like, there’s nothing like a packed crowd,” he said.
“You’d prefer it to be your own supporters but you appreciate it for what it is when it is the opposition so you want to play in as big a crowd as possible.
“MCG. The lights are on. It’s show time.”
Dangerfield said that one of the keys to beating Richmond was to ensure that the Cats didn’t turn the ball over in precarious positions on the ground that make it “impossible to defend”.
“They obviously, when they generate movement from their back half, every single player moves forward and really looks to press and overlap,” Dangerfield said.
“[We’ve got to] continue to give our forwards a look and chop out our defenders when possible. They’re an incredible side and have been for a long time. They’ve got a great contribution of even players and then they’ve got some superstars in there as well.”
One forward Dangerfield would love “to give a look” to is Tom Hawkins who resoundingly returned to form against the Eagles with a game-high four goals.
But he will come under scrutiny from the match review officer for his high hit on Will Schofield off the ball which left the West Coast defender grounded for a many seconds.
However, Dangerfield wasn’t too concerned about Hawkins’ availability, and perhaps took a veiled dig at GWS star Toby Greene’s ability to avoid suspension for his unsavoury altercation with Bulldogs counterpart Marcus Bontempelli last week.
“Not really. I wouldn’t have thought so given some of last week’s rulings,” he said when asked if he was concerned Hawkins would be banned.
Dangerfield was proud of the way his team responded in the final term against West Coast, booting four goals to none after giving up a 32-point lead to trail by four points at three-quarter-time.
“It was testament to the group and our resolve that we were able to regroup and get the ball and the play back on our terms and then execute when we had the opportunity to,” he said.
And he reserved special praise for captain Joel Selwood who produced another September special when his team really needed it. “I’d say he amazes me but he doesn’t. He just does it all the time,” Dangerfield said. “He’s so inspirational for us and then for Geelong people, he’s been a beacon of leadership, of hope, of incredible will for his whole career, really, and led by example tonight.
“When your skipper plays like that, you can’t help but follow.”
Ronny Lerner is a Sports reporter for The Age.