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Age no barrier as Cats win AFL premiership

Geelong have claimed a 10th AFL premiership, stunning Sydney in an 81-point grand final victory. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Geelong have emphatically silenced critics who doubted their ageing list would win a premiership, thrashing Sydney by 81 points in the AFL grand final.

The Cats fielded the oldest team in the league's 126-year history on Saturday but were full of running in a 20.13 (133) to 8.4 (52) victory in front of 100,024 fans at the MCG.

Their second flag under Chris Scott is their 10th overall and first since 2011 and follows a heartbreaking stretch of five preliminary final defeats and a grand final loss two years ago.

It confirmed Geelong's status as the best club of the 21st century, with four premierships from 12 final-four finishes in the past 16 years.

The victory margin with the fifth-highest in grand final history as the Cats restricted Sydney to their lowest score of the season.

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

Mark O'Connor (pic) will replace the injured Max Holmes in Geelong's grand final team. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

"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."

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

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

Hawkins finished with three goals and fellow veterans Patrick Dangerfield (26 disposals), Mark Blicavs (23 disposals) and Joel Selwood (26 disposals, one goal) were outstanding - and among the 10 Cats aged 30 years or older.

Young defender Sam De Koning shone in the back half and small forward Tyson Stengle, who was axed by Adelaide after off-field indiscretions, completed his remarkable redemption story with four goals.

Geelong have claimed a 10th AFL premiership, stunning Sydney in an 81-point grand final victory. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

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

The long-serving captain became the first man to win four premierships with Geelong, having played in his first as a rookie 15 years ago.

It would be a fitting way for Selwood to sign off, with the 34-year-old yet to decide his future.

Dangerfield became the second player - after Hawthorn great Shane Crawford in 2008 - to win his first premiership after playing more than 300 games.

The result was never in doubt after Geelong's blistering opening when they opened up a 35-point advantage by quarter-time - the biggest lead at that stage of a grand final since 1989.

And the Cats' 16th straight victory matched the mark set by Carlton (1995) and Brisbane (2001) for the longest winning run leading to a premiership.

Geelong have claimed a 10th AFL premiership, stunning Sydney in an 81-point grand final victory. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Sydney's selection gamble on Sam Reid backfired spectacularly when he was substituted out because of the adductor injury he carried into the game.

Chad Warner (29 disposals, 10 clearances, two goals) and Luke Parker (23 disposals, 14 tackles) were the Swans' best while superstar forward Lance Franklin was held goalless by Jack Henry.

Longmire conceded Sydney were overwhelmed by the occasion.

"We really let ourselves down and our supporters down, no question," he told reporters.

"From the first bounce the game looked as foreign as what we have played it this year.

"There was no element that we got right ... we just didn't give ourselves any chance whatsoever."

There was heartbreak before the bounce for Geelong youngster Max Holmes, who was deemed too big a selection risk because of doubts over his hamstring ailment.

Mark O'Connor replaced Holmes and joined Zach Tuohy as the first Irishmen to win an AFL premiership since Sydney's trailblazing Tadgh Kennelly in 2005.

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