JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.



Scarlett's end talk of the town

Date

Emma Quayle

Matthew Scarlett after Geelong won the 2007 grand final.

Matthew Scarlett after Geelong won the 2007 grand final. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

THE deal was that when Geelong lost, Matthew Scarlett would front the waiting media and explain why. When the Cats won, the full-back got to vanish. Scarlett made the arrangement at the start of 1997 and, since then, his club has played in three premierships and won a lot more games than it has lost. The full-back was a smart, insightful player in more ways than one.

Geelong lost on Saturday night, and its season ended. But this time it wasn't Scarlett who did the talking: almost as if trying not to be noticed he led his beaten side down the race, quietly raising a hand to supporters at the end of what turned out to be his 284th and last game for the club he joined 15 years ago, as a skinny father-son pick who had only just begun playing in defence.

Scarlett has more to discuss than most players - three flags, six All-Australian guernseys, a best and fairest award - but talking about himself has never appealed to him. It seemed right, then, that it was Andrew Mackie who emerged from the rooms on Saturday night, to talk about the end to his side's season, but more about his teammate.

''He's the heart and soul of the footy club,'' Mackie said.

''I can't imagine what's going through his head. It's just disappointing from our point of view. Anything other than winning a flag wasn't going to do Matty justice. It's not easy.''

Scarlett, 33, will be remembered at Geelong for some very broad deeds, over a very long time. He joined Geelong weighing 70 kilograms, a father-son draftee chosen the year the rules were changed, forcing clubs to use a third-round pick instead of their final choice. No matter: the son of John was a bargain, either way.

He was an Essendon fan growing up but quickly became one of his club's most loyal players, famously sticking up for Mark Thompson when the coach's job was challenged at the end of 2006. Later, he urged his teammates to adapt to new coach Chris Scott's changes as soon as they could.

''We knew we had to tinker our game plan a little bit - less handball and kick the ball a bit longer - so I think it wasn't just me. All the senior players knew that we had to change, and we really embraced it.'' On the ground Scarlett took on star forward after star forward: fiercely, aggressively, with never-ending focus and a mean streak. He liked those days. ''I prefer it the way it used to be,'' he told The Sunday Age at the start of the year. ''I prefer to have a certain match-up all day and go toe-to-toe with someone. Also, there is much more running now, which I don't enjoy.''

At the same time he was something slightly new: a full-back who didn't simply defend but won plenty of the ball himself and used it in ways defenders weren't necessarily known for then, tidily. In recent years he was spared the big jobs, entrusted to organise others, to zone off, to make sure the Cats got moving.

His career delivered plenty of micro-moments too, none more famous or consequential than the ''toe-poke''. It was Scarlett who nudged the ball to Gary Ablett in the centre square late in the 2009 grand final, with scores tied against St Kilda; Ablett's long kick landed in the goal square, where Paul Chapman's snapped goal broke the deadlock. ''To this day I'm not sure why I didn't bend over and pick the ball up,'' Scarlett later said. ''It was either going to pay off or I was going to look like an idiot.''

Scarlett will leave an enormous hole in the Geelong back line when he vanishes for good, with plans to get into building and perhaps keep playing locally.

Mackie didn't mind doing the talking for him on Saturday night. But he thinks that as much as Geelong will miss Scarlett, the Cats will survive and thrive because of what he has left them with. ''Such is the man, Matty Scarlett, he doesn't want it to be about him and that's just his career, he goes through and does his bit and speaks when he needs to and doesn't want to make it about him. He's an absolute great, a real Geelong person that we absolutely love,'' he said.

''We're going to miss him, but he's taught us guys who have been fortunate enough to play with him so much. He's irreplaceable, but he's made all of us better players. We've got three premierships, a lot of us, because of the work Matty Scarlett's done.''

30 comments

  • Legend

    Commenter
    Thaddeus
    Location
    Steiglitz
    Date and time
    September 10, 2012, 8:53AM
    • As a Collingwood supporter, its tough to say, but Yes, what a legend. A truly great player. Well done Matt.

      Commenter
      Pete
      Location
      Ringwood
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 11:04AM
    • Should have several Brownlow Medals around his neck, or at least the '07 Norm Smith where he was clearly best aground. Legend indeed.

      Commenter
      KJ
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 1:10PM
  • If indeed Scarlo is disappearing into the sunset, he does so as possibly our great club's greatest player. Who would have thought a skinny full-back no other club even looked at when he was drafted, could build a culture and give the fans so many great memories? We'll miss the glint in the eye, the grin, the calmness under pressure, the amazing skills and the spirit. All the best to a great man and to his family.

    Commenter
    Matt
    Date and time
    September 10, 2012, 9:01AM
    • I think the entire country should be thankful for his left hook on Ballantyne in round one.

      Commenter
      Kayersoze
      Location
      Melbs
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 9:29AM
      • I was waiting for Scarlo to deck Ballantyne again after the little twerp put that ridiculous 'tackle' on Stokes late in the game.

        Commenter
        KJ
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        September 10, 2012, 1:11PM
      • HEAR! HEAR!

        Commenter
        catfan
        Location
        NSW
        Date and time
        September 10, 2012, 3:19PM
    • My 8 yr old boy and myself were at the game on Saturday night. We stayed to the end so we could clap Scarlo off the ground; it has been a privilege to watch you play.

      We left excited about the future; some of the young guys have the potential to became Geelong Legends as also.

      Commenter
      Harry
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 9:45AM
      • scarleet cost geelong them the game. should have gone last year on a high.

        Commenter
        dom
        Location
        melb
        Date and time
        September 10, 2012, 9:52AM
        • Dom - you didn't watch the game and you can't spell. Your opinion is not shared by any half intelligent footy fan. Did Scarlett play better than Lonergan?

          Commenter
          B.V.T
          Date and time
          September 10, 2012, 10:36AM

      More comments

      Comments are now closed

      Related Coverage

      HuffPost Australia

      AFL 2016

      Round 1
      Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
      RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
      Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
      MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
      GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
      NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
      SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
      Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
      WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
      PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
      WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
      Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
      GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
      COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
      Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
      ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
      ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
      BRI vs NTH 16:35G
      STK vs WBU 19:25ES
      FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
      HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
      CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
      STK vs COL 13:45MCG
      RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
      SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
      GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
      WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
      WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
      GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 4
      Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
      WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
      HAW vs STK 14:10AS
      BRI vs GCF 16:35G
      CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
      ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
      COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
      NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 5
      Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
      Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
      GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
      WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
      PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
      STK vs GWS 13:10ES
      FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
      MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
      Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
      COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
      View All Fixtures
      Round 6
      Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
      Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs STK 13:45ES
      ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
      GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
      RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
      GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
      Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
      BRI vs SYD 13:10G
      CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
      WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 7
      Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
      Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
      COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
      GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
      SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
      GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
      WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
      FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
      STK vs NTH 15:20ES
      PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
      View All Fixtures
      Round 8
      Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
      HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
      GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
      BRI vs COL 19:25G
      RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
      Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
      MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
      WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 9
      Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
      Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
      COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
      GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
      PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
      NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
      FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
      GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
      STK vs ESS 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 10
      Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
      Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
      BRI vs HAW 13:45G
      MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
      STK vs FRE 16:35ES
      ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
      ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
      COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
      WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 11
      Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
      Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
      CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
      GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
      GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
      FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
      COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
      WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
      ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
      View All Fixtures
      Round 12
      Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
      Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
      BRI vs FRE 16:35G
      GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
      WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      STK vs CAR 13:10ES
      RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
      GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
      Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
      View All Fixtures
      Round 13
      Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
      Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
      BRI vs WCE 13:40G
      FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
      WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
      Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
      ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 14
      Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
      COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
      Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
      GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
      STK vs GEE 19:25ES
      Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 15
      Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
      WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
      Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
      GCF vs STK 13:40MS
      SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
      CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
      Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
      View All Fixtures
      Round 16
      Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
      Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
      GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
      WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
      MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
      Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
      WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
      ESS vs STK 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 17
      Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
      Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
      FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
      NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
      WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
      ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
      STK vs MEL 15:20ES
      BRI vs GWS 16:40G
      View All Fixtures
      Round 18
      Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
      COL vs NTH 19:50ES
      Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
      GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
      WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
      WBU vs STK 19:25ES
      GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
      Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
      HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
      PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
      View All Fixtures
      Round 19
      Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
      Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
      HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
      COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
      BRI vs PTA 19:25G
      NTH vs STK 19:25ES
      Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
      FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
      ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
      View All Fixtures
      Round 20
      Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
      Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
      MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
      GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
      WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
      ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
      GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
      FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 21
      Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
      WBU vs COL 19:50ES
      Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
      BRI vs CAR 13:45G
      HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
      GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
      STK vs SYD 19:25ES
      PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
      RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
      FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 22
      Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
      WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
      RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
      GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
      COL vs GCF 19:25ES
      PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
      BRI vs GEE 15:20G
      ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 23
      Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
      STK vs BRI 12:00ES
      ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
      GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
      SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
      NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
      GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
      ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
      FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      AFL 2015
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D % Pts
      Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
      View all
       

      Follow Us on Facebook

      Featured advertisers