AFL Grand Final 2022: Tears flow from groups of Cats brothers

Tom De Koning, Kade Kolodjashnij, Brad Scott and Troy Selwood were among the proud brothers in the winners’ bedrooms, write ROB FORSAITH and DANIEL CHERNY.

Tom De Koning shed tears in the stands knowing how hard younger brother Sam worked to win a prime ministership at the age of 21.

There were also misty eyes for the Kolodjashnij twins, Kade and Jake. Cameron and Zach Guthrie were able to share their brotherly embrace shortly after the siren, while the Selwood clan were celebrated as kings in the victors’ chambers after Joel’s coronation as Prime Minister’s Captain.

Hawthorn is colloquially known as the Family Club but, based on the events of the past week, perhaps that mantle should be passed on. Even Brad Scott was in the bowels of the MCG, reveling in the success of his twin.

There were tearful scenes everywhere you looked on Saturday. Carlton ruckman Tom, flanked by his siblings, parents Terry De Koning and mother Jackie, was overwhelmed with the emotion of the moment.

“I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. It was great for the family,” Tom De Koning told CODE Sports. I’m so, so proud of him. It’s an amazing feeling to having the whole family here. We were all nervous before the game, and so was Sam.

“He’s such a relaxed guy. It’s funny to see him running, it looks like he’s not really ready to go, but he’s still doing his job.

Few players have enjoyed a rise in such a meteoric season as Sam De Koning, who was three when Hawthorn drafted Lance Franklin.

De Koning capped off a stellar year by polling a Norm Smith vote and scoring the first goal of his career, celebrated with almost as much jubilation among his teammates as Selwood’s in the final quarter.

The young gun started the season as a raw key position player, able to play at either end of the pitch, but with just one game under his belt. De Koning has since become a rock in defence; he would have won this year’s Rising Star award if not for Nick Daicos.

“I don’t care about individual awards. That’s (a premiership) what we want, that’s why we play football,” he said. “I will savor this moment forever.

“I started this season just wanting to get a game. Our team has been so good for so many years, so I was just trying to do my best to break through the team in the first round.

“I did. Then it was to try to play footy consistently, I just can’t believe we’re here.

“It was such a special moment to jump over the fence and hug my family because I love them so much.”

The Kolodjashnij twins were drafted in 2013, Kade to the Gold Coast and Jake to the Cats.

Kade started his career faster before being traded to Melbourne at the end of 2018. But a concussion cruelly ravaged his time with the Demons, limiting him to just two matches in red and blue and an early retirement at the end of 2020.

There was no hint of jealousy of the old Sun and Dee in the chambers; only pride.

“It’s amazing. It was such a surreal feeling to step out on the pitch. I was just in tears. It’s been a long journey for Jake to get to this. No better way to do it around family and friends. To be honest, it doesn’t seem real,” Kade says.

“We’ve had a pretty close bond since the day we were born. We did everything together growing up, all the football training sessions together as juniors all the way through. We still have a close bond. It’s so special to see him win the flag today, it’s amazing.

“It’s a bit relieved to see him win a flag. He lost one in 2020, lost the preliminaries, I can’t be happier for him. Unbelievable.”

The feeling was shared. For Geelong great defender Jake, it was special to have loved ones on hand for the realization of a long held dream.

“Having all my family supporting me all my life, seeing them on the pitch, I got a little emotional,” Jake says.

“All the support and help they have given me throughout my career. To finally get a premiership and achieve ultimate success was pretty surreal.

Zach Guthrie was drafted by the Cats through the 2016 rookie draft and, prior to this season, had managed 33 games in five seasons. He was an emergency for the 2020 Grand Finals.

Guthrie had been a bit of a huge boy among Geelong fans, who apparently expected him to immediately match his older brother Cameron’s level of consistency and class.

Chris Scott’s decision to back the 24-year-old to become a key cog in the Cats’ defense this season is one of many that helped secure a premiership.

“I was actually a little emotional at the end. It’s funny, you just can’t control it,” says Zach Guthire. “I didn’t know what to expect, how I would react.

“He (Cameron Guthrie) has helped me tremendously to get to this point. Celebrating with him and then seeing my family as well, it’s a pretty amazing moment for all of us.