Close, ‘Darty’ join the party

Support local, independent journalism

The SE Voice is the Limestone Coast’s only fully digital publication. Locally owned & operated, we deliver all the latest news & sport direct to your fingertips. We're run by a creative team of local journalists all based in the region. News as we know has changed - we're delivering it first and free. Thank you for your support in keeping local news alive.

Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Close, ‘Darty’ join the party

Local footballers Brad Close and Jeremy Cameron took the country to the city on Saturday – lighting up the hallowed MCG turf as an integral part in Geelong claiming the 2022 AFL premiership before showcasing their laid-back country celebrations.

Playing in front of a full-house of 100,024 football fanatics – the largest crowd at the venue in 36 years of AFL/VFL history – Close, who started his career at North Gambier Football Club and Dartmoor’s Cameron, hit the scoreboard with two goals a piece on the way to the Cats’ 81-point crushing of the Sydney Swans.

The dynamic duo featured prominently on field much to the delight of family, friends and former teammates watching the match.

Both started on the field with Close in the action early, finding two touches in the opening minutes and seemingly everywhere in the thick of the action.

Cameron was tightly checked in the first term, with small forward Close marking on the 50-metre line late in the term to kick a goal, while Cameron followed shortly after only to hit the post.

The fast start put the Cats in prime position to secure the coveted premiership and never let their foot off the loud pedal despite holding a solid lead.

Less than three minutes into the third quarter Close kicked his second major for the game, while Cameron slotted his first for the match in the final term followed shortly after by a second major as the Cats enjoyed every minute of the action.

Cameron got the crowd and Cats supporters watching along at home up and about upon slotting his second goal of the grand final, getting the “Darty Party” started by simulating the cracking of a can in celebration, drawing shrieks of delights from fans and commentators alike.

Both players were instrumental in dishing off handballs to their teammates, with Close passing off to decorated Geelong captain Joel Selwood who scored an emotional goal late in the game.

The pair’s celebrations continued well after receiving their premiership medallions on the dais, with Close taking to social media to post footage of Cameron drinking from the Premiership Cup on the bus ride back to Geelong, labelling it a “Darty Party”, referencing Cameron’s hometown.

Cameron continued the fun and frivolity, posting images of his all-night celebrations, hilariously allowing one of his new calves to wear his medallion into the night, before partying around a Cats emblazoned fire-pit in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

The pair then fronted up for the Cats’ Family Day in Geelong, where they were joined by family members.

Among those attending were Cameron’s parents Kelly and Leon, who watched the game from the stands at the MCG with family and friends.

“Jeremy played pretty good, I’m glad he kicked a few goals in the end. He always does his job, so it was good,” Mrs Cameron said.

“I love the celebrations he does like that (pretending to crack a can), it always gets the crowd going.”

Mrs Cameron said the family had enjoyed taking part in all aspects of the grand final, from watching the traditional parade, to cheering in the stands and finishing up with the Cats’ Family Day in Geelong.

“We saw him at the grand final parade but not up close, he rang and we were talking to each other, he stayed out at his place the night before … he does not like to have anyone staying there before a major game, so he can chill out, but we did speak on the phone beforehand,” she said.

“We saw him down in the change-rooms after it finished … that was unexpected but great fun. He was busy getting interviewed by the media, we got in the rooms and saw him and gave him hugs but we also did that out on the oval too.

“We are just as proud as punch, we are on cloud nine too.

“It’s so good, it’s so good for him and the team because you know as parents and family how much they really want to win it.

“In 2019 we saw the heartbreak with the Giants, everyone in the change-rooms crying … but this time there were happy tears.”

Andrew Close and his family were also thrilled with the match played by their son and brother Brad, cheering him on from the MCG stands.

“It was an awesome display by Geelong for four quarters,” he said.

“It was great to see Brad play his part in it, particularly early when the heat was on.

“He kicked a goal in the first quarter and then went on to kick another in the third quarter from an intercept mark.

“It was a pretty special moment when he gave one off to Joel (Selwood) late in the game and for Joel to get a goal he was quite emotional when he kicked that, it was special to see Brad embrace him after that.”

Mr Close said his family was surprised to be allowed on the MCG after the match to “share in the glory”.

“The family was over there, his sisters and their partners as well and there were some mates there to see him play, we got to celebrate with him after the game which was really special,” he said.

“We went into the rooms afterwards and got to share the victory song with them all, it was very special and quite surreal.

“He was extremely happy, relieved and happy, it’s a long season and they have a fair bit of pressure during the year, he was over the moon and pinching himself as well that he lived out his childhood dream, firstly playing AFL, secondly playing in a grand final and thirdly winning the premiership.”

The duo will enjoy a break during the AFL off-season to reflect on their 2022 achievements before returning to the Cattery with their sights firmly set on the 2023 season ahead.

Why wait? Get more stories like this delivered straight to your inbox
Join our digital edition mailing list and stay up to date on the latest news, events and special announcements from across the Limestone Coast.

Your local real estate guide - every Thursday


You might also like