Rhys Blocks External Noise – 93.9 Geelong Bay

By on September 20, 2022 0

Even just last week, Rhys Stanley’s place in the Geelong squad was in question.

After a modest effort in the Final Qualifying win over Collingwood, pundits and non-pundits believed Jonathon Ceglar would be the best option if the Cats were to reach and win a Grand Final.

It was outside noise that didn’t concern Stanley, who became good at caring only about the opinions of those who matter.

And the 31-year-old has a chance to silence doubters for good if he can help guide Geelong to a first premiership in 11 years when he meets Sydney at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m concerned about things internally, not externally,” Stanley said. “To be honest, I don’t read anything. I don’t watch anything; I don’t read it.

“It kinda freaks me out when I read a lot of it, so I let it go.

“I think those who know are inside the walls here; they are the ones I trust and listen to.

“And Scotty’s (Coach Chris Scott) has been great for me. He has always supported me and we have a great relationship.

“Nigel Lappin worked a lot with me, and he was also fantastic throughout the trip.”

Stanley is well aware that playing in the ruck is a position that comes under scrutiny.

That scrutiny is amplified in Geelong, which has had a revolving door of ruckmen since Brad Ottens retired after the 2011 grand final.

“Ruck is not an easy position to play,” he said. “You are an outcast; you’re in the middle there, and all eyes are on you.

“So you have to perform. And, when you don’t, he’s under fire.

“It was fun, though. I enjoyed it.

Stanley will face another often maligned big man on the first rebound, former St Kilda team-mate Tom Hickey.

The couple spent two years together at the Saints after Hickey arrived from the Gold Coast and before Stanley headed to Kardinia Park.

“I love playing against Tommy,” Stanley said. “He’s a great guy and we have a great relationship.

“There’s actually a lot of banter on the pitch, which is great fun every time I play against Tommy.

“I look forward to the battle; he has played good football for the past two years.

“We still have a bunch of mutual pals who are already going through the banter, which is a lot of fun.”

Image: Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens