TWELVE months ago, Matt Sully watched his Geelong teammates win the VFL premiership.
The South Warrnambool export didn’t want to be on the sidelines a second time around.
Sully, 20, will line up at full-back as the Cats strive for back-to-back VFL flags at Docklands on Sunday.
He has cemented his spot in defence, playing 18 games and putting an injury-interrupted debut season behind him.
The accolades have followed.
Sully was named in the VFL team of the year and was invited to October’s AFL state combine.
But the Roosters premiership player has one immediate goal — to help the Cats topple Box Hill Hawks in the VFL decider.
“I am rapt to be in it after watching last year,” Sully said.
“I am looking forward to the day and to hopefully being part of a premiership team with a few boys who will have AFL careers.”
Sully said he expected to play on Hawthorn-listed tall Jonathon Ceglar, who he matched up on earlier this season.
Ceglar, 22, has played two games for the Hawks this season after crossing from Collingwood.
“He is tall and floats in the ruck,” Sully said.
“He is not that strong, so hopefully I can get on top of him there.”
The grand final will be Sully’s first game at Docklands.
A crowd of 20,000 is expected.
“We had 6000 people at the qualifying final against Casey (Scorpions) in Geelong,” Sully said.
“They follow the VFL pretty heavily, some of the diehards.”
Sully’s goal is to join some of his VFL teammates on an AFL list, but he said he wouldn’t be overawed about playing in front of a bumper crowd.
“On the big stage that’s when recruiters are going to watch you and see how you perform and it means more than a regular home-and-away game,” he said. “But I don’t let that get to me. I will do what I have been doing all year.”
Koroit’s Dom Gleeson and North Warrnambool Eagles’ Billie Smedts will play alongside Sully.
Sully said Gleeson, a VFL life member, had played a strong role in his development this season.
“He is one of the best leaders I have had to look up to and was one of the first guys to help me settle in at Geelong and make me feel welcome,” he said.