March 25, 2023

Geelong stars have been accused of ridiculing the elderly with a seemingly harmless Mad Monday stunt where they dress up as retirees to hit back at critics who called them too old and slow to win the flag.

The Cats played the oldest team in league history in Saturday’s grand final, when they defeated the Sydney Swans by 81 points to break an 11-year drought in the premiership.

The players gave a not-so-subtle reminder to all the critics who wrote them off Monday by arriving at the Wharf Head in Geelong in a nursing home bus dressed as older men – complete with gray hair, makeup and walkers.

Some of the club’s most experienced players, including Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood and Tom Hawkins, took part in the prank, dressing up as retirees for the Mad Monday celebrations. The stunt received public reaction for ‘disparaging the elderly’

Joel Selwood of the Cats (right) is helped from the nursing home bus by teammate Patrick Dangerfield in scenes some Australians found offensive

The ‘too old’ criticism was clearly a theme within the team this year – and the Cats social media team was quick to joke about it after the big final win by posting an image of ‘Geelong Retirement Home’ on Twitter.

Most football fans found the team’s celebrations hilarious, but others were outraged by the stunt.

A listener named Norm called Melbourne radio station 3AW to say, ‘I don’t see the funny side of belittling the elderly. I think it will tarnish Joel Selwood’s accolades from Saturday.”

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Another listener named Diana was equally outraged by the costume party.

“I retired last year and I seem to have been the butt of a lot of jokes lately,” she said.

The Cats were quick to post this image after the premiership victory, when they criticized critics who thought they were too old and too slow to win the flag.

“I get demoralized by people saying you’re old and there are old jokes on the radio. And jokes on TV and belittling the elderly. I don’t agree at all.

“We should be better than that in this day and age.”

Others took to Twitter to condemn the Mad Monday celebration.

“Outraged by this stunt. Those who find themselves in this situation every day due to circumstances beyond their control do not need to be fooled by these people. This brought my wife to tears. Living this way is not a matter of choice. Those who do would be happy to kick a ball for $,” one user noted.

However, other fans made it clear that the players were actually taking a stance against ageism.

“I can’t believe Geelong players are criticized for ripping off old people. They have rightly been told that they cannot achieve anything because they are at least 5 years too old. I don’t even like the @GeelongCats but this is ridiculous. Fair play for them,” said one Twitter user.

“These players were told they were too old to win and they denounce the commentary about it. Everything I’ve seen of the Geelong players after the grand final has been exemplary,” said another.

3AW host Dee Dee Dunleavy also disagreed with callers who were offended by Geelong’s stunt.

‘How can you be insulted by someone in a senior’s costume? I don’t know,’ she said.

“I don’t agree because I thought it was really funny. They made no sense. They didn’t say old people are terrible. They said old people can win the AFL grand final. It’s not like they say old people are hopeless and can’t do anything.’

Cats player Tom Hawkins was one of many stars who dressed up as retirees for the team’s hilarious Mad Monday celebrations

The players went out of their way to pull off the look on Monday, with Patrick Dangerfield admitting that he spent 90 minutes in the barber chair to get the look.

“Well, it’s appropriate – the oldest team ever,” he told the Herald Sun.

‘Come in with the pension bus. To be fair, most of their moves aren’t set up like that, that’s probably the most worrying thing of all.”

“It’s one thing to do these things and we generally do them pretty well, but I think there’s a little extra sauce on it today because we were lucky enough to win it all.”