Long-time friend backing Gary Rohan and Geelong in 2020 AFL grand final

SCOREBOARD PRESSURE: Gary Rohan celebrates one of his three goals against Brisbane in the preliminary final. Picture: Getty Images
SCOREBOARD PRESSURE: Gary Rohan celebrates one of his three goals against Brisbane in the preliminary final. Picture: Getty Images

A lifelong friend says Geelong forward Gary Rohan will take confidence into his third AFL grand final on Saturday night.

Leigh Evans grew up playing football with Rohan at Cobden and still speaks to his mate weekly.

The duo started in Auskick and progressed through the ranks, eventually playing Hampden league senior football together before Rohan was drafted to Sydney 11 years ago.

He played in two losing grand finals for the Swans (2014 and 2016) before joining Geelong last year.

Evans, who supports the Cats, said Rohan felt settled in the Geelong forward line after spending time at half-back and on a wing early in his career and was ready to face Richmond.

Rohan has kicked 22 goals from 18 matches this season, including three in the Cats' preliminary final win against Brisbane.

"With (Lance) Franklin being more of a target at Sydney I just feel they (the Cats) have used him a lot more," Evans said.

"His pressure acts down forward are good and all those sort of things an AFL clubs wants."

Evans said Rohan was ready to embrace the challenge and would be better for the experience of playing in two losing deciders.

"He'll definitely be more confident with the people around him," he said.

"There's the hunger to win, he's barracked for Geelong all his life. Playing with guys like (Gary) Ablett, (Tom) Hawkins and (Joel) Selwood helps his confidence.

"He's a confidence player so his confidence would be sky-high."

Evans said Cobden, a small farming community with a strong football pedigree, was "right behind" Rohan with banners around town.

"It would be huge (if Gary won) and good for the Cobden football club too," he said.

"There's a lot of juniors who have come through that area - Ben Cunnington, Zach Merrett, Jackson Merrett, Sean Darcy and Gary and Sam Walsh's dad (Wayne) was involved there so Sam's got a connection as well.

"It's a credit to Hook Smith and Marty Darcy for what they did with the juniors in that era."

This story From Auskick to an an AFL grand final, Rohan's riding high says his mate first appeared on The Standard.