We have a go at predicting what will and won't happen in Saturday's AFL Grand Final between Richmond and Adelaide.
Adelaide Crows vs Richmond Tigers @Melbourne Cricket Ground, Saturday 2:30pm
Stat Fact: Adelaide - Should they win on Saturday it will be the third AFL Premiership in the clubs' history. As well as that, a win would mean the Crows will have claimed the double this year as their AFLW team also won the Women’s competition this season.
Richmond - It’s been 37 years since Richmond last won the Premiership (1980). Should they take out the Premiership it will break one of the worst current runs in Australian sports.
Big Talking Point: Adelaide were the most dominant side in the league this season as they led the rest of the AFL on their way to claiming the minor Premiership. They won 15 of 22 games and were always keeping their opponents second guessing about what they were going to do. As well as this, in the Top 20 Goal Kickers Chart they had Eddie Betts (5th with 54.32), Taylor Walker (6th with 52.35) and Josh Jenkins (15th with 45.21). They have also won eight of their past 11 clashes heading into this game and have strong momentum on their side. Their last clash was a 61-point win over Geelong. Adelaide are deservedly the favourites heading into the most important game of the season and without a doubt have the skills and power to beat Richmond.
To open their finals campaign, Richmond made light work of Geelong, winning by 51. Defensively that game they were also on point as they kept Geelong to only 40 points, as well as no goals in the first quarter and only one in the fourth. Then in the Preliminary Finals they again taught their opposition how to play properly as they easily beat GWS by 36 and kept them to only one major in the third quarter. The Tigers rightfully finished 3rd and it will be their great defensive unit that gives them a shot of winning this encounter. While Adelaide are rightfully favoured to claim the Premiership writing of Richmond would be a massive mistake.
The Crows will again use the ‘Anthem Stare’ in Saturday’s decider. This is when they stare at their opponents while the National Anthem is being played. Crows chief executive Andrew Fagan has claimed that it is just a tool for his players to use to be able to cope with the anthem. But it could also potentially be viewed as a mind-game tactic, trying to intimidate your opponents a little bit before the game gets underway. It’s worked so far as they’ve won both their finals games this series and now they get the chance to do it at a packed out MCG.
Richmond will no longer be chasing after Brisbane Lions player Josh Schache according to a report on the clubs website. Richmond had been previously linked to him but in the report Tigers Football Manager Dan Richardson said that they would not be going after him in the NAB AFL Trade Period. Needless to say that the Tigers have other options that they could possibly pursue as well as this not being their biggest concern this week.
What Will Happen: A defensive-minded game. For Richmond in the finals they have been on fire defensively as mentioned previously. Meanwhile for Adelaide they kept their opponents to 90 points or under an impressive 17 times this year. So despite all of the attacking threats that both teams boast in the likes of Betts & Walker and Riewoldt & Martin, this game should prove to be one where both sides have their defences very well organised and ready to play. Richmond won’t be able to out-score Adelaide so they will have to out-defend them. However if the goals do come raining in then it’s safe to expect a healthy win from Adelaide given how powerful they’ve been this season in front of goal.
What Won’t Happen: The desired result for Richmond. As the AFL has shown this year it is a cruel game. GWS were denied a first ever Grand Final appearance, Essendon couldn’t continue their great story after being badly affected by ASADA while the Western Bulldogs weren’t able to get the opportunity to defend what they made theirs last season. The same should unfortunately apply to the Tigers leaving them with another season that they were unable to break the drought.
Our Tip: Adelaide by 12 and the Norm Smith Medal to be awarded to Taylor Walker.