We predict what what will and won't happen ahead of this weekend's AFL Preliminary Finals.
Adelaide Crows (1st) vs Geelong Cats (2nd) @Adelaide Oval, Friday 7:20pm
Stat Fact: Adelaide - The Crows have been on fire at home in recent years. Dating back to the start of last season Adelaide have won 21 of a possible 26 games at Adelaide Oval.
Will they win their most important home game of the past two seasons to advance through to the Grand Final?
Geelong - The Cats are aiming to reach the Grand Final for the first time since the 2011 season. That also happened to be the last time that they were the AFL Premiers.
Will this season prove to be Geelong’s season or will it be another close, but not close enough type of year?
Big Talking Point: Brendon Goddard, a two-time member of the All-Australian team, has come out and publicly backed Adelaide to beat Geelong describing them as “bulletproof”. He also went on to say that there was no weak area in their game. Goddard shares the same views as many who are backing Adelaide to win this encounter. Adelaide have lost only seven games all season re-instating his views. The Crowes regardless of what happens on Friday night, should perform strongly as expected by Goddard among others.
Three-time AFL Premiership winner Johnathan Brown has come out and stated his potential concerns for Geelong heading into their Friday night clash against Adelaide. He believes that the sides that got the weekend of will come into their games fresher. He also talked about how he believed that Geelong would struggle to bring the same intensity that they did last round in their 59 point thrashing of then Premiership smokey’s Sydney. In other bad news for Geelong coming from Brown, he was also tipping Adelaide to beat them and advance to
the final game of the season. Geelong would no doubt ignore this type of stuff but given that it is coming from Brown, it is just a tad concerning for the side.
What Will Happen: A pre-season trial was played between these two sides earlier in the year, while the trial means next to nothing in the grand scheme of things, the closeness and intensity of it does. Adelaide ended up winning the game 70-64. It will be a tight game with not much room for error given the skill-sets of both sides. It will also be intense given the high-stakes for whoever wins the game. But most importantly it will be close. These two sides are to evenly matched to let the other get to far ahead. This should be one of those clashes that really make you go wow and appreciated what is being played out before you.
What Won’t Happen: In the last encounter between these two teams back in Round 18 Adelaide scored only four behinds in the fourth quarter and nothing else. Given the expected closeness of this clash expect Adelaide to have massively fixed those scoring problems against Geelong. Adelaide should show the exact opposite type of form in this quarter against Geelong and come up clutch in their biggest game of the season.
For Geelong also linking back to this game, it’s safe to assume that they won’t have a repeat of their first quarter. By quarter time they had scored only 1.4 and were down by 22 points. This effectively ended the game for them even though there was still three quarters left. This will have no doubt been rectified in an attempt for Geelong to reach their first Grand Final since 2011.
Our Tip: Geelong by four in a game that produces under 90 points for both sides.
Richmond Tigers vs Greater Western Sydney Giants @Melbourne Cricket Ground, Saturday 4:45pm
Stat Fact: Richmond - The last time Richmond were Premiers the Summer Olympics were being held in Moscow and the Bulldogs had won the title over in the NRL (1980). This game will take them once step closer to winning their first title in 37 years.
Will Richmond make another team regret having to play them (cough, cough Geelong)?
Greater Western Sydney - Last season the Giants were at the same stage that they are at now before they were eliminated by the Western Bulldogs 89-83. They are aiming to make their first ever Grand Final as a club.
Will the Giants crumble under all the pressure of will they also defy their own odds and reach the Big Dance?
Big Talking Point: Richmond are playing in this Preliminary Final courtesy of a 51 point thrashing of Geelong which earnt them a week off and the right to host Greater Western Sydney. All year long they have played great football and ended up finishing the season with 60 points, only two behind Minor Premiers Adelaide. Their 3rd place finish was led by players such as Dustin Martin (what can’t he do) and Jack Riewoldt (51.34). Ahead of what will be a massive crowd and a massive difference in the expected number of fans, the Tigers are well placed to pounce and book their date next round with either Adelaide or Geelong.
Greater Western Sydney come into this high-importance clash on the back of a bit of inconsistency from the Western Sydney based club. They got taught a lesson in Week One of the finals going down to Adelaide by 36 points. While before that they had claimed maximum points in only four of their past nine games. But they bounced back pretty quickly after the Adelaide loss handing out their own lesson to the West Coast Eagles as they were victorious by a score-line of 125-58. It’s all on the line here for the Giants but whether they
can deliver when it matters is a major issue that seems to have yet been resolved.
What Will Happen: This clash has a hint of unpredictability to it. Richmond could blow Greater Western Sydney right out of the water and come away with a big, convincing win or the two sides can battle it out in a very close game. But nobody is really talking about a big GWS win, which is what I see happening. The Giants are not only a club that possess threats all over the park but they are also ones that are determined to make amends for last year. Those two factors combined with Richmond crumbling under the weight of history will see the Giants claim a historic Grand Final berth. This will prove to be the game that led to the Giants first ever Premiership. You can mark it down right here.
What Won’t Happen: Richmond changing the record books. Some clubs deal with history well (see Cronulla winning their first ever Premiership last season as well as Cleveland claiming their first NBA Championship two seasons ago). But some clubs don’t and unfortunately for Richmond I see them as one of the clubs in the second category. They have had numerous opportunities since that famous 1980 win to add to their tally of trophies but they haven’t. Despite the talent in their squad I can’t see that changing for this game.
For Greater Western Sydney their attack putting two and two together. For large parts of the season Western Sydney as a whole have struggled to put up points despite having some of the best goal kickers in the league on their books. I can’t see that changing for this clash, however there should be enough in the tank to beat Richmond.
Our Tip: GWS by 16 in a clash that will produce under 100 points for both sides.