An attendance of 97,000 is expected at the MCG on Friday night when the forever dominant Cats meet the Tigers who have well and truly kicked the door down.
Richmond have once again set their sights high and have the Tiger army right behind them. Geelong continued their impressive record over the Tigers when they last met during the season. History however favours the Tigers who beat the Cats by 118 points the last time these two sides met in a final back in 1969.
While much of the hysteria is centred around the Dusty vs Dangerfield battle, Joel Selwood’s fitness has also been a talking point ahead of this match. The Geelong captain missed the latter stages of the season but could be expected to line up against the Tigers on Friday night.
Richmond midfielder Josh Caddy will also be vying for a return after injuring himself in Round 21. Caddy’s absence paved the emergence of Jacob Townsend who kicked 11 goals in the final two games of the season, making team selection for this match even more interesting.
Both teams have been lauded for their pressure this season. Geelong were ranked the best tackling team, allowing their pressure to compensate for their lack of pace. The abundance of small forwards at Tigerland has encouraged a more direct game plan, forcing the ball inside 50 and allowing their forwards to rove off the packs.
One of the more interesting match ups will be Geelong’s Harry Taylor against Richmond’s David Astbury. Taylor kicked a game high four goals against the Tigers in Round 21 and it is expected Alex Rance will mark a more explosive Tom Hawkins. Harry Taylor’s desire to play one-on-one will better suit Astbury as opposed to the more attacking minded Alex Rance.
This match has been built up as though it were a Grand Final and like a Grand Final the outcome could be decided through a moment of sheer brilliance.
Prediction: Tigers by 12 points