There is no lack of finals experience for either Geelong or Richmond with both sides contesting for the better part of the last decade. However, this will be only the third time to two will square off against each other in a Grand Final. The first time was 1931 when the Cats thrashed the Tigers. The Tigers turned the tables in 1967 with a narrow nine point victory.
In a Friday night (Melbourne time) Semi-Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Geelong Cats picked themselves up from their previous week's loss to the Collingwood Magpies, to keep their finals hopes alive and defeat the reigning Premiers, the West Coast Eagles. The Cats had been under intense media scrutiny all week, as many pundits predicted the Cats would again drop out of the finals series with two straight losses. The Eagles too had their own mid-week drama to deal with, as small forward Willie Rioli was handed a provisional suspension for interfering with a urine test administered by the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority.
The Cats opened the game with a burst of goals. Their plan was clear. Run the ball through the middle of the ground, using handpassing and accurate kicking to catch the Eagle intercept markers [mark = catch] out of position. After nine minutes of play the Cats had booted three goals, keeping West Coast scoreless. Geelong's Captain Joel Selwood continually put his body on the line and midfielders Tim Kelly and Cameron Guthrie used their pace and ball skills to break the Eagles defensive lines. The Eagles abandoned their zone defense structure and played a man-on-man defense,
Round fifteen has opened up the race for the top eight with some highly fancied teams dropping games they were expected to win. Geelong bounced back from defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide last week by taking care of the other Adelaide team (the Crows) at GMHBA Stadium, holding on to top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll in the process.
Collingwood drops down to third on the Power Poll courtesy of a shock loss at the hands of a resurgent North Melbourne which climbs all the way to eighth under the control of interim coach Rhyce Shaw. The Eagles once again used some last minute heroics to defeat an unlucky Hawthorn at the MCG, with Jamie Cripps providing the match winning goal on this occasion.
Melbourne Demons vs Geelong Cats (MCG)
State of Play:
This is a battle between two differing line-ups: the finals hardened Cats and the young enthusiastic Demons. After a disastrous end to 2017, Melbourne finished strongly this season to book their finals berth for the first time in 12 years. By contrast, Geelong has missed the finals only once in the same 12 year period. The contrast continues with the Cats playing two easy beats in Gold Coast and Fremantle to complete the minor round, winning both games by over 100 points each.
Round thirteen will kick off with Thursday night footy at Adelaide Oval, with Port Adelaide – fresh off a victory over the reigning premiers – taking on the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval. This makes for a short turnaround from a cracking Queen’s Birthday Monday clash that saw a red hot Collingwood take down the highly fancied Melbourne Demons in front of a massive MCG crowd.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
With the trade period soon to commence, several more clubs have announced changes to their lists.
Christian Howard, Tom Young and Brett Goodes have been delisted by the Western Bulldogs. Young was originally drafted by Collingwood and played nine games 2011-12 before being traded to the Bulldogs where he played a further 15 games. Goodes debuted in 2013 and played 15 games. He recently played in the Bulldogs VFL premiership win. Howard was drafted in 2009 but a hip injury wiped out the first half of 2010 and he spent the remainder of the year in the VFL. He debuted in 2011 and played six games. The young defender/wingman had an excellent preseason in 2012 before a knee injury sidelined him for six weeks. He came back to play 11 games. Named as an emergency six times, he managed only one game in 2013 and just seven more in 2014.
Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from AAMI Stadium, Australia
When we talk about the 2013 AFL season, the two teams that squared off against each other at AAMI Stadium in Round 17 could not have more contrasting tales. Geelong traveled to Adelaide having dropped just two games all year and looking destined to continue on for the rest of the season entrenched in the Top Two. In contrast Adelaide had seen its season go from bad to worse. After a successful 2012 that almost resulted in a Grand Final berth the Crows now faced the real prospect on missing out on Finals' action altogether.
Things did not quite go to plan as the Crows dominated the general play in the first quarter and only some inaccurate kicking in front of goals stopped them from having a sizable lead at quarter time.