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.
Both senior coaches are also well-equipped as both have tasted the ultimate success as players and coaches. The trick for both will be the crucial match-ups. Which of the Cats can curtail the influence of Dustin Martin? Which of the Tigers get the job on Joel Selwood, Gary Ablett and Patrick Dangerfield? Defense will also be key. Jack Riewoldt and Tom Lynch can be matchwinners. Dean Rioli and Jason Castagna will also be lurking in the forward line when not roaming the middle. It would not surprise to see Harry Taylor and Lachie Henderson take Lynch and Riewoldt. Zach Touhy has been playing more as a winger and forward in recent times, but it would not surprise to see him deployed down back to help out the defense. James Stewart has also been very solid in defense. For the Tigers, they have plenty of options to go with Tom Hawkins and Brandan Parfitt. Grimes most likely could go to Hawkins with Vlastuin helping out along with Nathan Broad and David Astbury. Houli's run out of defense will be vital as well.
Both ruck divisions are excellent. However, the Cats might have the edge. They have Rhys Stanley and Mark Blicavs with Hawkins sometimes doing the boundary work. The Tigers will have to rely on Toby Nankervis. Ivan Soldo would have been a handy back up for Nankervis but suffered a season ending knee injury in the Tigers' Round 17 26 point win over the Cats.
The midfields are also stacked with talent. For the Cats, there are the aforementioned Selwood, Ablett and Dangerfield along with Sam Menegola, Brandan Parfitt, and James Parsons. Blicavs can pretty much play all over the ground so he could go where ever he is needed. The Tigers have Martin, Cotchin, Rioli, Prestia and Marlion Pickett (who played in the 2019 premiership in his first season). Sidney Stack could also be a chance for selection. His speed is excellent and he can kick goals.
An interesting fact is - for ell their success - this will be Patrick Dangerfield's first ever Grand Final at any level. Renowned for stepping up in big games, he will be ready.
The Gabba could be considered neutral ground for both teams. Weather could also be a factor. Dry conditions would be ideal but there is also the heat and humidity to consider. Having to quarantine in Queensland for much of the season, both should be acclimatized, but one never knows. It rained during the Preliminary Final between the Cats and Lions, but the Cats handled the conditions well.
Ironically, it will be the first all-Victorian Grand Final since 2011 when the Cats defeated Collingwood. Port Adelaide finished first in the standings, just as they did in 2002, 2003, and 2004. it was only 2004 in which they defeated the Lions for their first AFL premiership. In another twist, the Lions finished second behind Port that year, just as they did this year.
No matter who wins, expect a fierce contest. Both Geelong and Richmond know how to apply pressure. With so much talent on all lines, this game could go down to the wire and be one for the ages. Enjoy, all, it should be an absolute cracker of a game.
Sources: theage.com.au, afl.com.au, AFL Record Season Guide
Article last changed on Wednesday, January 06, 2021 - 8:23 PM EST