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.
The AFL recently listed the 40 nominees for the 2020 All-Australian team. Out of those, 22 were selected. The 40 nominees were:
BRISBANE: Harris Andrews (2019 AA), Hugh McCluggage, Lachie Neale (2019 AA)
CARTON: Jacob Weitering
COLLINGWOOD: Taylor Adams, Brayden Maynard, Darcy Moore, Scott Pendlebury (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 AA, nominated 2009, 2015, 2016, 2018)
ESSENDON: Jordan Ridley
FREMANTLE: Nat Fyfe (2014, 2015, 2019 (captain) All Australian, nominated 2011, 2013), Luke Ryan, Matt Taberner
There is an old adage in footy that a team has to lose a few finals to win one. it proved true for Richmond as they lost their first ever final in 1916 - a semi-final against Carlton. They then lost their first Grand Final to Collingwood in 1919. They lost again to Carlton in 1920 in a semi-final, but since there were only four teams eligible at that time, they were still through to the Grand Final which they won. They have since gone on to win another 10 premierships.
Despite an almighty scare against the lowly ranked Tigers, the Western Bulldogs ran out 10 point winners in a stirring contest at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Fielding a young team with one eye firmly on the future, the Tigers almost pulled off a massive upset as they led deep into the final quarter. In the end it was the class of the enigmatic Jake Stringer and young gun Marcus Bontempelli that helped the Bulldogs to victory and kept their top-four hopes alive.
Richmond continued to show some late season form in the second half of Round 18, winning their fourth consecutive game in a tough encounter on the road against the West Coast Eagles. The match was reduced to a scrum at times with rain falling in torrential bursts, but the Tigers were better in the awful conditions and made the most of their opportunities in a game that was never really in doubt after Richmond got away to a solid start.
Geelong went into the Round 7 clash with Richmond holding an imposing record. The Cats had beaten up the Tigers in the last ten clashes between the two combatants with an average winning margin of 65 points. To find the last Richmond victory against Geelong you have to flick the pages of AFL history book back to Round 9, 2006 - a sobering thought for a Richmond team already struggling to regain any of the solid form it displayed in 2013. Complacency would not be an issue for the Cats who tasted defeat for the first time this season at the hands of an impressive Port Adelaide in the previous round.
Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA
Taking a leaf right out of the NFL playbook, the AFL decided to run its own version of Monday Night Football in Western Australia for the Round 10 clash between the West Coast Eagles and Richmond. While Hank Williams Jr. was nowhere to be seen, plenty of spectators had taken up the offer of footy on a public holiday as Patersons Stadium was packed to the rafters for this all-important clash. The Eagles' season had been gaining momentum after four wins on the trot coinciding with the return of excitement machine Nic Naitanui, while Richmond headed west looking for credibility after being trounced by a rampaging Essendon in Round 9.
Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA
Off field distractions haunted both teams in the lead-up to “Dreamtime at the G”, with Essendon players continuing to be interviewed by ASADA and Tiger Alex Rance in court to face his one time acquaintance turned stalker. There were further problems on the injury front for Richmond, with young Tiger Brandon Ellis pulling out with a hamstring injury incurred at training prior to the big match.
Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting from AAMI Stadium in Adelaide
Coming off three losses in a row, Richmond was desperate to arrest the slide with a win on the road against the surprisingly 5-1 Port Adelaide Power. Despite losing for the first time this season in Round 6, the Power had gained plenty of admirers after a narrow loss in Tasmania to a dogged North Melbourne outfit. If the Tigers were to cause an upset, it would be without 2012 Brownlow Medal runner-up and Captain Trent Cotchin who succumbed to knee soreness and was declared unfit for the game. Ty Vickery and Ricky Petterd were also added to an increasing Tiger injury list, while Dom Cassisi was a late out for the Power. The bookies had Port backed into firm favorites early in the week, no doubt on the back of the withdrawal of Cotchin.