Where and when: MCG, Friday September 6, 7.50pm AEST
What it means for Geelong: The opportunity to bury the post-bye and finals record in one fell swoop and book a home preliminary final. Since winning the 2011 flag, the Cats are 2-11 following in-season weeks off and 3-9 in September overall. Veterans Joel Selwood, Harry Taylor and Gary Ablett would enjoy the extra week’s rest, too.
What it means for Collingwood: A home preliminary final is a tasty proposition for a team aiming to build continuity. Welcoming back Jaidyn Stephenson (gambling ban) and Jordan De Goey (injury) to play with Darcy Moore for just his second game in eight weeks would place the Pies in a strong position if they were to progress straight to the penultimate weekend.
The stat: Dating back to round 22, 2017, Geelong has held Collingwood to an average of 56.6 points in their past three meetings. In the 47 matches against all other opponents in that period, the Pies have scored an average of 90 points.
The match-up: Rhys Stanley v Brodie Grundy
They shared the honours back in round one but this could be Stanley’s biggest test as a No.1 ruckman. Ranked No.2 overall in the Official AFL Player Ratings, Grundy is in career-best form as he prepares for Stanley (No.11 ranked ruckman).
It’s a big week for: Jaidyn Stephenson
Friday night marks 88 days since Stephenson was last on an AFL field prior to his 10-week suspension for betting on Collingwood matches. In the first half of the season he was the focal point in attack for the Pies but just how much impact can he have on return?
Big call: Chris Scott to flip the narrative and proclaim, “We’re an anywhere, anytime team,” as the Cats do it relatively easily.
Mottsy’s Tip: Cats by 20 points.
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