Where and When: GABBA, Saturday 24th October at 7:30pm (AEDT)
Last time they met:
Rd 17: Richmond 7.15 (57) d Geelong 4.7 (31)
The Tigers’ manic pressure kept the Cats to their lowest score of the season. Emerging youngster Shai Bolton collected three Brownlow Medal votes for his 18 disposals on a night Jack Riewoldt kicked four majors. The Cats were without Joel Selwood, Rhys Stanley, Gary Rohan and Gary Ablett, while the Tigers were missing Shane Edwards, Dion Prestia and David Astbury.
What to Watch For:
The Tigers’ extra emphasis on winning the clearances compared to round 17. Despite winning that night over the Cats, they lost the stoppage count by 16. The Tigers were ranked 17th in the competition for clearance differential (-5.6) during the home and away season but have jumped to become the No.1 team this finals series with an average of +4.7 on their opponents. On the flipside, the Tigers have gone from the best team in scoring from opposition turnovers (45.4 points per game) to the third-worst in finals with 29.7 points per game.
Can the Cats avoid being sucked into Richmond’s pressure and get the game on their terms? The Cats love to control possession but it’s gone to a new level during finals with an average of 76 more disposals per game compared to their opponents. While the Cats recorded 32 more touches than the Tigers in round 17, most were while over-possessing trying to get out of trouble. For example, Mitch Duncan had 83 per cent of his touches in the defensive half compared to his season average of 56. There will also be a strong focus on who takes Dustin Martin. When he’s forward, expect Jake Kolodjashnij or Tom Stewart to get the job and in the midfield, it is likely to be split between Cam Guthrie and Brandan Parfitt.
It’s A Big Week For…
After a quiet 2019 season, Jack Riewoldt exploded in last year’s decider with five majors. Can he do it again on Saturday night off a similar form line? Riewoldt has kicked three goals and had just 16 disposals from his three finals to date but will again be an important cog alongside Tom Lynch in attack.
Cats superstar Patrick Dangerfield has spoken openly in recent times about not being fulfilled as a player until he wins a premiership. Now at age 30, he gets his chance. Dangerfield starred as a forward in the semi-final win over Collingwood but was quiet by his standards in last week’s preliminary final. Don’t expect it to last on Saturday night.
Premier: Richmond (10 points)
First Goal Kicker: Tom Lynch
Norm Smith Medallist: Dustin Martin
Let us know your predictions in the comments below!
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