Preliminary Final #1 – Tigers (#3) v Cats (#1), MCG, Friday 20th September 2019

Tigers – Higgins, Rance, Stack, Aarts
Cats – Clark, Cunico, Duncan, Fogarty, Hawkins (Suspended), Rohan

Last Met
Round 12, Friday June 7th, Cats won by 67 points. (Tigers by 11 at 1/4 Time, Cats by 30 at 1/2 time, 74 at 3/4 time)

Notes from the game:
– A powerful win for the Cats who dominated contested ball ( 33) and scoring from stoppages (59-15).
– Richmond recorded its lowest ever score against Geelong at the MCG and it lowest score against the Cats at any venue since Round 16, 1953.
– Richmond has scored four goals to one across the opening and final quarters, but was out scored 15 goals to one in the second and third quarters.

The BigFooty Take

Like last year the Tigers enter this preliminary final in red hot form and with a bigger bandwagon than the Dogs had back in week 1. They lost almost every single statistical category in their big win over the Lions in week 1. Injury wise, Rance, Higgins and Stack and their only real worries. Last time these two met the Cats obliterated the Tigers but this was when the Tigers’ injury curse was at it’s worst and the Cats were flying.
Fast forward 12 weeks and the Cats have been up and down, while the Tigers have just kept on winning. Hawkins being out is a huge loss for the Cats. He’s averaged 2.3 goals a game for the Cats so their biggest worry will be finding another avenue to goal. He has also played in every single one of the Cats matches this year (24) so that’s a key plank of their entire campaign that has gone missing at the wrong time of year.

Conversely the Tigers forward line is perhaps the most potent in the competition. Tom Lynch, after a shaky start with his new club, has really grown into the threat that everyone thought he would be. The real key is just how damaging the Tigers are. Daniel Rioli and Jack Reiwoldt only had 13 touches between them in the win over the Lions but they kicked 5.1 from those opportunities. Even Dylan Grimes only had 12 touches, despite the Lions going forward 65 times but his disposal efficiency was 90%+. And need we even mention Dusty who was, quite frankly, ridiculous in their win.

The two teams play completely contrasting styles and forgetting all stats – plus the missing Hawkins – it feel almost impossible to see the Cats getting up. The Cats move the ball slower than the Ox (or is that the Ablett?) while the Tigers move the ball at blistering breakneck speed. Once they get the momentum going, only the best can stop it.

The footy lover in me desperately wants this to be a close game and part of me thinks the Cats are a sneaky chance but they are going to have to play the game of their lives. We’re perhaps a bit too quick to forget they finished on top of the ladder… or did they get there through an incredibly soft draw?

Our tip, Tigers by 35 points.

Preliminary Final #2 – Magpies (#4) v Giants (#6), MCG, Saturday 21st September 2019

Pies – Beams, Cox, DeGoey, Dunn, Greenwood, Kelly, Landgon, Murray, Phillips, Quaynor
Giants – Coniglio, Deledio, Flynn, Patton, Ward, Whitfield, Greene (Suspended pending appeal)

Last Met
Round 18, Saturday July 20, Giants won by 47 points. (Giants by 43 at 1/4 time, 36 at 1/2 time, 34 at 3/4 time)

Notes from the game:
Brodie Grundy for Collingwood had game highs in contested possessions (22), score involvements (11), first possessions (14) and hit outs to advantage (eight), to go with 10 clearances and a team high nine tackles
Jeremy Cameron, after kicking two goals for the Giants has now gained 183 metres for his team, the most of any player on the ground. Cameron has also taken five marks, three more than any one else in the match (17 min mark of 1st quarter!!!)
Toby Green, the Giants’ captain in today’s match has had the most disposals on the ground with 13, an equal team high five contested possessions, three score involvements and has earnt the second most metres gained in the game with 184 (1/4 time)

The BigFooty Take

Pies versus Giants. Now there’s a matchup to get footy fans up and about. Yeah, OK, maybe not. It’s one of the AFL’s oldest clubs versus the AFL’s very own lovechild. With Toby Greene on the field the Giants certainly not winning many friends!

Last time these two met the game was over at quarter time. The Giants blizted in the first quarter, kicking their season high 8.2. Both teams have had massive injury worries that have stabilised somewhat at the right time of the year. The Giants have been severely distracted this week with all of Toby Greene’s antics. Will his appeal be successful? Who knows? Even if he does get off the ill timed bout of appendicitis to Lachie Whitfield is arguably a bigger dagger in their heart.

The Giants have played, effectively old school thug footy for the first two weeks of the finals. Something tells us the coaches and the players have said enough is enough, time to live up to the expectation of what is arguably the most talented list in the competition. Question is, can they bring that style of footy for a third week running. Pies fans should be very worried if they do. Their game against the Kangaroos earlier in the year when the Kangas brought tough uncompromising footy to the table, left the Pies wilting. Put simply, they couldn’t handle it.

The Pies managed a meagre 43 inside 50s in week one of the finals, while the Giants only managed 44 themselves last weekend but managed an astonishing 67 against the Dogs. The Pies backline has once again performed admirably given at stages they have been missing 3-4 of their starting backline. And again two weeks ago that backline, lead by Jeremy Howe and premiership player Jordon Roughhead, did more than enough to get the Pies over the line.

Our tip, Pies by 8 points. Yep, get the ambulances ready.