What a season it has been. Let us get down to the business of winning a grand final.
I think Richmond will win again, and thus rubber-stamp a comprehensive Tigers modern era.
I only think this because I was foolish enough to think that the Adelaide Crows would win in 2017. Then last year I was again convinced that Greater Western Sydney could make their mark. The resulting one-sided affair certainly made for a dull viewing party, and only confirmed one thing: The Tigers are not to be trifled with.
Of course, there will not be any parties per se in these teams’ home state, with Victoria having done all they can to contain a pandemic, a sweet Victorian AFL victory will devout followers rest easy, irrespective of allegiance.
Geelong have the fairytale debut for Dangerfield and the finish for Gary Ablett Junior. However, I just see Richmond finding a way to get it done, time and time again, especially amidst a potential thunderstorm at the Gabba.
It is Richmond’s home final, having finished higher on the ladder.
A stunning 14 players will become triple premiers should Richmond win.
Should Geelong win, Joel Selwood gets four.
It has been a long time between drinks for Geelong, a team that qualified relentlessly in the last decade, routinely in the top four, only to fall at the preliminary hurdle four times.
Last week’s final against Brisbane was one you wished you were up by more in, at the half.
But if Queensland does not observe daylight savings time, then Gary Ablett disrespects time entirely, turning the clock all the way back to his first stint with Geelong, slotting two classy goals when the going was tough.
The going gets tougher against the Tigers though, who had an incredible litmus test last week against Port Adelaide. Adelaide oval has not often been happy hunting ground for Richmond, yet it was their team who surged past the ladder leaders against the odds.
Both teams had a chink in their armor to resolve when they lost their qualifying finals. It appears Geelong have responded more emphatically; they only needed the Coleman winner to kick true and these teams would have faced off last week instead.
Geelong showed the full value of their double chance against Collingwood, and their star-studded midfield could go stronger for longer against Brisbane.
Richmond have had a month of arm wrestles by contrast. What better preparation for a big dance, and one they have rehearsed twice over, by steadily haranguing and out hustling their opponents.
It is hustle versus muscle this game, and I am leaning towards Richmond. Chris Scott has done it before; he could well do it again. Geelong’s dismantling of their opponents has been daunting this past fortnight. How do they manage to stop Richmond?
Dustin Martin is clearly the focus. But the Tigers may as well be the Tiger snakes – if you cut one off, another will rise.
Marlion Pickett proved that, and he is back for a second bite in 20 games. Toby Nankervis just hit full fitness, full form, and a contract extension as Richmond’s big man. All are led clinically by stalwart captain Trent Cotchin.
Altruistic defender Bachar Houli won this year’s Jim Stynes award for his community outreach, both rural and religious, and Brendon Gale spoke highly of Houli on AFL’s night of nights.
Brendon Gale’s proud prediction that the Tigers would bring home three flags this decade, was a ten-year-old statement that has resurfaced like the club itself: with nary a prompt.
That feat is now one win away.
Richmond by 1-12 points