AFL Finals Week Two Preview Panel
A PREVIEW OF THE SECOND WEEK OF THE AFL FINALS (all times AEST)
FRIDAY, September 13
Geelong v West Coast at the MCG, 7.50pm
Head to head: Cats 25 Eagles 26 Drawn 1
Last clash: R6 - Cats 15.14 (104) bt Eagles 7.4 (46) at GMHBA Stadium
Last final: 2011 PF - Cats 17.15 (117) bt Eagles 10.9 (69) at the MCG
Minor premiers Geelong are facing a straight-sets exit after Collingwood jumped them early in their qualifying final, while West Coast dismantled Essendon in their elimination final at Optus Stadium. The Eagles have suffered a massive blow, losing livewire forward Willie Rioli to a provisional anti-doping suspension. Jack Petruccelle will take his place. Much was made of Chris Scott's decision to drop Rhys Stanley, but his return to lead the rucks allows Mark Blicavs to slot in down back to marshal the defence. The Cats were the stingiest defence in the league through the home-and-away season - can they now blunt an Eagles attack that has so many avenues to goal? Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and company have hit their straps at the right time, thanks in no small part to the efforts of prolific onballers Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey.
Key: What effect will Rioli's shock suspension, announced on the eve of the game, have on the Eagles? It threatens to derail a premiership defence that appeared back on track after their impressive demolition of the Bombers.
Tip: Cats by 10 points
SATURDAY, September 14
Brisbane v GWS at the Gabba, 7.25pm
Head to head: Lions 3 Giants 6 Drawn 0
Last clash: R16 - Lions 14.10 (94) bt Giants 11.8 (74) at Giants Stadium
Last final: First meeting in a final
Barnstorming Brisbane stormed to second spot on the ladder at the end of the regular season, but were taken apart on their home turf by a Dustin Martin-inspired Richmond. They must return to their free-wheeling best against GWS, who surprised many with their elimination final takedown of the Western Bulldogs. The Lions attack has been restricted to just eight goals in their last two outings, both losses to the Tigers. They've made a forced change apiece, with Giant Adam Tomlinson replacing Brett Deledio (calf) and Nick Robertson coming in for Lions veteran Mitch Robinson (hamstring).
Key: Can the Giants reproduce the ferocious attack on the ball and the opposition that stopped the Western Bulldogs in their tracks? The Dogs roared into the finals as the form team of the competition, but were beaten into submission by a physically tougher GWS side at Giants Stadium. With combative forward Toby Greene leading the way, the Lions will have their hands full if the Giants can maintain the rage.
Tip: Lions by 7 points