The business end of the season is well and truly here now. Both qualifying finalists were badly beaten last weekend. Can they regroup and knock off their semi-final opponents? Or do straight-sets exits await?
Geelong Cats vs GWS Giants
Geelong’s horrible record in qualifying finals continued and they’ll once again need to take the long road if they want to turn their stellar home-and-away campaign into a grand final appearance.
Much is being made of the fact the Giants have won the last three meetings between these sides, but you have to take into account the fact that those three meetings have been spread quite far apart; Round 21 of this year, Round 1 of 2020 and Round 4 in 2019.
If these clubs had played twice each year instead of once, does anyone really think GWS would have made it six out of six?
The loss of Toby Greene is massive for the visitors and, while neither side has a great record at Perth’s Optus Stadium, the Giants are a particularly poor one from six.
As bd as the Cats are in qualifying finals, they’re pretty good in semi-finals and should be good enough to rebound and put their opponents away.
Brisbane Lions vs Western Bulldogs
Brisbane looked to have corrected their late-season wobbles with three wins to finish off the home-and-away season – but then they were totally outclassed by Melbourne in their qualifying final.
Lachie Neale’s superhuman effort in the midfield made things look closer than they were – the Lions were well and truly smashed in all three sections of the field.
His co-stars can’t afford to go missing again with the Bulldogs, who boast one of the deepest midfields in the comp, strolling into town.
The Doggies were untouchable in the second half against Essendon and went the entire second half without conceding a goal – the first time that’s happened in a final since 1956.
One streak people have been banging on about is Brisbane having won six of the last eight meetings between these sides at The Gabba – but that’s going all the way back to 2009.
The Bulldogs have won six of the most recent eight meetings at any ground, which is much more important.
The Lions have been the favourites with punters so far, but we’re really not sure why. The Bulldogs are the clear favourites in our eyes.