A thrilling weekend of AFL action is on the cards as Port Adelaide, Richmond, Brisbane and Geelong battle for spots in the 2020 Grand Final.
Both matches are fascinating, with Port Adelaide and Brisbane to hold home advantage.
Richmond and Geelong have far more big-game experience, though, and will hope to use all of that to win on the road.
Read on for our full preliminary final previews!
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AFL Tipping – Friday, October 16
Port Adelaide Power vs Richmond Tigers
Adelaide Oval | 7.50 pm (AEST)
Port Adelaide Power – Ken Hinkley’s side handled just their second final since 2014 in impressive fashion a fortnight ago, finishing strongly to defeat Geelong by 16 points. Ex-Cat Steven Motlop starred up forward, kicking three goals, while Brad Ebert chipped in with two majors as Charlie Dixon was held quiet. It was the reliable trio of Ollie Wines, Tom Rockliff and Travis Boak who won the bulk of the football in the middle, and a home preliminary final – and another week off – was a deserved reward for the Power. This looks an even tougher test, though, as the reigning premiers arrive in Adelaide with a point to prove. The Power defeated the Tigers in Round 11, coming from behind at the final change to win by 21 points in one of the best games of the season. Port dominated that game – it won 55 inside 50’s to Richmond’s 24 – yet struggled to convert its control of the match until the final quarter. The Tigers also had many big names missing, too. Port Adelaide has lost just once at Adelaide Oval this year and Hinkley has a fully fit list to pick from. Xavier Duursma (concussion) and Todd Marshall (shoulder) should both be right to play, meaning no changes are likely. Dixon needs to lift for the Power this week, while a big game from Robbie Gray would be a boost. Expect the likes of Boak and Rockliff to have plenty of the football again. Rucks Scott Lycett and Peter Ladhams combined well in that Round 11 win, but face off against Toby Nankervis in this clash. The Power have had a great season and a fast start would go a long way to booking a spot in the grand final.
Richmond Tigers – Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, Bachar Houli, David Astbury, Toby Nankervis, Dion Prestia, Jack Graham. Not only is that list made up of seven of Richmond’s best players – it is also the list of Tigers players who missed the Round 11 defeat to Port Adelaide. Prestia won Richmond’s best and fairest last year, with Edwards coming second, while Cotchin is the club captain. Houli is a ball-winning machine across half back and Astbury, Nankervis and Graham are all important role-players, too. Those inclusions will fill Richmond fans with confidence that three premierships in four years is a very real possibility. A disappointing fade-out in the first final saw Richmond beaten by Brisbane by 15 points at the Gabba, but the Tigers responded well in a 31-point win over St Kilda last week. Houli won 32 disposals, while Dustin Martin gathered 25 disposals and kicked one goal. Shai Bolton booted three goals for the Tigers, while on another night, Tom Lynch could have kicked a bag. The key forward finished with 2.5 but looks primed for a big finals appearance. There were plenty of encouraging signs from Edwards (21 disposals and two goals) and Prestia (17 disposals and one goal), too, as the pair return to top form. A look at Richmond’s team shows quality – and experience – on every line. The challenge for Damien Hardwick is to maximise that experience, that know-how, that composure in the big moments. The Tigers won both meetings in 2019 but Port Adelaide won three of the four clashes before that. In fact, the last 10 meetings have been split at 5-5. Richmond has the finals credits in the bank, though, and that is enough reason to stick with the Tigers here. Richmond … in a thriller!
AFL Tipping – Saturday, October 17
Brisbane Lions vs Geelong Cats
Gabba | 7.40 pm (AEST)
Brisbane Lions – Could this year be the year for Brisbane? The impact of the coronavirus pandemic saw Queensland win hosting rights for the 2020 Grand Final and the Lions would love to play the biggest match of the year in front of their own fans. That will happen if Chris Fagan’s men win here. The stars are aligning for the Lions in 2020 and Brisbane enters its first preliminary final since 2004 – also against the Cats – with a 10-0 record at the Gabba this season. The only problem? Geelong are also undefeated at the venue in 2020! Brisbane is likely to go in unchanged for this clash after a 15-point win over Richmond in the first qualifying final. Brisbane had a good spread of contributors in that, and did not rely on Lachie Neale – a very good sign. Neale, the Brownlow Medal favourite, went without a disposal in the first quarter but responded well to win 19 and kick an important goal against the Tigers. Jarryd Lyons, Daniel Rich and Dayne Zorko all stepped up in the finals cauldron, while Charlie Cameron was very sharp inside forward 50. Cameron finished with three goals and looms as one of Brisbane’s key men in this clash. At the other end of the ground, Harris Andrews will get the huge job on Tom Hawkins, who kicked 0.5 in Geelong’s qualifying final defeat to Port Adelaide. Keeping Hawkins quiet will go a long way to giving Brisbane victory and it shapes as perhaps the key battle of the match. The Lions do not have history on their side, winning just one of their last 10 matches against Geelong.
Geelong Cats – There is no question that the Cats are ageing but that also means Chris Scott has a squad full of experienced stars who are proven in big games. Scott is likely to stick with the same team that thumped Collingwood last week, Geelong kicking nine goals to one in the first half en route to a 68-point semi-final win. Patrick Dangerfield was outstanding in the forward line against the Magpies, kicking four goals, while Tom Hawkins bounced back from a quiet week to boot four majors as well. Mitch Duncan, Cam Guthrie, Tom Stewart and Sam Menegola all won a stack of the football, too, filling Geelong fans with confidence ahead of this clash. The Cats beat the Lions by 27 points earlier this year, with a seven-goal third term instrumental in victory. Geelong lost last year’s meeting by one point but has only lost to Brisbane three times since 2005. This will be the 10th preliminary final of Joel Selwood’s career, while it will be the fifth for Dangerfield, who is yet to play in a Grand Final. The ex-Crow will be determined to lead Geelong into the decider and is likely to spend big chunks of the game in the forward line, a move which would test Brisbane. Like Friday’s match, this should also be close, but home ground advantage might just be the difference here.