IT’S not a dream, Richmond and Adelaide are in a grand final. The two longest droughts between visits to the big dance have been broken with the Crows returning for the first time since they won back to back flags in 1997-98 and the Tigers snapping their 35 year hiatus from the last day in September. Let’s break down the weekend’s games.
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In A Nutshell
- A fast-starting Crows outfit effectively ended the game against Geelong long before the final siren sounded. Taking a five-goal lead into the first break the Cats found themselves in serious trouble before a Dangerfield-inspired push gave them some small hope. Showing no signs of rust after two games in a month, Adelaide put the foot down again in the final quarter to emerge 61-point victors.
- IN a game that ebbed and flowed with momentum swings the Tigers used the premiership quarter to set up the 36-point win over the Giants. With the game effectively tied at half-time Richmond used a six goal to one run in the third term to set up a berth at the premiership decider. Once again led by soon-to-be Brownlow Medalist Dustin Martin, the Tigers were in party mode late in the game as GWS tried gallantly to claw their way back, but it was too little too late.
The Four Points
Grand Final Droughts
IT’S incredible to think (with the exception of Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney) that every AFL club has appeared in at least one grand final in the past 20 years now. It is a testament to how balanced the league is and despite dominant reigns from Hawthorn, Brisbane and Geelong over the past two decades, anyone can get hot at the right time and make it to the last day in September.
McGovern’s Race Against The Clock
WILL he or won’t he? After hamstring issues held McGovern out of the prelim victory he faces a race against the clock to prove his fitness before Saturday. His inclusion last week Andy Otten looms as the man who would make way for McGovern and if he is healthy the Crows have to play him. Watch this space.
Trent Cotchin’s Nervous Wait
IF McGovern and Otten are having sleepless nights ahead of the team selection you would be surprised if Cotchin has slept a wink over the past two days. After his highly scrutinized hit on Dylan Sheil saw the Giant suffer a concussion and miss the remainder of the game, the Match Review Panel will meet later today to determine if he will face a suspension or not. With two small misdemeanour’s earlier this season, any charge against the Tigers skipper would see him handed a one week ban.
VERY few players have the chance to complete what Dustin Martin could this week. Once he claims his first Brownlow medal later tonight, Martin will then have a chance to couple his new medal with a Norm Smith and Premiership medallion later this week. Nathan Buckley, Jimmy Bartel, Simon Black, Chris Judd, Greg Williams and James Hird have all won a Brownlow and Norm Smith in different seasons, but Dusty could become the first to do so in the same season.
Premiership Power Rankings
1. Adelaide Crows – THE juggernaut that is Adelaide deserves to be the favourites heading into the GF. Their dominant attacking lineup makes them a huge possibility to move to 3-0 in premiership deciders as a club.
2. Richmond Tigers – WHAT a time to be alive. Matthew Richardson’s reaction to the Tigers’ returning to the Grand Final for the first time since 1982 sums up how every Richmond fan is feeling right now. Can they cap off the fairytale?
I plan to write a complete Grand Final preview later in the week, but for now here is a quick insight on the week’s upcoming proceedings. No. 1 Trent Cotchin should not and will not be suspended. No. 2 If McGovern is still even at 80% he’s a must play over Andy Otten and I think the Crows will roll the dice. No. 3 Talls vs. smalls will be on display on Saturday, which method will see the scoreboard ticking over the most? And finally, No. 4 As is the way every year I just hope that the Grand Final is close and a good match, but both sides have a real chance to set up a potential dynasty with a win on Saturday.