Otago Daily Times

Cats, Tigers sharpen claws for contest



MELBOURNE: Geelong coach Chris Scott always had a suspicion his team would need to beat Richmond somewhere along the way if it was to win this year’s AFL premiershi­p.

After so many near misses in recent seasons, the Cats will play their first grand final in nine years at the Gabba today.

Standing in their way is the dominant force of recent seasons, a Tigers team chasing a third flag in the past four years.

Scott said it was clear to most any success would involve stopping the Tigers at some point.

Earlier in 2020, Scott harboured a belief the Tigers had the air of a team that may have started a slide from their pinnacle.

That feeling was dispelled when Richmond claimed a 26point win over the Cats in round 17 at Metricon Stadium, a result which means Geelong has won just one of its past six matches against the Tigers.

Both teams were missing key players for that game in early September.

The Cats were without skipper Joel Selwood, superstar Gary Ablett and hardrunnin­g forward Gary Rohan while the Tigers were missing premiershi­p players Shane Edwards, David Astbury and Dion Prestia and lost ruckman Ivan Soldo early to a seasonendi­ng knee injury.

All bar Soldo will feature in tomorrow’s grand final, giving both teams a much different look than the last time they met but Scott said there was still plenty his team could learn from that encounter.

‘‘We always look at the last game. I think every team does. You’d be crazy not to,’’ Scott said. ‘‘There’s different personnel. They’ve got a few really good players that didn’t play and so have we.

‘‘They played really well in that game, and we didn’t play as well as we would have liked to.

‘‘We would like to think that the game would be played differentl­y. Look, if it is played the same way, the advantage is certainly with them.’’ — AAP

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