13/04/2024

Can the Lions cause another upset against the Cats? (Image: Brisbane Lions)

We’re finally in the penultimate week of the AFL season, with four teams remaining battling it out for a spot in the Grand Final.

Set to be two of the highest intensity games of the season, these are the key things to look out for in the preliminary finals.

Geelong’s prelim woes

Since 2007, the Cats have frequently been amongst the best teams in competition. In this 16-year period, Geelong has made it to the final four on 12 occasions.

From these 12 preliminary finals, the Cats have only converted them into four Grand Final appearances, which is still a great achievement. However, it could have been a real dynasty had they won these games.

Geelong has had it tough in recent preliminary finals. (Image: AFL)

In what was a wild 2020, Geelong put the history books aside, fittingly defeating Brisbane up at the Gabba. This was the first preliminary final that it had won since 2011, which led to current coach Chris Scott’s first and only flag.

Geelong’s finals stuggles are certainly known around the league, and its believed its chances at repeat September appearances are fading, given their aging list.

So when these sorts of chances arise, the Cats must be ready to take it and deliver on the big stage, because as they have proven this year, they are certainly capable.

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While it still need two wins to claim the cup, Geelong will be looking to end a streak of six straight prelim final losses on Friday night.

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Brisbane’s September underdog story

It has been a heart stopping month so far for the Brisbane Lions, defeating the premiers of the last two seasons to advance to a preliminary final.

Despite entering their third consecutive final as the underdog, Lions’ players and fans would have full belief another upset is possible to advance to their first Grand Final since 2004.

On top of the Lions already sky-high confidence, the return of key forward Joe Daniher will only bolster their hopes. Adding to this, Jarrod Berry having his one-game suspension overturned gives Brisbane its best chance to beat the minor premiers.

Brisbane will certainly have to play as good as it has all year, which is likely going to need to be a level above its performance against Melbourne. Opponents Geelong is perhaps the toughest opponent to draw, with star power everywhere.

Brisbane will be looking to make its first Grand Final in 18 years this weekend. (Image: Brisbane Lions)

A young Brisbane outfit have seen many Preliminary Finals of the like in recent years but are unable to make that final jump to the last Saturday in September, can they do it this time around?

Two young and rising teams meet in Saturday Blockbuster

Sydney and Collingwood have sold out the SCG ahead of Saturday’s preliminary final, with the winner set to book their ticket to next week’s Grand Final

Despite both sides having a young list, in the same sense they have elite finals experience. The top age players have played in many high pressure finals before, while for a lot of the younger talent for both sides, this is the biggest game of their lives to date.

Sydney has gone under the radar this year and might earn its place in the Grand Final. (Image: Sydney Swans)

The sides did meet at the SCG not too long ago in Round 22, and the hosts were just too dominant on the day. Sydney led from start to finish, proving its worth ahead of the finals.

That has since been further established when the Swans went to the MCG and knocked off the reigning premiers to earn themselves a home game this week. Collingwood is also coming off a win, defeating Fremantle in convincing fashion.

Regardless of who wins on Saturday, very few people would have tipped Sydney or Collingwood in the Grand Final pre-season, proving the overachieving success of both these teams this year.

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