With one game left in season 2022 and there is so much riding on it. On Saturday, the AFL Premiership will be crowned in this year’s Grand Final and there is plenty to look out for.
Set to be one of the highest-intensity games of the season, these are the things we should keep an eye on in the Grand Final this weekend.
Who can keep a cool, calm head on the big stage?
Grand Finals are often the biggest day in any AFL footballer’s career, with so much pressure on a single game it can cause some players to make some simple mistakes.
The Cats and Swans are two teams that are highly different when it comes to average age with Geelong having a much older side, but does this necessarily correlate to a more composed team on Grand Final day.
Both teams will certainly have the confidence heading into this weekend’s decider with the Cats on a 15-game win streak stretching back to Round 10. While the Swans also have a nice win streak, currently at nine with their last defeat in Round 16.
Aside from these confidence levels, Geelong has more Grand Final experience which could mean that it could be more composed come the big day. Geelong will field 14 players with Grand Final experience while the Swans will have just five.
But despite all the statistics pointing to Geelong’s advantage, Sydney seems to always prove its point and even though it’s a younger team.
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Joel Selwood making AFL Finals history
Geelong captain Joel Selwood will make AFL Finals history on Saturday as he plays in his 40th career final, surpassing, the current record holder Michael Tuck on 39.
Playing in his sixth Grand Final, Selwood is looking to join an exclusive club of all-time players as a four-time premiership player. He has won three previous flags in 2007, 2009, and 2011 with Geelong
Alongside Joel Selwood’s 40th final, the 24-year-old will take the field with long-time teammate Tom Hawkins who plays in his 32nd finals match. The Geelong pair are the top two in this stat for current players and Hawkins will move to fourth all-time passing former teammate, Harry Taylor.
Selwood is still having a great season in what is a very deep Geelong midfield. The skipper is averaging 21.7 disposals, 5.3 clearances, and 4.3 tackles and is showing no real signs of dropping off any time soon.
Teams with players sweating on fitness
A significant discussion surrounding the Grand Final this week has been around the players under injury clouds and whether they can prove their fitness to be ready for the big day.
Geelong’s Max Holmes looked to have injured his hamstring in the Preliminary Final against Brisbane and appeared to potentially miss this week. But against all odds, the young Cat has been running this week, doing all he can to get up and play on Saturday.
Holmes has been named but there are still question marks on his fitness and it is not 100 per cent certain that he runs out on Saturday.
As for the Swans, Sam Reid and Justin McInerney have also been in doubt for this week’s game, but like Holmes, both players have been named and the Swans will give the pair the best chance to take to the field for the Grand Final.
It has been a fantastic season and one of the best finals series of all time, and it is set to be capped off with a stellar Grand Final.
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