The 2019 AFL Grand Final. (Photo: Sean Mortell)
161 games, spanning over seven months, and we are finally here! The big day is almost upon us, the AFL grand final on Saturday at 7:30 pm at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Four years, three grand finals - Richmond are establishing what seems to be the next dynasty in the AFL, following on from that of Hawthorn between 2013-15. They're on the verge of potentially winning back to back premierships, which would see them take their tally to an impressive 13 in AFL/VFL history.
Richmond were good value for their place in the grand final, beating minor premiers Port Adelaide on their home turf - the Adelaide Oval. The first half was a feisty battle where neither side could maintain a lead, leaving scores level at half time. However, Richmond’s Kane Lambert scored two goals in the final quarter to help Richmond over the line in what was a great preliminary final.
Toby Nankervis put in a very impressive performance too - laying 10 tackles, four clear of the next closest on the field. Richmond’s fans will be confident their side can clinch their third premiership in four years. The only weakness you could point to for Richmond is they do have a few injuries and suspensions, but the depth throughout their squad covers that issue.
Geelong are in pursuit of their tenth premiership. Since their last grand final in 2011, they have been far from impressive in the finals. They have featured in every finals series since 2011 bar one, yet only now have they reached the final stage. But Geelong’s side is as strong as it has ever been, and the game against Brisbane was emphatic of that. All the usual suspects were strong: Gary Rohan scored three goals, Gary Ablett and Tom Hawkins two. Dangerfield and Selwood were running the midfield with Dangerfield turning provider with three goal assists off the back of scoring three the previous week.
In the last two weeks, Geelong have comfortably dispatched two strong finals contenders in Collingwood and Brisbane. With Ablett’s retirement confirmed they will want nothing more than to send him off in style with his third premiership. Recent history does not bode well for them with two losses in a row to Richmond, but Geelong have picked up their form at the right time of the year.
This grand final matchup places the side that dominated the late 2000s against the side that dominated the late 2010s. Which will enter the 2020s with the premiership?
It’s hard to go against Richmond who have been so strong in the finals series since 2017. I predict Richmond will notch their 13th grand final win by 20 points.