7:50 PM (AEST) Friday, September 8 at the MCG, Richmond
The AFL Finals series continues on Friday night when the Geelong Cats play hosts to the red hot Sydney Swans at the iconic MCG.
Geelong: Tom Stewart, Tom Lonergan, Jed Bews; Zach Tuohy, Lachie Henderson, Jake Kolodjashnij; Andrew Mackie, Joel Selwood, Mark Blicavs; Jordan Murdoch, Harry Taylor, Steven Motlop; Brandan Parfitt, Tom Hawkins, James Parsons; Zac Smith, Patrick Dangerfield, Cameron Guthrie.
Sydney: Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Dane Rampe; Callum Mills, Lewis Melican, Jarrad McVeigh; Jake Lloyd, Josh P. Kennedy, Isaac Heeney; George Hewett, Lance Franklin, Gary Rohan; Kieren Jack, Callum Sinclair, Sam Reid; Sam Naismith, Luke Parker, Dan Hannebery.
220 games have been played between these two sides, with the Cats picking up 120 victories to the Swans 100. Geelong has lost their last 3 games against the Swans, with the most recent coming in Round 20 this year by 46 points.
Geelong started 2017 in strong form, beating Fremantle by 7 goals at Subiaco. They came from well behind after three quarters to beat the Roos by 1 point in Round 2. The following week they beat the Dees by 29. They then annihilated Hawthorn 134-48 before toppling St Kilda by 38 in Round 5, to remain undefeated after 5 rounds. They have since lost their last three games, to Collingwood by 29 points and surprisingly, to the Suns by 25, before going down to the Bombers by 17. They bounced back in the best possible way by beating the defending champion Bulldogs side by 23 points before pipping Port Adelaide by 2 minors. In Round 11 the Cats beat the Crows by 22 points in a top of the table clash before taking a bye. After the bye, Geelong lost to the Eagles by 13 points before beating the Dockers last week by 2 points. In Round 15 Geelong had a 68 point all draw with GWS before they hammered the Lions 163-78. After the Cats snuck home by 3 points against Hawthorn, they lost to the Crows by 21 in a battle for first place. Geelong hammered the Blues 123-58 before copping a 46 point hiding at the hands of Sydney. Geelong beat Richmond by 14 points and then Collingwood by 11 points before rounding out the regular season with a dominant 103-59 win over the Giants. The Cats lost their opening finals game to Richmond by 51 points.
Sydney opened their 2017 campaign with a 28 point loss to Port Adelaide followed by a 23 point loss to defending premiers the Western Bulldogs. They then suffered an agonising 1 point loss to Collingwood the following weekend. In Round 4 the Swans again lost, this time by 26 points to West Coast. They then lost the local derby with GWS by 7 goals and in Round 6 went down by 21 to Carlton. They then won three straight games, beating Brisbane by 54, the Roos by 42 and the Saints by 50 before going down to Hawthorn by a goal. After the bye the Swans got their revenge for the Grand Final loss last year with a 46 point win over the Bulldogs and then beat Richmond by 9 points. They continued their winning run with a tight 1 point win over the Bombers, a 35 point win over Melbourne and then dished out a 67 point hiding over the Suns. After the Swans smashed the Saints by 7 goals, they had a one goal loss to Hawthorn. They then smashed Geelong by 46 and Freo by a whopping 104 points before beating the top placed Crows by 3 points and then hammered Carlton 138-57. The Swans had a dominant 121-56 win over Essendon in the first week of the finals.
Between the ears – Geelong has started to pick up a tag of choking in the finals, after last weeks seventh loss in their last nine finals matches. It’s do or die this week against the resurgent and fearless Swans.
Despite playing on enemy turf, the Swans will go into this match as the favourite.