Grand final: Richmond v Geelong, Gabba, Saturday night, 7:30pm AEDT
So here we are. A season like no other before it will end with two Victorian teams contesting the grand final in Queensland, the first decider played under lights. That the Tigers and Cats have qualified for the last game of the year should not be understated given they’ve played almost all of the season on the road as a result of the coronavirus crisis in Victoria. Had the preliminary final results gone the other way there would have been fresh suggestions this year’s premiership deserved an asterisk given Port Adelaide and Brisbane had accommodating fixtures and spent much of their respective seasons at home. But there can be no such claims about Richmond and Geelong, for both have done things the hard way.
The Tigers and Cats have met just once in 2020, and it came relatively recently at Metricon Stadium on the Friday night of round 17. The stakes were high for Richmond, whose top-four hopes would have been badly jeopardised with a defeat to a red-hot Geelong. It was billed at the time as a potential grand final preview, but the game was in truth pretty dreary. The Cats were kept to just one goal in three quarters as All-Australian backman Dylan Grimes dominated proceedings for the Tigers. The margin was 32 points at the final change but things could have been a lot worse for Geelong had Richmond not kicked 5.13 to that stage of the game. The Cats issued a brief scare, lifting on the back of some aerial excellence from Esava Ratugolea, but Richmond closed it out to record a 26-point win. Jack Riewoldt yet again stood up against one of the competition’s top sides, kicking four majors in a low-scoring game. The win was marred though by a hamstring injury to Tom Lynch, and more seriously, a season-ending knee injury for Tigers big man Ivan Soldo.