A GUIDE TO THE AFL SEMI-FINAL BETWEEN GEELONG AND COLLINGWOOD
WHEN: Saturday, 6.40pm AEST
WHERE: The Gabba
* Geelong (H&A fourth, 12 wins, 5 losses). Faltered in a qualifying final for the third time in the last four seasons, as inaccuracy around goal saw them go down to minor premiers Port Adelaide by 16 points.
* Collingwood (H&A eighth, 9 wins, 7 losses, 1 draw). Even Magpies supporters barely gave them hope of defeating West Coast at the Eagles’ Optus Stadium fortress in an elimination final. But Nathan Buckley’s side pulled off one of the club’s greatest finals wins, stunning the Eagles by one point.
* Overall: Geelong 100 wins Collingwood 134 wins 1 draw
* In Finals: Geelong 12 wins Collingwood 12 wins
* Last time: Round 7, 2020: Geelong 5.5 (35) lost to Collingwood 8.9 (57) at Optus Stadium
* Chris Scott, in his 10th season as coach, is under immense scrutiny from Geelong supporters to deliver in finals. Since winning the 2011 premiership, the Cats’ post-season record is a miserable 4-12 and are yet to return to a grand final despite finishing in the top-four six times. But they have won three out of four semi-finals in that period.
* Nathan Buckley is in his third consecutive finals series as Collingwood coach after missing the top-eight from 2014-17. Unlike the previous two seasons, there aren’t any second chances for the Magpies. To win their first premiership since 2010, Collingwood will have to create history by becoming the first team to win the flag from eighth.
THE KEY DUELS
Tom Hawkins (Geelong) v Jordan Roughead (Collingwood)
He could hardly miss during the home-and-away season, but Coleman medallist Hawkins had a nightmare first final against Port, spraying 0.5. Before that clash, Hawkins had only been kept goal-less twice in 2020; one of those occasions was when battling with Roughead in round seven.
Rhys Stanley (Geelong) v Brodie Grundy (Collingwood)
Stanley was serviceable in the loss to the Power, but dual All-Australian Grundy might again have solid back-up from Darcy Cameron. While Grundy hasn’t been at the top of his game this year, he is a rare breed of ruckman who can completely take the game away from the opposition.
Jake Kolodjashnij (Geelong) v Jordan De Goey (Collingwood)
De Goey produced one of the best individual games of the season when he kicked five of Collingwood’s eight goals to sink the Cats in round seven. When the Magpies’ X-factor fires, they rarely lose so shutting down the mercurial forward is crucial for Geelong.
* This will be the 25th time Geelong and Collingwood have met in a final – a VFL/AFL record for most post-season matches between two clubs.
* Geelong by 13 points.