Digby Beacham’s AFL Preview: Preliminary Finals


Richmond v Geelong, MCG, 5.50pm

Richmond got to this stage last season and were seemingly on track to defend their 2017 flag, only to be stunned by Collingwood. It is hard to see lightning striking twice.

Geelong might have finished on top and had their confidence levels boosted by the win over West Coast last Friday night, but the win came at a cost with Tom Hawkins’ suspension. A proven key forward fresh off a four-goal haul, Hawkins would have been invaluable.

The Tigers are equally adept in all conditions. Their surge football and manic pressure, coupled with their fleet-flooted small forwards at the feet of Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt, is extremely difficult to counter. And that is before you factor in the brilliance of Dustin Martin.

VERDICT: Richmond by 20 points


Collingwood v GWS, MCG, 2.35pm

Greater Western Sydney departed the Gabba last Saturday night full of beans. And deservedly so. They had just taken down Brisbane to advance to their third preliminary final in four years.

By Wednesday morning, their hopes of upsetting Collingwood were in tatters. Toby Greene’s one-week suspension was compounded by Lachie Whitfield (appendix) being ruled out by coach Leon Cameron, robbing the Giants of two absolute game-breakers.

The Magpies are missing one of their own in Jordan De Goey (hamstring), but are rested and relatively healthy. The midfield, led by Scott Pendlebury, Jack Crisp and Steele Sidebottom, is in outstanding form, while Brodie Grundy looms as a major stumbling block for GWS.

VERDICT: Collingwood by 25 points

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