The second week of the 2020 AFL Finals series sees the remaining four Victorian clubs battle it out on Queensland soil to earn a place in the preliminary finals. Port Adelaide and the Brisbane Lions await the victors. Hatch’s James Thompson previews another week of footy.
All games are available to watch live and free on Channel 7. All times are in AEDT.
The Week One Wrap
Despite historical issues with the competitiveness of finals games – and more recently the quality of the game as a whole – AFL football hit a new high last week with four games that went all the way to the final siren.
Port Adelaide opened proceedings at home with a 16-point victory over an inaccurate Cats outfit, and the Brisbane Lions broke a 15-game losing streak against Richmond. Elimination Saturday was even tighter, as St Kilda held off the fast-finishing Bulldogs and Collingwood upset West Coast in what is being considered one of the most memorable Elimination Finals.
The Bulldogs and Eagles are now out of contention for the premiership, narrowing the race to just six teams. From here, there are no more second chances. Six will become four at the end of this weekend.
Richmond v St Kilda – Oct 9, 7:50pm (Metricon Stadium)
The defending premiers couldn’t manage a repeat of last year’s qualifier against Brisbane, and now fight to keep their season alive against the resurgent Saints.
Richmond largely let themselves down in their forward 50 last week, and might have had this weekend off if they were better at turning their ball handling into points. The return of Tom Lynch will be a boost to the forward pack, and they’re the kind of side that knows how to come back from a loss.
The Saints’ long-awaited return to finals was almost soured by the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter last week, and this week doesn’t get any easier. They’ve lost Paddy Ryder to injury, and Jake Carlisle departed their Noosa hub for the birth of his child.
When they faced in Round 4, St Kilda controlled the ball and the game in a 26-point upset over the Tigers. Both teams will need to work hard to keep hold of the ball.
Thomo predicts: I don’t see Richmond going out in straight games. The Tigers will win by 16.
Geelong Cats v Collingwood – Oct 10, 7:40pm (Gabba)
Here’s the game of the week: The Geelong Cats aim to redeem themselves at the Gabba against Collingwood.
The Cats’ kicking for goal left a lot to be desired last Thursday. Tom Hawkins particularly couldn’t find the middle of the posts with six shots on goal, as Geelong couldn’t take advantage of enough opportunities against Port Adelaide. Their ageing squad could be set for another year of finals woes unless they can click again.
Collingwood were the sole surprise packet of the week, putting up a hell of a fight against West Coast in a one-point thriller. Mason Cox, Taylor Adams and Brody Mihocek were among the heroes, and the level of persistence and desperation the Pies displayed will be something they need to maintain going forward.
Can experience bring raw grit crashing back down to Earth? Only one way to find out.
Thomo predicts: Collingwood look way too exciting to write off now and an upset is on the cards. Pies win by five.
Original photos by Flickerd/Wikimedia Commons: Nick Vlastuin, Shane Savage, Joel Selwood, Mason Cox