Where and When: Friday September 3, Optus Stadium, Perth, 7.50pm
Last time they met: It was just a few weeks ago, on a Friday night in Geelong, with the GIANTS stricken by injury but desperately needing a win in order to stay in the finals chase. The game came off a five day break, with injuries and soreness forcing eight changes to the side. The odds were against the GIANTS but what a night it was: Callum Brown kicked two goals on debut, Matt Buntine shut Tom Stewart down and Kieren Briggs and Zach Sproule got the job done together in the ruck. Connor Idun did a great job keeping Gary Rohan quiet before the Cat went off injured. Lachie Ash and Xavier O’Halloran brought some run, speed and energy to the midfield and wings to go with Tim Taranto’s toughness, Lachie Whitfield did not stop running and neither did Isaac Cumming, while the wider world started to realise just how well Sam Taylor has developed after his brilliant job on Tom Hawkins. Toby Green’s four goals were crucial too. The GIANTS got the job done by 19 points, in what was one of the most stirring backs-against-the-wall victories in the club’s 10 seasons.
Where to watch: Seven Network as well as Foxtel and Kayo across the country.
What it means for the GIANTS: Win, the journey continues and the GIANTS make it to the final four and a Preliminary Final against Melbourne. That would make it four Preliminary Finals from five finals series. Lose, and after more than 70 days on the road it will be time to go home.
Where’s the opposition at: Geelong were first week losers to Port Adelaide, and after sitting up around the top of the ladder all season have now dropped three of their last four games (to the GIANTS and fellow finals sides Melbourne and the Power). They have lost Stewart from the side the GIANTS played a few weeks back, but regained Jeremy Cameron from his hamstring injury. Mark O’Connor (hamstring) will miss, but the Cats are expecting Zach Tuohy to be available. Patrick Dangerfield has been playing through a hand injury but should also be right take to take his place in their side.
The number: 5. The number of former GIANTS who have successfully defeated their old club in a final. Cameron was on the winning end of five finals as a GIANT, and is looking for his first finals win as a Cat. He’ll look to join Tom Boyd (2016), Jacob Townsend (2017), Taylor Adams, Will Hoskin-Elliott and Adam Treloar in this select group that have pulled on the orange jumper then been on the winning end in a final following their trade. Revenge was taken against the Collingwood trio in the 2019 preliminary final, and let’s hope Jezza will be waiting a while yet.
In the mix: Finals are brutal games and last week’s one-point win over Sydney ended with Tom Green nursing a broken arm, Cumming with an ankle injury and Sam Reid with a hamstring strain. Cumming is still a chance to line-up and Reid will do his best to get up for the game, as will Adam Kennedy, who missed the first final with a sore hamstring. Phil Davis with his extensive finals experience is waiting in the wings, while Bobby Hill’s speed could be handy. Conor Stone and James Peatling and Brown are ready to be called upon if needed too, while Tanner Bruhn could move into the 22 from the medical sub role he filled last week against Sydney. All eyes will also be on how a new look forward line takes shape without Toby Greene (suspended). O’Halloran (calf), Brent Daniels (hamstring), Nick Shipley (ankle) and Braydon Preuss (back) are all out of action.