Where and When: Friday, August 6 at 7:50pm (AEST), GMHBA Stadium
Last time they met: It feels like a lifetime ago. It was round one, 2020 and the league (and the wider community) was starting to grapple with what a COVID-affected season would look like. Just hours after this game was played, the season was postponed. Toby Greene and Harry Perryman kicked four goals each as the GIANTS kicked a very accurate 17.3 (103) to win by 32 points at an eerie and empty GIANTS Stadium. The slow start to the season didn’t seem to affect the Cats who went on to compete in the Grand Final later that season.
Where to watch: https://www.afl.com.au/broadcast-guide-premiership
What it means for the GIANTS: There’s six teams still battling for the eighth spot on the ladder with only three games to go. Fremantle hold eighth spot which has changed hands weekly over the past five rounds. The loss to Port Adelaide saw the GIANTS slip to ninth on the ladder but a finals berth is still achievable with consistent form. With the 2020 Grand Finalists (Cats and Tigers) as opponents over the next fortnight before Carlton in round 23, destiny is in the hands of the GIANTS.
Where’s the opposition at: Playing Geelong at Geelong is considered one of the toughest challenges across the AFL landscape. The Cats are the form team of the competition having won their past five games to sit equal top of the table. Cam Guthrie will play his 200th game but former GIANT Jeremy Cameron has been officially ruled out, having only played 10 games this season due to recurring hamstring issues. That doesn’t make the task any easier for the GIANTS’ backmen with Tom Hawkins, Gary Rohan and co in fine form. After a few bleak outings at the Cattery over the years, the GIANTS can take confidence from their last match at the venue which was a thrilling four-point victory on the day co-captain Callan Ward went down with a knee injury.
The number: 16. In a strange quirk of the fixture, the GIANTS have played the 16 other clubs at least twice since we took on the Cats way back in March, 2020. Since then, Cats royalty Steve Johnson has returned to the GIANTS in a coaching role and Jeremy Cameron moved south in exchange for a string of first-round picks.
In the mix: With a number of forced changes due to injury, there are spots up for grabs in the GIANTS side. With Shane Mumford a chance to be rested due to the tight turn around between games, Kieren Briggs could return to the team after serving time in isolation while Matt de Boer could take the place of Jacob Hopper (concussion) or Tom Green (hamstring) in the midfield. Phil Davis’ absence in the backline could open the door for Jake Stein while Callum Brown could be a candidate to play his first proper game after being the medical sub in round 11. Jake Riccardi’s name would also be in discussions at match committee with the 21-year old having been out of the side for 10 weeks. Bobby Hill (transition hub) and Jeremy Finlayson (remained in Queensland with pregnant partner) are not in the mix but could return before the end of the home and away season.