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2022 Toyota AFL Premiership
Geelong Cats v Brisbane Lions
Preliminary Finals •
120 18.12
Kennedy - Official Timekeeper Full Time
49 7.7
Cats Won By 71
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    AFL Live Official App

    Follow every game of the 2024 Toyota AFL Premiership Season and Toyota AFL Finals Series, with access to all the live scores and stats.

    Final teams, subs in for Cats-Lions prelim. LIVE from 7.50pm AEST

    A Grand Final spot is up for grabs when Geelong takes on Brisbane at the MCG on Friday night

    Lachie Neale runs with the ball during the preliminary final between Brisbane and Geelong at the MCG on September 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

    GEELONG and Brisbane do battle for a spot in the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final when they meet at the MCG on Friday night.

    The Cats are favourites to reach the last Saturday in September, entering the preliminary final on a 14-match winning streak.

    Both teams will go into the clash as selected, with Mark O'Connor named the Cats' medi-sub and Rhys Mathieson the Lions'.

    Geelong v Brisbane at the MCG, 7.50pm AEST

    NO LATE CHANGES

    MEDICAL SUBS:
    Geelong:
    Mark O’Connor
    Brisbane:
    Rhys Mathieson

    >> Get all your LIVE scores and stats on the go with the AFL Live Official App
    CATS v LIONS Follow it LIVE

    06:36

    SUMMARY

    For the second week in succession Brisbane will head to the MCG as a raging underdog – this time to play the competition's hottest team in Geelong for a spot in the Grand Final. The Cats have been head and shoulders the most dominant team since the middle of the season, winning 14 games straight, and are well rested after out-lasting Collingwood in a qualifying final less than two weeks ago. The Lions on the other hand have the intangible of rapidly rising confidence after disposing of Richmond and Melbourne in the past fortnight to break hoodoos and dispel questions around their premiership legitimacy. They are two of the three highest-scoring sides in the competition and also met in the 2020 preliminary final at the Gabba, which was won comfortably by the Cats. Can Brisbane continue its Cinderella story or will Geelong earn the chance to win a second flag under Chris Scott?

    Where and when: the MCG, Friday September 16, 7.50pm AEST

    WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR?

    Round four: Geelong 11.14 (80) defeated Brisbane 11.4 (70) at GMHBA Stadium
    This early-season blockbuster at the Cattery delivered a gripping contest that was won by the home team as weight of numbers eventually won out. Geelong rested skipper Joel Selwood and Tom Stewart was a late out with illness, but after a see-sawing first half managed to get on top of Brisbane around the contest and convert it into an inside 50 avalanche (60-42). Tom Hawkins kicked five goals and narrowly won his engrossing battle with Marcus Adams, while Isaac Smith vied for best on ground honours with 29 hard-running disposals. Despite a lack of opportunities as the match wore on, the Lions hung around until the final minutes and were always in the contest, with Lachie Neale (30 disposals) shaking a Mark O'Connor tag, and Joe Daniher and Dan McStay proving difficult to match up on forward of the ball.

    06:36

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR

    Geelong
    The Cats seemingly have few weaknesses across the field and have struck a great balance between defence and attack. One issue that gave Brisbane headaches when the teams met in round four was Rhys Stanley's willingness to sprint forward after a centre bounce, that not only created an extra tall target in the forward line but allowed Mark Blicavs to fold into the middle of the ground behind him and provide extra assistance with intercepting the Lions' forays. As has been the case for the second half of the season, look out for Jeremy Cameron to roam up the ground to lose either Harris Andrews or Jack Payne, and then beat them back towards goal with his exceptional agility and speed. The Lions will need to be hyper-vigilant of the star forward.

    Mark Blicavs in action for Geelong against Brisbane in R4, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

    Brisbane
    Since losing to the Cats in the 2020 preliminary final, the Lions have played them close, losing two tight contests in Geelong and winning comfortably at the Gabba in between. When Brisbane is willing to take risks with ball movement from the back half – as it did against Melbourne – it can cause problems for Geelong's defence. The three-pronged tall forward line of Joe Daniher, Eric Hipwood and Dan McStay also has the capacity to be difficult match-ups for the Cats if they get enough clean opportunities. Negating Tom Stewart's influence – as the Lions did with Jake Lever last week – could go a long way towards causing an upset.

    Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood celebrate a Brisbane goal against Geelong in R15, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

    THE STATS THAT MATTER

    Geelong
    The Cats have been just as potent defensively as they have been in attack since the middle of the season. Since their bye they have outscored opponents from turnover by 33 points a game, the best mark in the League, while also conceding just 64 points a game since round 15 – also the best mark in the competition. This is little surprise considering Geelong is the best team in the AFL for winning one-on-one defensive contests (35.6 per cent). Surprisingly, one man that has battled to impact against the Lions is Tom Stewart, whose average of 16.8 disposals a game is his lowest against any opponent.

    Brisbane
    The Lions are fresh off their best second half of the season, recording a whopping 214 for Pressure Factor (anything over 200 is considered top shelf). They are ranked second in the League for scores from forward-half stoppages and for the second successive year are the most efficient team in the AFL once going inside 50. One of the reasons for that is Charlie Cameron, who is fresh off three goals against Melbourne and has kicked multiple goals in six of his past seven games against the Cats.

    IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR…

    Geelong
    Look no further than skipper Joel Selwood. He walked into the Cats in late 2006 and won a premiership in his first season, and now 15 years later will play in his 39th finals match, joining Hawthorn legend Michael Tuck with the record for most games in that category. It will be Selwood's 12th preliminary final as he attempts to make a sixth Grand Final.

    Joel Selwood gets a kick away for Geelong against Brisbane in R2, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

    Brisbane
    Two years ago Jack Payne was a late call-up to replace injured Darcy Gardiner in the preliminary final against the Cats at the Gabba. This time around he's a locked-in member of the 22 following Marcus Adams' season-ending concussion. Payne was excellent in the Lions' victory over Melbourne, but will have to go up a gear on Friday night as he mans either Tom Hawkins or Jeremy Cameron.

    Jack Payne in action for Brisbane against Geelong in the 2020 preliminary final. Picture: Getty Images

    PREDICTION

    Geelong by 11 points. Although they will rightfully start the warmest of favourites, the Cats should have their hands full coping with the slick, rejuvenated Lions. Their bigger bodies might just be enough to wear Brisbane down over four tight quarters, though.

    What curse? Dominant Cats bury Lions to storm into Grand Final

    Geelong has marched into the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final after thumping Brisbane at the MCG

    Tom Hawkins and Gary Rohan celebrate a goal during the preliminary final between Geelong and Brisbane at the MCG on September 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

    GEELONG'S season of dominance is one win away from its crowning glory. 

    The Cats strolled into next week's Toyota AFL Grand Final with a dominant win over Brisbane on Friday night, claiming their 15th consecutive victory to book their second appearance in the premiership decider in the past three years.

    CATS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

    This time, as a far more complete team and campaign than in 2020, Geelong will have every confidence the flag is its to win after a season in command continued with a 71-point thrashing of the Lions.

    07:24

    Where the preliminary final has been a spot of pain at times through Geelong's recent years – it had lost four of its past five penultimate games – the 18.12 (120) to 7.7 (49) result was nearly the perfect tune-up for next week's clash against either Sydney or Collingwood.

    Nearly … apart from the injury setback to youngster Max Holmes, who limped from the field with a hamstring injury in the third quarter and was substituted out of the game. He shapes as a potentially important absence for the Cats next week, such has been his run and carry on the wing all season. 

    00:36

    It was the major sour point on a night when Brisbane, after two thrilling do-or-die finals wins, never got near the Cats, who booted 11 goals to four after half-time to stamp the win as theirs. 

    Patrick Dangerfield saved his best game of an interrupted season for the preliminary final, with the Brownlow medallist kicking two goals from 28 disposals and turning back the clock with his influence around the ground. 

    FIVE TALKING POINTS Danger signs ahead for Cats' next combatant

    Forward pair Tom Hawkins (four goals) and Tyson Stengle (three) were terrific, while Gryan Miers kicked two goals from 22 disposals in an excellent performance. Geelong's defence was on top throughout, too, negating the threats within Brisbane's forward line. 

    The game started as an armwrestle but the Cats got the early gap, leading by 14 points at quarter-time. Dangerfield's hot start – he kicked the first goal in the opening minute and slotted another spectacular long bomb later in the quarter – helped catapult Geelong into action. 

    02:34

    Brisbane was plucky, with its goals coming from opportunistic moments, but the Cats' system was on top and in control. 

    HEADS HELD HIGH Fagan spruiks 'message of optimism' after falling to big-game Cats

    They took that to another level in the second term, ploughing through the Lions and making them pay for a series of skill errors and bad decisions. Zach Guthrie pounced on a miskick to set up Gary Rohan for a goal and then Miers snapped after swooping in the forward pocket.

    00:47

    The Cats had stretched their lead to 30 points at half-time and could have all but ended the contest by the main break if not for some inaccurate kicking from Hawkins. The champion forward had booted 1.3 in the first half, and another shot that fell short, but didn't convert some straightforward chances.

    He was still an enormous presence, something that the Lions couldn't replicate at the other end, with key forward trio Joe Daniher, Eric Hipwood and Dan McStay combining for eight disposals and no scoring shots in the first half. 

    FROM FRUSTRATION TO HOPE Why Lions are primed to contend again

    The dichotomy of the contest came in the opening minute of the second half. Lions midfielder Cam Rayner got the centre clearance and found Daniher directly in front, but the Lions big man's wayward set shot faded out on the full. Within moments, the Cats whisked the ball to the other end of the ground, where Stengle twisted and turned and snapped from a difficult angle to extend his side's lead to 36 points.

    It was a demoralising moment for a Brisbane side that needed everything to fall its way. Everything thereafter, however, went the way of the Cats, who stormed into the Grand Final with their first premiership since 2011 within touching distance. 

    ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS

    GEELONG                 4.2       7.7       14.11      18.12 (120)
    BRISBANE               2.0       3.1       5.2     7.7 (49)

    GOALS  
    Geelong: Hawkins 4, Stengle 3, Dangerfield 2, Miers 2, Rohan 2, Cameron, Close, Guthrie, Holmes, Selwood 
    Brisbane: Hipwood 2, Ah Chee, Bailey, Berry, Cameron, McCarthy 

    BEST  
    Geelong: Dangerfield, Miers, Hawkins, Stengle, Kolodjashnij, Close
    Brisbane: Gardiner, Rich, Neale, Bailey

    INJURIES  
    Geelong: Holmes (hamstring)
    Brisbane: Rayner (ankle)

    SUBSTITUTES  
    Geelong: Mark O'Connor (replaced Holmes in the third quarter) 
    Brisbane: Rhys Mathieson (replaced Rayner in the third quarter)

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