- The final teams are locked and loaded and there are no late changes
- Bounce down! Who will book a home preliminary final and earn a week off?
- The Tigers are off to a flyer and the in-form Jacob Townsend has kicked the first goal of the night
- The Cats have had their first goalless term of the year and at quarter-time the Tigers lead 16-4
- It was another tight quarter but Patrick Dangerfield kicked the Cats' second on the half-time siren to narrow the Tigers' lead to 25-16
- Catch all the second-half updates via the match centre link below
The stakes could hardly be higher for two teams that have failed to make the most of their finals appearances in recent seasons. Richmond lost three straight elimination finals between 2013-15, while Geelong has failed to make a Grand Final from three qualifying final appearances in the past four years. The Cats will be favoured on the back of an imposing recent record between the teams, but the MCG will feel like home to the Tigers on Friday night. Their success starved fans will turn up in force for the club's first qualifying final since 2001, hoping to see them win their first since 1980. Fans will be treated to a battle between superstar midfielders Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin.
WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Friday September 8, 7.50pm
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide
WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR?
Despite missing injured captain Joel Selwood and suspended pair Tom Hawkins and Mitch Duncan, the Cats found a way to win in a cauldron-like atmosphere at home. Harry Taylor was the star, kicking four goals and keeping Alex Rance out of the action. The Tigers were beaten up in the midfield, losing contested ball by 18.
LAST FIVE TIMES
R21, 2017, Geelong 11.14 (80) d Richmond 9.12 (66) at Simonds Stadium
R21, 2016, Geelong 10.22 (82) d Richmond 12.6 (78) at the MCG
R5, 2015, Geelong 12.13 (85) d Richmond 11.10 (76) at the MCG
R7, 2014, Geelong 11.15 (81) d Richmond 12.4 (76) at the MCG
R6, 2013, Geelong 20.11 (131) d Richmond 13.9 (87) at the MCG
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Sam Menegola is in top form and will be dangerous as a high half-forward, sitting corridor side at midfield stoppages. He has the tank to push up as an extra midfielder but also race back towards goal, kicking five goals in the past two weeks.
2. The Cats' defensive midfield match-ups will be crucial. Cameron Guthrie is the best option for Dustin Martin, with Tom Stewart the likely man when 'Dusty' is forward. Scott Selwood has a good record against Trent Cotchin.
3. Harry Taylor was the match-winner as a defensive forward on Alex Rance in round 21, kicking four goals. Tom Hawkins will play, but Taylor could still swing forward and try and get to Rance given the success of the match-up.
1. Dustin Martin ran off the back of the square for a number of centre bounces in round 23. Watch for the Tigers to mix up his starting positions and use the superstar midfielder as a deep forward.
2. Dion Prestia plays his best football when he is working off an opponent. His best games have been in run-with roles this season and a match-up on Joel Selwood could suit the former Sun.
3. First-year midfielder Jack Graham has been a tackling machine in two games and watch for the hard-bodied 19-year-old to hit in hard at stoppages as a battering ram for his teammates.
THE SIX POINTS
1. Geelong continues to dominate Richmond, winning the last 13 matches dating back to the Tigers' last win in round nine, 2006. The Tigers haven't defeated the Cats at the MCG since 1999.
2. Richmond finished the home and away season with the third-best defence, conceding 76 points a game and giving up 100 points in a game only twice.
3. There is a big difference in finals experience between these sides. Geelong has a combined 185 games compared to Richmond’s 65. Chris Scott has coached in 11 finals for five wins, while Damien Hardwick is winless from three finals.
4. Both teams were strong during the home and away season for marks inside 50, with Richmond ranked second (14 a game) and Geelong fourth (13.1).
5. Richmond's small forwards have been terrific this season but were shut down in round 21 by the Cats. Jason Castagna, Dan Butler and Daniel Rioli kicked just one goal between them, with Butler and Rioli sharing seven possessions.
6. Richmond ruckman Toby Nankervis ranks No.181 overall in the Schick AFL Player Ratings and has been on on a steep climb from No.525 at the start of the season. He'll go up against Geelong big man Zac Smith (No.63 overall), who had his measure in round 21.
WHAT THE COACHES SAY
Chris Scott: "I don't think previous performance makes too much difference to future performance. Sometimes teams match up OK against different teams. I don't think that's the situation with us and Richmond … it's preferable to have played well against them in the recent past."
Damien Hardwick: "The distraction is going to be there, the media noise and all this sort of stuff. And we accept it, we haven't got a good record against Geelong. But we also know that if we play our best we're capable of beating anyone. So that'll be acknowledged and our players understand that."
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Patrick Dangerfield
The Geelong superstar plays his 200th game and ninth final with so much riding on his shoulders. The Brownlow medallist was enormous in the 2016 finals, winning 39 possessions (21 contested) and nine clearances in the preliminary final loss to Sydney. There is no doubt he will perform on the big stage. Can he bring his teammates with him?
PREDICTION: Geelong by six points