LANCE Franklin will quite rightly consume most of Geelong coach Chris Scott's thoughts in the lead up to Friday night's preliminary final against the Sydney Swans. 

But while the superstar forward's performance will be crucial to the result, Scott would also be wise to do his homework on rookie small forward Tom Papley. 

Papley, who received a nomination for the NAB Rising Star award in round five, was electric in Saturday night's semi-final win over Adelaide. 

The 20-year-old booted a career-high four goals, collected 14 disposals and went inside 50 on five occasions as he helped spark the Swans in their 36-point win over the Crows.

Nearly all of Papley's score came from his four goals straight. He was only on 6.4 points at half-time, then scored 4.3 in the third term and 9.7 in the final quarter. It was the highest-scoring fourth quarter of any player on the weekend.

Papley also scored 20.4 Schick AFL Player Ratings points, the fourth-highest score of the round behind Marcus Bontempelli (27 points), Shaun Burgoyne (26.2) and teammate Tom Mitchell (22.7).

The rookie-listed forward said there was a big difference in how he approached the qualifying final against Greater Western Sydney and the weekend's matchup against the Crows.

"The four goals were a bit of a cherry on top," Papley said. 

"But I wasn't really happy with my pressure and my game last week (against GWS) as a lot of the boys weren't.

"My pressure was good this week and that's what created the four goals."

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Papley has shown throughout the season he is a consistent threat up forward. He has kicked 26 goals from 18 matches (including finals).

That also takes into account the fact he missed six matches after being sidelined by a lingering shin injury.

Both Papley and veteran Ben McGlynn will also be pivotal in applying forward pressure and ensuring the Cats' experienced defence don't have time to set up behind the footy.

The Cats also do not appear to be completely settled on the small defenders they will take into the game against the Swans, giving John Longmire a potential advantage in his planning.

Tom Ruggles has often been Geelong's preferred candidate to play on the opposition's most dangerous small forward, but was a little panicky in his first final against Hawthorn a fortnight ago. 

Jake Kolodjashnij can play on talls and smalls, while Jed Bews, who was an emergency for the game against the Hawks, could come into the frame if the Cats decide swing a change.

Cameron Guthrie spent the first half against the Hawks in defence manning up on Cyril Rioli, but was released into the midfield in the second half to good effect.

Papley is nippy across the ground, he knows how to make defenders nervous and he's smart around goals, and he complements the strengths of Franklin, Isaac Heeney and Xavier Richards.

Scott will have to ensure he gets the Papley matchup right, because he has demonstrated already that he can under an opponent's guard.