RICHMOND will have to defy its recent history to upend Geelong in Friday night's Grand Final rematch at the MCG.

Not reverse the head-to-head record – the Tigers have won six of the past seven against the Cats – but their knack of losing to the opponent they defeated in the previous year's decider.

While reigning premiers in the past 20 years have generally had the better of a Grand Final rematch, Richmond has done just the opposite.

Following their drought-breaking flag in 2017, the Tigers fell victims to Adelaide by 36 points in round two the following season.

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On that occasion, Josh Jenkins and Taylor Walker bagged nine goals between them and Rory Laird ran riot with 42 disposals.

And then after dismantling Greater Western Sydney to win a second premiership under Damien Hardwick in 2019, Richmond was beaten by the Giants in round five last year by two goals, thanks largely to Toby Greene.

For the majority of this century though, the premiers have had their way, winning 12 of 20 rematches by an average of 33 points.

GWS star Toby Greene celebrates a goal against Richmond in round eight, 2020. Picture: Getty Images

Most of that damage was done in the early 2000s, with Brisbane particularly savage on its vanquished opponent, taking care of Essendon (50 points) and Collingwood (14 and 60) in a trio of wins from 2002-2004.

The reigning premier won the first five rematches of the century.

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These matches have generally been either really close or blowouts.

Five of them have been decided by a goal or less, with Sydney's four-point victory over Hawthorn in 2015 the most recent cliffhanger.

Hawthorn would go on to win a third straight premiership later that year, but that round eight Saturday night contest at the MCG would be settled with a late Luke Parker goal.

Lance Franklin celebrates after the Swans beat the Hawks in round 8, 2015. Picture: AFL Photos

The Swans were also involved in some memorable battles in the mid-2000s with West Coast, which was undoubtedly the greatest rivalry of that era.

The Eagles flipped the script in 2006 with a two-point win, and then clung on to win the corresponding match in 2007 by a solitary behind.

Eight rematches have been decided by six goals or more.