Many believe that preliminary final week is the best weekend of footy in the Australian Football League season, and I tend to agree! Two massive games on Friday and Saturday night, generally involving the best four teams in the league, all of whom leaving everything on the field in an attempt to get into the Grand Final.
The Saturday night clash this week sees the Brisbane Lions hosting the Geelong Cats from the Gabba in what should be a massive game, and as usual, we have you covered with a full preview and betting tips for the game below.
Gabba, Saturday 7.40pm (AEDT)
The Lions were in some shaky form to round out the home and away season but silenced doubters in Week 1 of the finals with a dominant win over the Tigers to earn themselves a week off and a ticket straight into the preliminary final. The margin was just 15 points against the Tigers but the Lions were the much better side, led by some solid play through the midfield from Jarryd Lyons, Hugh McCluggage and Lachie Neale.
The Lions have a completely clean bill of health at the moment, with young defender Noah Answerth having recovered from a groin injury that saw him miss the final round of the home and away season and the qualifying final.
Lions skipper Dayne Zorko has been one of their best during their recent matchups with the Cats. In his last four games against them, he has racked up 25 touches over game and kicked six goals. The Lions will be looking for their skipper to lead from the front here and the star is great value to kick a goal.
The Cats were absolutely dominant against the Pies in the Semi Final. They bolted out to an eight goal lead by half-time and never looked back. They kept the Pies to just one goal up until three quarter time and finished the game with a 68 point win. Patrick Dangerfield was the Cats best, racking up 19 disposals and kicking four goals while Tom Hawkins added four himself in the win.
Rhys Stanley jarred his knee in the final quarter against Collingwood after playing a really solid game, however, he returned to the field and should be fine to play this weekend. Outside of recruit Jack Steven, who is battling a hamstring injury, the Cats will have a full complement of players to choose from this week.
Will Patrick Dangerfield play in the midfield or forward? That’s one of the big questions when trying to determine the large portion of the Cats related player prop betting markets. The Cats have been adamant over the past few weeks that Dangerfield's starting postition is purely 'horses for courses' based, and after a dominant game forward against the Pies, that theory will be put to the test this week. If history is anything to go by, then Dangerfield will likely see more midfield time this week than he did against the Pies. In his last four games against Brisbane, Dangerfield has racked up a ridiculous 31.5 disposals and had 26 in shortened quarters against the Lions earlier this season.
If the Cats bring the same form into this game as they brought against Collingwood on the weekend, then we fully expect them to win this game. The Lions play a very fast paced style of footy that requires a lot of risk taking but Geelong’s defence has proven to be the best in the league this season and they are well equipped to defend the Lions style.
The Cats were too good back in Round 6 of this season, recording a 27 point win on the back of dominant games from Sam Simpson, Patrick Dangerfield and Sam Menegola. Back them to win again this weekend as underdogs and secure a berth in their 5th Grand Final of the century.
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