With two of the biggest supporter groups in the competition ensuring that the MCG will be packed to the brim, Richmond and Collingwood will meet in one of the most anticipated Preliminary Finals in some time. Richmond will enter the match rested and full of confidence that their system can carry them to a second consecutive Grand Final appearance. The Magpies have overcome adversity all year and will be looking to continue to confound their critics by advancing to their first decider since 2011.
It has been all Richmond in recent times, with the Tigers winning four of the last five and six of the last seven meetings between these teams. It hasn’t always been this way though, with Collingwood winning the previous seven matches.
Shifting to overdrive
At three-quarter time of both encounters this year, Richmond and Collingwood have been locked in gripping battles. In Round Six they were separated by 11 points and in Round 19 just two points, yet the Pies were unable to go with the Tigers in the last quarter of either match outscored 72-28 across both final terms.
Home Sweet Home
Both Richmond and Collingwood call the MCG home but both have vastly differing records at the home of football in recent times. The Tigers have enjoyed a purple patch at the MCG and will be looking to extend their venue record 22 consecutive wins, while Collingwood has won just 10 games from their last 22 visits to East Melbourne.
Long time between drinks
While it has been a long time since these two sides shared the finals stage, with their last meeting way back in 1980, it has been even longer since Collingwood tasted the fruits of finals victory over Richmond. The year was 1937, so long ago, that Gordon Coventry was still setting his goal kicking record that would stand 62 years. Don Bradman was Australian Cricket Captain and would be for another 11 years. Joseph Lyons was serving as the tenth Prime Minister of Australia with, as at this week, another 20 to follow in the intervening years.
The last meeting between the two teams saw Jack Higgins kick the likely goal of the year with a piece of play that was as inventive as it was contentious. The Magpies cheer squad had their say on the matter with a banner with a thinly veiled subliminal message. Will they have another message to worth keeping an eye out for this week? Will we see the Richmond Cheer Squad return serve? Ok, not as exciting as the game that will follow but it will be interesting to see.
Given the cries at his absence from the All-Australian team, this is not news to Richmond fans. Yet for fans of other clubs, the fact the 27-year-old has been happy to go about his business in the shadow of Alex Rance, he has possibly flown under the radar. As he showed again in the Qualifying Final, Grimes is seldom beaten, able to play on small or tall and is a reliable user of the ball. One of the most important members of the Richmond machine, his days under the radar are no doubt coming to an end.
After being called out by some readers for undervaluing Steele Sidebottom, by suggesting that he might only be Collingwood’s best player, we won’t miss this opportunity to sing his praises. Almost criminally underrated, the 27-year-old has had a career-best season that has seen him earn All-Australian Selection and become the talisman for a Collingwood team on the rise.
Herald Sun: Richmond 25, Collingwood 5.
The Age: Richmond 11, Collingwood 1.
The Pinch Hitters: Richmond 7, Collingwood 1.
Betting: Richmond $1.38, Collingwood $3.15.
Both teams rely heavily on utilising a territorial advantage to wear their opponents into submission. This has meant that both times this year that Collingwood has been able to engage Richmond in an arm-wrestle for longer? Will they be able to find another gear when needed or will Richmond prevail once again?
Richmond will win by 11 points.