A place in the AFL grand final is on the line when Geelong and the Brisbane Lions go head-to-head in Friday night’s Preliminary Final at the MCG.
Geelong have bad memories of this time 12 months ago when they were thoroughly beaten by Melbourne but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and they are a different animal in 2022.
The Cats have been the team of the year so far after cruising to the minor premiership and they have continued that form into finals.
However they will be well aware of the threat that Brisbane possess. Talk about peaking at the right time.
Chris Fagan’s side have been a bit hit and miss throughout the year and missed out on the top four for once but doing it the hard way could be the right way for the Lions.
A side winning the flag from outside of the top four is rare, but Brisbane are showing signs that maybe this could be their year.
It is all set up for a cracker at the G on Friday and with the bounce fast approaching let’s take a look at the latest news coming from both camps.
Geelong coach Chris Scott has unsurprisingly opted to stick with the same team that defeated Collingwood almost two weeks ago to book their Preliminary Final spot.
There was an injury concern over Jake Kolodjashnij after he picked up a knee injury against the Magpies, but thankfully for the Cats he has recovered well and will take his place in the side.
However that does mean there is no place in the side for Brandan Parfitt, which shows the quality that Scott has at his disposal.
There are changes in the Brisbane side however with Chris Fagan naming both Joe Daniher and Oscar McInerney in his 22 for the game.
Daniher was missing from the semi-final win over Melbourne as his partner was giving birth to their first child, but he is back in the side for Friday night.
Meanwhile McInerney missed out last week after suffering concussion in the elimination final win over Richmond but is now good to go. They are two big inclusions for the Lions.
Darcy Fort and Tom Fullarton are the two unfortunate players to drop out as Fagan also keeps faith with Darcy Wilmot and Deven Robertson.
While the Cats have a side packed with quality they are also well aware of the threats in the other camp, one being Lions midfielder Lachie Neale.
Neale has had an outstanding season in the AFL and looks to have taken his game to yet another level in finals.
Richmond opted not to put a tagger on Neale and it cost them as he went on to have 39 touches in the win. The former Fremantle star also stood out in the win against Melbourne. So all things considered Scott is considering a tagger.
"In the last two weeks he's been terrific as well so he needs to get some attention, it's kind of Russian roulette if you try to play too offensively against him,” Scott said.
"As always with us, it's a collective and it can be a little deceiving to see the match-ups at the first bounce because it could well be very different five or six minutes later."
Back in 2020 these two sides met at the Gabba in a preliminary final and the Lions were the hot fancies to go through after beating Richmond in the qualifying final.
However the Cats turned them over by 40 points and Fagan believes lessons have been learnt from that experience.
The mindset will be totally different this time and he is expecting a different performance from his side. But it remains to be seen if it will be good enough.
"Maybe because it was the first prelim we'd been in, the players did get caught up in thinking about the Grand Final. Maybe," Fagan said recalling 2020. "Or they didn't appreciate fully the opportunity they had that they were so close.
"They've talked about that a little bit this week, almost that they took it a bit for granted, not the win, but just, 'We're in a prelim', (thinking) the next step maybe is a bit easier than you think.
"I think they appreciate now these prelim finals are hard to get to, so what you've got to do is when you get to them is make the most of the opportunity."