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Aussie Rules: Saturday night Finals fever

There are two AFL finals games to look forward to on Saturday with Geelong and Collingwood going head-to-head at the MCG, while the Fremantle Dockers and Western Bulldogs face-off in a do-or-die clash in Perth.

Finals are up and running and we already have our first casualty as the Richmond Tigers crashed out when losing their elimination final against the Brisbane Lions on Thursday night.

It was a thriller as the Lions won by just two points and hopefully Saturday’s game will be just as exciting.

First-up minor premiers Geelong will be up against Collingwood, who finished the regular season in fourth spot on the ladder.

Whoever wins this one will earn a place in the preliminary final and will be just one step away from the grand final back at the MCG. It is a huge game and could go either way.

Then later on Saturday we head to the west as the Dockers entertain the Bulldogs, with the losers joining Richmond on the scrap heap. The winners head to the semi-final and play the losers of Geelong v Collingwood in Melbourne.

Two hugely exciting games to look forward to so let’s take a closer look at both.

What: Geelong v Collingwood
Where: MCG, Melbourne
When: 16:35 (AEST) Saturday 3rd September 2022
How to watch: 7, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Geelong 19/50, Collingwood 21/10

Geelong have been the stars of the 2022 AFL campaign so far when cruising to the minor premiership.

The Cats won the last 13 games of the home and away season to sit two wins clear at the top of the ladder and if they carry on there will be no stopping them.

Chris Scott’s men have vast experience when it comes to playing finals footy and made the preliminary final in 2021 and the grand final in 2020.

Although they lost both, lessons have been learnt and they are out to go one step further and win their second premiership under Scott.

Geelong are boosted by the return of Jeremy Cameron, Rhys Stanley and Mitch Duncan, while Cam Guthrie has recovered from a shoulder injury and will be fit enough to take his place in the side.

Collingwood have been a revelation under new coach Craig McRae this season, rising from the lower reaches of the ladder to the top four.

The Magpies have won 12 of the last 13 games, with the only defeat coming against Sydney, so they are bang in form and will fancy their chances against Geelong.

Collingwood are also boosted by the return of vice-captain Taylor Adams who has not figured since round 20 after suffering a groin injury.

McRae’s side have shown this season they know how to grind out a win when the going gets tough and they may need to do that again on Saturday.

Nine of their wins this season have been by single digits, two wins by just two goals, so if the clash with Geelong is close they should be well prepared.

What: Fremantle v Western Bulldogs
Where: Optus Stadium, Perth
When: 20:10 (AEST) Saturday 3rd September 2022
How to watch: 7, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Fremantle 1/2, Bulldogs 8/5

Fremantle can think themselves unlucky for missing out on the top four and earning a double shot, so they will have to win the premiership the hard way.

But the season has already been a success considering they have not played finals since back in 2015. However they want to go even further and must first overcome the Bulldogs at Optus Stadium.

Fremantle beat the Bulldogs 95-78 in Melbourne just a few weeks ago, but this is finals football and little can be read into that result.

They may have a young side, but the Dockers have shown they can beat the best home or away this season and they will need to do so again if they are to make the semi-finals.

Freo have been rocked by the news that captain Nat Fyfe will not be able to play a part in the elimination final after suffering a hamstring injury.

It is a setback, but Freo have played much of the season without him and have shown they can still win, so coach Justin Longmuir will have every faith in the side he puts out there.

The Bulldogs were the last team to finish outside of the top four before going on to win the premiership and will be out to prove it was no fluke.

They also made last season’s grand final before losing to Melbourne. The Bulldogs have not been at their best this season but still have a side packed with quality and can go far.
They will be without the influential Tom Liberatore through injury but talented young gun Bailey Smith should be fit to take his place in the side.

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