So here we are. A season like no other before two Victorian teams contest the Queensland Grand Final, the first decision-maker to be played under lights. The fact that the Tigers and Cats qualified for the last game of the year should not be underestimated, as they played on the road for most of the season due to the coronavirus crisis in Victoria. Had the preliminary final results gone the other way, there would have been new suggestions that this year’s Premier League deserved an asterisk, as Port Adelaide and Brisbane had fixtures and spent much of their respective seasons at home. But there can be no such claims about Richmond and Geelong because they both did it the hard way.
The Tigers and Cats only met once in 2020 and it happened relatively recently on Friday evening for the 17th round at Metricon Stadium. For Richmond, whose top four hopes would have been jeopardized by a loss to a Red, the stakes were high – hot Geelong. It was billed as a possible big final preview at the time, but the game was actually pretty bleak. The Cats had only scored one goal in three quarters when Alla-Australian backman Dylan Grimes dominated the proceedings for the Tigers. They were 32 points ahead of the last change, but things could have been a lot worse for Geelong if Richmond hadn’t kicked 5.13 at this stage of the game. The Cats took a brief scare based on some outstanding aerial performance from Esava Ratugolea, but Richmond closed it off to claim a 26 point win. Jack Riewoldt faced one of the top teams in the competition again, kicking four majors in a low-score game. The win, however, was marred by a hamstring injury to Tom Lynch and, seriously, an end-of-season knee injury for Tiger’s tall man Ivan Soldo.
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