Sport

Mallinder's Musings for the preliminary finals

Josh Kennedy of the Swans will be a key to his side's chances against the Cats.
Josh Kennedy of the Swans will be a key to his side's chances against the Cats. PAUL MILLER

TONIGHT

CATS V SWANS

At the MCG, 7.50pm

RECENT RECORD: Geelong 5 Sydney 5

LAST TIME: R16 2016: Sydney 15.8 (98) def Geelong 9.6 (60) in Geelong

LAST WEEK: Geelong bye; Sydney (118) def Adelaide (82)

TOMORROW night's match is the one that has captured everyone's imagination - a mouth-watering match-up between two new excitement machines. In contrast, while it's not quite as ho-hum as Hawthorn advancing yet again, this clash will mean either opponent matches the Hawks with a fifth grand final in 12 years. It could also be far more of a dour arm-wrestle.

That said, the battle in the midfield will be worth the price of admission alone - well, depending on where you're getting your tickets from - with Josh Kennedy (pictured) and Patrick Dangerfield, numbers one and two for contested disposals, going head-to-head. At either end, veteran defenders Heath Grundy and Tom Lonergan will have their own man-mountains to climb, in Tom Hawkins and Lance Franklin, respectively.

History of the two playing at the MCG suggests a Sydney win. Okay, the last time they met there was 82 years ago. But the Swans are four from four in finals against Geelong and, most importantly, were the last team to beat the Cats, in round 16, before Geelong went on a eight-match winning streak.

Geelong will be well rested and more settled. Forward Daniel Menzel has an adductor injury, but Lachie Henderson is ready to return and can certainly provide a marking target in place of Menzel in attack. For the Swans, coming off a six-day break, it's been a case of will they or won't they when it comes to injured stars Jarrad McVeigh (calf), Gary Rohan (knee) and Kurt Tippett (jaw). Callum Mills (hamstring) simply won't.

Jeremy Cameron of the Greater Western Sydney Giants will be a constant threat to the Dogs.
Jeremy Cameron of the Greater Western Sydney Giants will be a constant threat to the Dogs. DAN PELED

TOMORROW

GIANTS V BULLDOGS

At Spotless Stadium, Sydney, 5.15pm

RECENT RECORD: GWS 2 Bulldogs 4

LAST TIME: R9 2016: GWS 15.8 (98) def Bulldogs 10.13 (73) in Sydney

LAST WEEK: GWS bye; Bulldogs (107) def Hawthorn (84)

WE'LL be guaranteed a fairytale grand final for either team in this fascinating contest, though for some it could be more like a Brothers Grimm story if the "AFL-created monster” that is GWS progresses to a first premiership decider in its fifth season over those long-suffering Dogs aiming for their first in 55 years.

While they play with similar gay abandon (an expression that would have felt right at home in 1961), they go in with vastly different preparations. The Dogs have had those back-to-back finals against last year's grand finalists, not to mention two trips to Perth either side of the pre-finals bye, and while they have built incredible momentum, will it take its toll? The Giants have sat back in Sydney, playing one game in 28 days. They'll be refreshed but may need a few cans of rust remover among the liniment oil.

Certainly the Bulldogs will find it a little tougher around the contest against the Giants than they did against the Eagles and Hawks. Marcus Bontempelli (with a game-high eight clearances last week) is a 20-year-old dynamo for the Dogs, and Jack Macrae a quiet accumulator (39 touches last week). But the Giants' on-ball brigade, headed by Stephen Coniglio, Dylan Shiel and Josh Kelly, looks too strong and too deep.

The Giants have had to find a replacement for the suspended Steve Johnson, but they still have an array of scoring options - and ones that can actually kick straight after the ex-Cat slotted 0.5 against the Swans - namely Jeremy Cameron (pictured), who kicked five goals last time against the Dogs. Good luck Joel Hamling.

Topics:  afl finals, afl previews


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Rio Paralympics heroes welcomed home

WINNING HAUL: Swimmer Lakeisha 'Lucky' Patterson returned home with six medals from the 2016 Rio Paralympics to add to her collection.

Three athletes from the Moreton Bay region earnt nine medals at Rio.

Sick boy becomes firie for a day

LITTLE FIGHTER: Fireman Elias and brother Jack (left) with their favourite firie, Steve Gittens.

Sick boy becomes firie for a day

How three blokes saved Year 9 camp from disaster

It was James, George and me in the "Mighty Pajero"

Local Partners

Better security for staff at Caboolture Hospital

New CCTV cameras and more security has seen a reduction in incidents involving violent and aggressive behaviour at Caboolture Hospital.

Fishing club helps support crime prevention programs

Senior constable Kris Parker, Deception Bay PCYC head gymnastics coach Megan Howie and Sergeant Jeremy Arato.

Caboolture River Fishing and Boating Club's fundraiser is on Oct 16.

Rio Paralympics heroes welcomed home

WINNING HAUL: Swimmer Lakeisha 'Lucky' Patterson returned home with six medals from the 2016 Rio Paralympics to add to her collection.

Three athletes from the Moreton Bay region earnt nine medals at Rio.

Sick boy becomes firie for a day

LITTLE FIGHTER: Fireman Elias and brother Jack (left) with their favourite firie, Steve Gittens.

Sick boy becomes firie for a day

How three blokes saved Year 9 camp from disaster

It was James, George and me in the "Mighty Pajero"

Annual community picnic for disadvantaged families

HIPPY POWER: Mums with their HIPPY resources at Caboolture's HIPPY 2016 program on September 14.

The program offers free fortnightly home-based parenting.

Longest serving player saves Pelicans

Beachmere Pelicans 2016 player-coach and president Scott Craig is keen to kick on next year.

Longest serving player saves Pelicans

Artist's stroke of 'luck'

AWARDED: Lesley Shelley has taken out $1000 and second prize at the Queensland Figurative awards.

Artist's stroke of 'luck'

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Apocalyptica 'seek and destroy' sceptics with 'master' set

Apocalyptica play Max Watts in Brisbane on their Shadowmaker Tour.

Review of final show of Apocalyptica's tour

Rebecca Hall doesn't own a TV

Newspapers, yes. Television, not so much

Jaime King 'terrified' by son's heart surgery

Jamie King was "terrified" when her son went in for heart surgery.

Fishing club helps support crime prevention programs

Senior constable Kris Parker, Deception Bay PCYC head gymnastics coach Megan Howie and Sergeant Jeremy Arato.

Caboolture River Fishing and Boating Club's fundraiser is on Oct 16.

John Mayer's advice for Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes has revealed John Mayer gave him advice

Josh Brolin and Kathryn Boyd tie the knot

Josh Bolin marries in front of close friends and family

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record