Preliminary final: Old rivals battle for the grand final

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Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin during a training session yesterday. 

sports editor

Old rivals Richmond and Collingwood will battle it out for a place in the Grand Final in front of a sell-out crowd at the MCG tonight.

Preliminary Final: Richmond vs Collingwood

Friday, September 21, 7.50pm at the MCG

Tonight’s match is the first time these sides have met in a final since the 1980 Grand Final. The Tigers have won both of their previous games against the Pies this season and are the favourites for the flag.

Talking Points

Pressure and efficiency in the forward 50

The Tigers are ranked second for goals and inside 50s per game while Collingwood sit third in both categories.

However, the Tigers sit second for marks inside 50 while Collingwood sit eighth. The Tigers’ effective style of creating turnovers across the field not only helps them gain this higher number of marks inside 50, but is also responsible for a significant chunk of their scoring.

If Richmond can deliver on their pressure game, they will be very hard to stop.

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Scott Pendlebury high fives fans after winning last week’s semi-final against the Giants.

The final quarter

In both matches against Collingwood this season, Richmond have held slender advantages of 11 and four points at three-quarter time before winning the final term by five goals on both occasions.

In both matches the Magpies suffered from injuries which no doubt contributed to their fall away.

With Richmond having a rest between finals, while Collingwood had to travel from Perth to Melbourne to play a semi-final last week, the Pies may struggle to run out the match.

Players to watch

Dylan Grimes (Richmond): Grimes will likely be tasked with the job of stopping Jordan De Goey who has the potential to be match winner for the Pies. Grimes has shown his ability to play on taller opponents and smaller forwards due to his unique combination of height and speed. So far this season Grimes has been very hard to beat. Another strong performance will help Richmond keep Collingwood at bay.

Brayden Maynard  (Collingwood): The defender was tasked with stopping GWS gun Toby Greene in the semi-final and passed with flying colours, keeping Greene scoreless and to only nine touches. Against Richmond’s high pressure forward line, Maynard will have a difficult job at both stopping the small forwards from bringing it to ground and creating goals. Maynard will have to be at the top of his game when bringing the ball out of defence to stop the Tigers from being able to score from the turnover.

Prediction: Richmond by 26 points