Shall we prepare to rumble? Nothing thrills the soul like the word ‘preliminary’, and here we are – the prelim finals for the AFL season of 2021. Another season of wildly fluctuating schedules, last-minute changes, dashes for borders, and strange combinations of teams with grounds. Melbourne and Geelong in Perth? Why not.
Geelong have an interesting recent relationship with preliminary finals. No problems at all with them from 2007 to 2011, winning through to four grand finals out of five. Prelims became a hurdle from then to 2020, with the Cats often dropping out at that stage. Then they cleared it last year to once again play for the cup. They’ve been very consistent this season, but a bit below their best in the last few weeks, and have lost a couple of key players in Brandon Parfitt and Tom Stewart.
Melbourne have been exciting all season, even with a wobble in the middle that saw it threaten to fall away, but they came back strongly at the business end. They’re like the Cats of 2007: a team that hasn’t won a flag since the 1960s, and has a dedicated legion of fans desperate to celebrate away that gap.
And of course, these teams played a corker in the final round of the regular season, with the Demons winning after the siren off the boot of Max Gawn.
It promises much, tonight. Let’s go.