The 2020 AFL Grand Final is finally here. Let us take a short glance at the season so far, and a small preview of the game where the cats are taking on the kings of the jungle. (Image Source: Dave Hunt)
By Alexandra Bull | @ally_bull19
Well, this is it. Arguably the biggest day in the Australia sporting calendar, the AFL Grand Final.
Now the two best teams for the 2020 season are left standing. Geelong and Richmond will play for the glory of the 2020 AFL Premiership in a historic grand final at the Gabba in Brisbane.
This is the first and probably only time the big dance will be played away from its home at the MCG in Melbourne because of COVID-19.
18 teams turned into eight, then eight into two, in the blink of a season that seemed to fly by quicker than others.
In a season where the top of the ladder never changed and the bottom half of the eight was tighter than the angle of Robbie Gray’s kick in round seven, the AFL Grand Final this Saturday will be hopefully as incredible as the season behind it.
159 games were played over the 18 rounds, where quarters were shortened, and hubs were made to keep the game alive to keep in line with COVID-19 restrictions. Perhaps one of the only constant things throughout the year was the fact that Lachie Neale was going to win the Brownlow.
Richmond will be looking to add a third premiership to their tally of 12. If they win this Saturday, it will be their third in four years, creating a Hawthorn-like modern era premiership dynasty.
Geelong have not played in a grand final since 2011, where they defeated St Kilda, but have played in all but one final series since then. The Cats will be desperately wanting another premiership under their belt, as club champion Gary Ablett retires at the end of the season.
Both teams lost their respective qualifying finals, with Geelong’s finals bye curse continuing, meaning they had to take the long road to this weekend’s final game, which evidently payed off.
Richmond defeated minor premiers Port Adelaide by six points and the Cats won their first preliminary final in four years against the fresh-faced Lions.
The first and only time these sides met this season, it was a dismal, underwhelming game for two teams who were certain to play in this year’s finals series.
Richmond defeated Geelong in round 17 earlier this year by 26 points in a game which threatened to blow out if the Tigers kicked straight in front of goal, kicking 7.15 to Geelong’s 4.7.
A crowd of 30,000 will be allowed at the Gabba this Saturday, a minuscule number of fans and spectators compared to the usual 100,000 the MCG receives on the last Saturday in September.
The 7:30 pm (AEDT) Grand Final time will make the 2020 game the first AFL Grand Final played at night, due to a conflict schedule with the Cox Plate which is being held earlier in the day.
There is also a stellar music line-up for the day, with stacks of home-grown talent playing on the day. Spectators will be blessed with the likes of DMA’s, Cub Sport, Sheppard and Electric Fields, just to name a few.
This is the first all-Victorian grand final since Geelong defeated St Kilda in 2011, the last time the Cats were in a grand final, and a lot has changed since for both teams since then. Gary Ablett left (and then came back) and Richmond broke their premiership drought in 2017.
In one of the most difficult seasons the AFL has had to face as a whole, it is simply a miracle that the season was allowed to continue after the shutdown of the game following the conclusion of round one in March and almost one again in June when Connor McKenna tested positive for COVID-19.
This season its perhaps once of the most special for all those involved and especially for the two teams who are playing this Saturday night, after many people thought this season may not progress after round one.
In a season like no other, the 2020 grand final will hopefully be one to remember and with two sides that are left playing in the biggest game of the season, there is no doubt that this game will be one for the ages.
Viewing of the Grand Final will begin at 10 am, with the first bounce at 7 pm (ACDT) on Channel 7.