With the impending finish to the weird and wacky 2020 AFL season, the silly season is about to begin. And the silly season means one thing: trade period.
The match between Brisbane and Richmond is seen as a sure thing for Richmond, who have odds of $1.65 to win away at the Gabba.
The specialist reporters and Melbourne-based AFL commentators are all saying Richmond is on track to extend their unbeaten run of wins against the Brisbane Lions to 16 games.
But those same writers have short memories. Remember when the home ground advantage was seen as a huge barrier for visiting teams? And remember when the revenge for finals lost in the previous year meant the whole team lifted, played above their ability and created history?
Richmond will remember the 2018 preliminary final against Collingwood – then the Magpies beat them by 38 points after being beaten easily by the Tigers in home-and-away games earlier in the year despite the reigning premiers coming in as red-hot favourites. Sound familiar?
The inclusions at Brisbane are impressive, with Harris Andrews returning to bolster a balanced Lions defence along with Jarrod Berry to the midfield alongside the almost certain 2020 Brownlow medallist Lauchie Neale. Expect him to have a night that will have the statisticians calling out for a new pencil as he runs rampant against the Tigers.
Expect Hugh McCluggage to have a big night in what will be a big night for Queensland football. Playing at home in front of an expected crowd of 30,000 mostly Brisbane supporters will be a big factor in this game.
This game has plenty of feeling coming in, with Mitch Robinson almost certain to re-engage with Tom Lynch following his descriptive language exchange with him last time around. He was quoted as calling him a “w***ker” last time around. Add in the Tom Lynch off-the-ball hits and the Dylan Grimes diving discussion and we have a simmering feud about to explode.
Yes, a different Brisbane team will be out for revenge this time around, desperate to avenge last year’s finals showing, and desperation wins finals, not any notion of what has happened in the past.
It will be a very close game played with feeling, but do not be surprised the Lions that get over the line with their noses in front.