Experience is expected to be the telling factor in the AFL Grand FInal clash between Richmond and Greater Western Sydney at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.
The Tigers, who will have the majority of the 90,000-plus crowd on their side, are a seasoned combination with a wide-spread of tough, reliable players.
Foremost amongst them is Dustin Martin, who is always a problem for opposing teams.
Even with the Giants using Matt de Boer to tag him, Martin should be able to use his strength and skill to create havoc.
Tigers captain Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, Dion Prestia and Jason Castagna will provide important back-up to Martin in spearing the ball into attack where Tom Lynch can be expected to capitalise on his opportunities.
In a confidence booster for himself and his team mates Lynch took 10 marks and kicked five goals in the preliminary final against Geelong, so he is on a “high”.
Unfortunately Jack Riewoldt has been quiet of late but he combines well with Lynch and has the potential to be a threat to the Giants defenders.
Although co-captain Phil Davis is under a fitness cloud Giants defenders Sam Taylor, Nick Haynes and Lachlan Keeffe will be endeavouring to ensure the Richmond forwards are kept under constant pressure.
Greater Western Sydney also has its own outstanding spearhead in Coleman Medallist Jeremy Cameron.
Cameron, who for his size is a particularly fast-moving, mobile player, kicked three goals against Collingwood in their preliminary final and was effectively supported by Jeremy Finlayson, who kicked two.
Against that Bachar Houli produced an exceptional performance in defence against Geelong.
His run-through style and long kicking can often be the springboard for quick attacking moves, which those Tigers further up the field appreciate.
It is in Richmond’s favour that Houli can rely on support from Dylan Grimes, Brandon Ellis and David Astbury who team together to make the defence of the Tigers difficult to penetrate.
They will, however, need to maintain a close watch on Toby Greene, who will relish being back from suspension.
Whether in attack or around the ground Greene can be brilliant and he is always super-dangerous.
It is rather sad, for a player of his calibre, that he can suffer from brain explosions, which have made him distinctly unpopular with the supporters of the 17 other clubs in the competition.
While there will be considerable focus on Greene the big man duels, although not necessarily having a major impact on the outcome, will be interesting.
Veteran Shane Mumford used his powerful frame to be competitive against Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy and he will undoubtedly use the tactic again against Ivan Soldo.
However, Soldo can also be aggressive and he will not be intimidated by Mumford’s hulking body
It is probably not that meaningful in the broad scheme of grand final analysis but Richmond has a much longer history in the premier Australian Rules competition.
Since going into the Victorian Football League in 1908 Richmond has won 11 V.F.L./A.F.L. premierships – the most recent in 2017 – and has played in another 11 grand finals.
On the other hand this will be the first grand final for Greater Western Sydney, which was inducted into the A.F.L. in 2012.
Richmond by 28pts