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Storylines: round 21

Mitch Broughton  August 11, 2017 4:59 PM

The moment the 2017 home and away fixture was revealed, this game was circled: round 21, Geelong vs. Richmond at Simonds Stadium. 

With each victory to the Cats and Tigers throughout the season, the standing and anticipation of this game grew to the point where now, on its eve, we expect a capacity crowd in the biggest game seen in Geelong in many years.

Cats Media has identified three points of interest to follow throughout the Cats' finals-shaping clash up with the Tigers at Simonds Stadium.

 

The captain, the full forward, the midfielder

The first storyline here should be the one below, but when you lose 607 games of experience in one hit, it’s hard not to dwell.

The Cats have lost their captain, their full forward and will be without two of their top three midfielders to face a rampant Richmond side that’s won four on the trot and has the Tiger Army daring to dream of a top-four finish.

Handed a two-game suspension, Geelong will need to find goals from other avenues not only against the Tigers but against Collingwood next week with no Tom Hawkins, though will only be missing midfielder Mitch Duncan for the one week also through suspension.

As for Joel Selwood, don’t expect to see the no.14 again this home and away season. The 29-year-old successfully underwent surgery earlier this week to address a syndesmosis injury sustained in the Cats’ round 20 loss to Sydney. Having played 246 of a possible 261 games since his 2007 debut, the club expects him to be back running in three weeks and to play some part in the upcoming finals series, though naturally a lot still hangs in the balance.

In the immediate term, Richmond has faced Geelong twelve times with Joel Selwood in the side and never come out on top. This time around, the Tigers will go in as favourites with the Cats short on personnel… but be weary the wounded animal.

 

The biggest show in town

Verging on a sell out at the time of writing, this Cats-Tigers fixture looms as the biggest game seen in Geelong for many, many years.

A capacity crowd is expected for the third versus fourth blockbuster, in football’s traditional Saturday afternoon timeslot, and Geelong fans will need to be in full voice as a sea of yellow and black rolls in from the northeast.

The new $91 million dollar Brownlow Stand will be filled to the brim and not a spare seat to be seen from the Gary Ablett Terrace to the Premiership Stand.

The VFL Cats will open proceedings in a curtain raiser against Ricmond from 10:15am on Simonds Stadium, while the VFLW Cats will take on VU Western Spurs from 11:45am at the Anthony Costa Oval just outside.

There’s no place you’d rather be than Simonds Stadium and Kardinia Park on Saturday afternoon.

 

Shooting stars

The Cats may be down a trio of stars, but this game still has genuine star power.

If the return of Patrick Dangerfield wasn’t enough, that he’ll face the newly crowned Brownlow-favourite Dustin Martin just a week after being ruled ineligible surely is.

Will Danger have a point to prove? Maybe. But his primary focus will be and will need to be steering his Cats to what many see as an unlikely victory.

But could we even see the competition’s best two midfielders go head-to-head? That match-up alone would be something to savour and something every football fan will be hoping for on Saturday afternoon at Simonds Stadium.

AFL 2016 Rd 21 - Richmond v Geelong

We're surely not alone in hoping to see Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin go toe-to-toe at some point on Saturday afternoon. (Photo: AFL Photos)