Preview of AFL finals matches, week two (all times AEDT):
FRIDAY, Sept 15
Geelong v Sydney at the MCG 7.50pm
Head to head: Geelong 120 Sydney 100 Drawn 0
Last clash: Round 20, 2017 - Swans 16.11 (107) bt Cats 8.13 (61) at Simonds Stadium
Finals Head to head: Cats 0 Swans 4
Last final: 2016 Preliminary Final - Swans 15.7 (97) bt Cats 8.12 (60) at the MCG
Tab Sportsbet odds: Cats $3.30 Swans $1.35
William Hill: Cats $3.20 Swans $1.35
Can the Cats recover quickly enough after their qualifying final beat down at the hands of Richmond? The 51-point drubbing led to a week of soul searching at the Cattery, while the Swans gathered even more momentum with a 65-point pummelling of Essendon. The win was their 15th from their past 17 games after starting the season 0-6. Chris Scott's men will also need to deal with the mental demons associated with the Swans, who beat them with ease at Simonds Stadium in round 20 and brushed them aside in last year's preliminary final. Geelong skipper Joel Selwood was below his best in his first match back from ankle surgery but will be better for the run. The winner will face minor premiers Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
Key: Tom Lonergan's duel with Lance Franklin will be one to savour, but the Cats must do better in their own attack if they are to win. They've scored a total of 61, 60 and 60 points in their past three clashes with the Swans - all losses. The recall of forward Dan Menzel could be pivotal, while superstar Patrick Dangerfield could spend a little more time inside attacking 50 too.
Tip: Swans by 12 points
SATURDAY, Sept 16
Greater Western Sydney v West Coast at Spotless Stadium 7.25pm
Head to head: Giants 2 Eagles 5 Drawn 0
Last clash: Round 22, 2017 - Giants 12.9 (81) bt Eagles 9.6 (60) at Spotless Stadium
Finals Head to head: Giants 0 Eagles 0
Last final: First finals meeting
Tab Sportsbet: Giants $1.45 Eagles $2.85
William Hill: Giants $1.44 Eagles $2.80
The Giants were made to look second-rate in their qualifying final loss to Adelaide, while the Eagles were on cloud nine after their stunning extra-time elimination final win over Port Adelaide. GWS have had two extra days to rest and prepare than West Coast, who will need to overcome back-to-back road trips to advance to a preliminary final against Richmond. Leon Cameron must also overcome the losses of key personnel with Jeremy Cameron (hamstring) and Shane Mumford (foot) done for the year. The coach will be hoping recalled veteran Steve Johnson can help give his forward line some spark. Eagles coach Adam Simpson resisted the temptation to name star ruckman Nic Naitanui for his first game since suffering a serious knee injury last season.
Key: Can West Coast's Dad's Army of Matt Priddis, Sam Mitchell and Drew Petrie fire again? All three retiring veterans turned back the clock with pivotal performances in their win over the Power. Their ability to recover from the torrid extra-time affair and a gruelling travel schedule will be telling.
Tip: Giants by 18 points.