Sport

Mallinder's Musings for the preliminary finals

Josh Kennedy of the Swans will be a key to his side's chances against the Cats.
Josh Kennedy of the Swans will be a key to his side's chances against the Cats. PAUL MILLER

TONIGHT

CATS V SWANS

At the MCG, 7.50pm

RECENT RECORD: Geelong 5 Sydney 5

LAST TIME: R16 2016: Sydney 15.8 (98) def Geelong 9.6 (60) in Geelong

LAST WEEK: Geelong bye; Sydney (118) def Adelaide (82)

TOMORROW night's match is the one that has captured everyone's imagination - a mouth-watering match-up between two new excitement machines. In contrast, while it's not quite as ho-hum as Hawthorn advancing yet again, this clash will mean either opponent matches the Hawks with a fifth grand final in 12 years. It could also be far more of a dour arm-wrestle.

That said, the battle in the midfield will be worth the price of admission alone - well, depending on where you're getting your tickets from - with Josh Kennedy (pictured) and Patrick Dangerfield, numbers one and two for contested disposals, going head-to-head. At either end, veteran defenders Heath Grundy and Tom Lonergan will have their own man-mountains to climb, in Tom Hawkins and Lance Franklin, respectively.

History of the two playing at the MCG suggests a Sydney win. Okay, the last time they met there was 82 years ago. But the Swans are four from four in finals against Geelong and, most importantly, were the last team to beat the Cats, in round 16, before Geelong went on a eight-match winning streak.

Geelong will be well rested and more settled. Forward Daniel Menzel has an adductor injury, but Lachie Henderson is ready to return and can certainly provide a marking target in place of Menzel in attack. For the Swans, coming off a six-day break, it's been a case of will they or won't they when it comes to injured stars Jarrad McVeigh (calf), Gary Rohan (knee) and Kurt Tippett (jaw). Callum Mills (hamstring) simply won't.

Jeremy Cameron of the Greater Western Sydney Giants will be a constant threat to the Dogs.
Jeremy Cameron of the Greater Western Sydney Giants will be a constant threat to the Dogs. DAN PELED

TOMORROW

GIANTS V BULLDOGS

At Spotless Stadium, Sydney, 5.15pm

RECENT RECORD: GWS 2 Bulldogs 4

LAST TIME: R9 2016: GWS 15.8 (98) def Bulldogs 10.13 (73) in Sydney

LAST WEEK: GWS bye; Bulldogs (107) def Hawthorn (84)

WE'LL be guaranteed a fairytale grand final for either team in this fascinating contest, though for some it could be more like a Brothers Grimm story if the "AFL-created monster” that is GWS progresses to a first premiership decider in its fifth season over those long-suffering Dogs aiming for their first in 55 years.

While they play with similar gay abandon (an expression that would have felt right at home in 1961), they go in with vastly different preparations. The Dogs have had those back-to-back finals against last year's grand finalists, not to mention two trips to Perth either side of the pre-finals bye, and while they have built incredible momentum, will it take its toll? The Giants have sat back in Sydney, playing one game in 28 days. They'll be refreshed but may need a few cans of rust remover among the liniment oil.

Certainly the Bulldogs will find it a little tougher around the contest against the Giants than they did against the Eagles and Hawks. Marcus Bontempelli (with a game-high eight clearances last week) is a 20-year-old dynamo for the Dogs, and Jack Macrae a quiet accumulator (39 touches last week). But the Giants' on-ball brigade, headed by Stephen Coniglio, Dylan Shiel and Josh Kelly, looks too strong and too deep.

The Giants have had to find a replacement for the suspended Steve Johnson, but they still have an array of scoring options - and ones that can actually kick straight after the ex-Cat slotted 0.5 against the Swans - namely Jeremy Cameron (pictured), who kicked five goals last time against the Dogs. Good luck Joel Hamling.

Topics:  afl finals, afl previews



Emotional farewell for AWLQ volunteers and staff

AWLQ CEO Denise Bradley farewells a long-serving volunteer at the West Ipswich facility on Friday.

The AWLQ has left the building. So what's next?

Check out the Top of Town's newest store

TOP CHOICE: Julie Clark, owner of a new shop at the Top of Town, Baby Body Abode, with her dog Beau who greets the customers at the door.

Julie Clark is head over heels with Ipswich

AUDIO: Ipswich's cheapest homes for under $100k

RENOVATOR'S DREAM: This Dinmore property will go under the hammer in October.

The bottom of the Ipswich real estate market marked with renovator

Local Partners

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Things to do around Ipswich this weekend

The Ipswich Orchid Society Garden Spectacular is this weekend.

Things to do around Ipswich

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E6: Suckas Need Bodyguards review

Rosario Dawson and Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E5: Just To Get A Rep review

Mahershala Ali, centre, in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E4: Step In The Arena review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Housing report points to a lift in local market

AFFORDABLE HOMES: First home buyers have the opportunity to purchase modern new homes in the Ipswich region for under $400,000.

Region shaping up as the "final frontier” for affordable housing

Five ways to slash household bills and save the environment

THINK GREEN: Considering the environment when building or buying your next home can save you big dollars. The Village Building Company, who is responsible for Woodlinks Village at Collingwood Park, builds homes with this front of mind.

THERE is nothing as sweet as slashing dollars from your bills.

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets