Grand Final Analysis 2020

it’s Precision vs Chaos in offence this week, Richmond being Chaos and Geelong being precision. Geelong is the highest in scoring, highest possession and also contested possession side this season. but the tigers are second highest for scoring, second for rebound 50s and 1st for inside 50s. In this article we will breakdown how each side could possibly look to attack and defend, this will help you formulate your grand final prediction.

What Geelong need to consider

What Geelong need to consider 

If you are wondering why would Geelong be the highest possession side, wouldn’t that increase their chances of turnover? It is because they choose to move the ball slow so they are always organised defensively behind the ball in case they turn the ball over. Short territory gains are easier passes than longer passes through zoning defences. Which allows them to defend while they are attacking. 


Geelong may have to move the ball quick on the rebound to avoid the tigers pressure forwards and find marks in between the arcs, Geelong have improved their mark play on rate from the defensive half by 11.8% in the past two weeks, in the season their mark play on rate was 23.6%. 

Richmond don’t seem to defend uncontested marks as well as what they do in the contest. (Which is Geelongs strength) Teams that rebound fast have shown to stop Richmond from getting re-entry scores. When this has happened the tigers haven’t been able to lock the ball in as easily or intercept from good forward pressure, because it has exited their forward 50 to quickly to apply the pressure. But usually Richmond’s pressure does force long high kicks before teams have managed a fast rebound or a short option and a mark, this allows for the tigers backs to intercept and force repeat entries, that’s why they are ranked #1 in the competition for inside 50s. 


Richmond have previously played an extra defender in their defence at boundary throw in’s in-between the arcs. If you are to win the clearance look to handball the ball more and use the extra number at the stoppage to remove the possible impact from the spare defender, low flat kicks to leads takes an interceptor out of the game. Geelong has been doing this well in recent weeks. 

An extra at the contest can impact a spare defender’s ability to influence the game, but a spare defender cannot influence the ability of an extra at the contest.

Teams that win stoppage, use chaos ball forward and then press quickly to lock it in have also previously exploited Richmond (e.g. hawthorn Rd 3 and Port Adelaide in Rd 11 ) If you stop Richmond’s from switching the ball they’ll try and go through you with handball but if you press they most likely will try and go out the back. Simply chaos/dirty ball takes away their intercept, which generates a majoring attacking strategy of theirs. This gives teams time to set the press. Richmond haven’t seemed to like some teams that press, as it makes it hard for them to rebound the ball. The tigers will back their strategy by hand if they can’t they will switch it. 

Although Geelong did press more in their last meeting in round 17 and the Richmond forwards left the Geelong defenders in the centre of the ground. So Geelong will prefer to stick with what they usually do which is roll back and concede ground if Richmond rebound the ball well. 

In saying that Richmond try and take Geelong on through the contest they will have a challenge, Geelong has conceded only 1 rebound 50 to score in the finals, this has been from 107 opposition rebound 50 attempts. This clearly indicates that if you move the ball slow it allows for your defence to set up behind the ball. “Geelong are the best side at defending with the ball”.


Richmond are known for being a great team in transition and rebounding the ball, the likes of Houli, Baker and Short allows for these fast players to generate their attack. 

Does Geelong have the speed in their forward line to match the rebound speed of these Richmond defenders? Statistics say yes, as they are ranked 4th for tackles inside 5o, but from the naked eye it seems to be doubtful. 


Does Geelong play Dangerfield forward or Midfield or time in both? Most likely this will be based upon a needs basis. Geelong runs deeper through the midfield and have Richmond covered on the wings, so this may allow for Danger to play forward more if they aren’t being beaten in this area, but they can’t afford to lose contested Ball and clearance as they may lose the game. 

Geelong has become more efficient from clearances since Danger has gone forward, as Danger often blasts the ball for meters gained and faster entries. He has burned teammates at times, but he has also set up many scores from this to, this is faster but more risky and the cats have preferred the more efficient option which is Danger forward. 

It may be best for Parfit to start as a half forward with Danger in the midfield at centre clearances, this will increase Geelong’s chances of winning this area of the game and strengthening a known cats vulnerability of being scored against from centre clearances. After the clearance, Parfit and Danger can swap positions, This is known as a mid-flip. 

Although Danger has kicked 10 goals from his last 6 games being a forward, 3 of them against Sydney and 4 against Collingwood, yet was held scoreless in his last game. He did have 9 inside 50s though. 


Tag Martin? You must, he is involved in 40% of Richmond scores which is more than any other player in the finals, so will Martin get away from Guthrie if he is to tag? Guthrie a known inside Mid that has spent a large amount of his career as a defender and a tagger, he has been rotating back as a defender and being involved in the kick in’s.

What Richmond need to consider


Richmond who are ranked 17th in clearances did dominate Port who are ranked 1st in the last term to win the game. Tigers finished in the last quarter 12-0 to port in clearances after losing all night and +22 contested possession in the last quarter, which they were losing all game also. It was very impressive how Richmond seemed to beat Port at their own game, they found another way to score and win the match.

Then against St Kilda, Richmond did kick around 6 goals from centre clearance which is meant to be Richmond’s weakness, as they were ranked 17th for clearances all season. But now the tigers are the best clearance side in the comp being #1 since the finals after being 17th all season. They have turned a weakness into a strength within three games. 

Last time Richmond played Geelong they lost clearances by 17 and the cats had Joel Selwood, Rhys Stanley and Ablett but the tigers had no Edwards and Prestia.

Geelong have conceded the most scores from centre clearances this year. They are ranked 18th for scores against from centre clearances which is very interesting. Yet Geelong is Ranked #1 for clearances, Richmond are ranked 12th for pre clearance pressure so they would want to sharpen that up against the cats big bodied midfielders because of their dominant season around the ball.


Richmond play aggressive with handball through the corridor, their forwards come up high and get involved as well as the defenders running through the handball chains to allow space for Jack and Tom to lead into. 

Houli was coming off the back of the square against St Kilda and was very influential, if you come off the back of the square and the ball goes over your head your fellow defenders need to be prepared to support you by dropping off their man and pressing to kill the free option. 

Richmond’s big risk is very effective for them, if you are Geelong do you look to nullify Houli’s run or exploit him by backing your midfielders to win the ball and passing to the free man? 


Do you let Miers, Menagola, Duncan, Tuohy and Dalhaus to come up the ground to flood the backline and take away space for the opposition to lead into or stick with them and not allow to generate the highly effective Geelong rebound? Remember Geelong do set their defence up when they attack. 


Richmond is playing predominantly McIntosh and Pickett on the wings with a rotation of Edwards, Lambert, Rioli etc on as the third winger, they will be going up against Duncan, Tuohy, Simpson and Menegola who have all been in great form in recent weeks. Luckily McIntosh and Pickett have been good performers on the biggest stage before, so has Duncan. 

When you play 8 defenders with one as a ruck reliever, you lose a wing rotation, this means you need to play other players through the wings for fresher legs as it’s too hard for just two players for the whole game. Richmond probably need to replace a player in the wing rotation which takes a Lambert etc out of the midfield rotation at times. Contested ball and clearance will most likely be the second most critical aspect of this game and the odds are against Richmond already according to the seasons form guide of the two sides in this area. 


The tigers have fallen to 11th in tackles inside 50 this season, yet they are still ranked #1 for interceptions and 4th for tackles. In previous seasons the tigers have been top 4 for forward 50 tackles. 

Their pressure needs to be on in the forward Half to force more turnovers closer to their goal against the highest scoring team this season, Geelong is one of the most dangerous counter attacking teams, they score a majority of their points from this. 


Richmond has dropped away in points scored from turnover after being #1 all season, they were scoring 45.4 from turnovers and now to #15 as of the finals at 29.7. This could be because Richmond took 1 intercept mark against Brisbane which generates their attack as their ranked 1st in the Comp for intercepts and teams are now exploiting this, yet they still didn’t lose the game by much. 


Although Geelong has started Blicavs as a ruck, Stanley at CHF and Rohan on a wing, then they Swap Stanley to Ruck, Blicavs to wing and Rohan to CHF so Blicavs can become a winger that supports the defence through interception. Does Richmond Hold Blicavs accountable by throwing Balata forward as he did play ruck and forward last season. 


Because he is the Full forward going in the ruck against a pure ruckman, it makes the Full back free, instead of putting the full back on the goal line, play the full back at the fall of the ball in the stoppage to tackle Hawkins if he grabs the ball from the ruck. 


So, which attacking style is easier to disrupt? Which defensive style is easier to exploit? 

  • Geelong is ranked 4th for hit outs to Richmond 11th. 
  • Geelong ranked 1st for marks inside 50 to Richmond 2nd. 
  • Richmond is ranked 1st for turnovers, but Port Adelaide and Collingwood are placed at 2nd and 3rd, most likely because of their Chaos entries. (Geelong 11th)
  • Geelong is ranked 2nd for tackles to Richmond 4th. 
  • Geelong is ranked 4th for goal accuracy to Richmond 7th, does this mean Geelong gets better looks at goal? 

Geelong seems to lead many more of the statistics, but we all know they can be miss leading at times. I believe the best sides find other ways to score, they exploit the best defences when the heat is on and both teams have done that in recent weeks. Chaos ball movement is more forgiving than precision but is less predictable for both sides. Precision requires perfection but is more predictable for both sides. Clearly contested possession and clearance dominance will be critical, especially for Richmond to nullify Geelong strength, but speed disrupts defences and Richmond play with more speed, but as David Wheadon once said, “It’s a lot easier to breakdown a sequence of events than build them, you can knock down a house in a weekend but it might take you 5 months to build it.” Maybe that’s why the team that defends the rebound the best wins the game. 

Credit, Fox footy, Nick Johnson, Liam Cavanagh, Josh Sale and other participants in the course “Creating & coaching AFL game plans”.