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Adelaide vs. Richmond
Adelaide looking to win their first flag in 19 years, Richmond looking to break an even longer drought. This grand final between the two most consistently great sides of the season should be a belter no matter which way it falls.
Adelaide's been the best side all season and much of it has been led by their forward line. They're the only side that has never struggled to score or hit a roadblock going forward, scoring 110 points a game this season, far and away ahead of everyone else. The ball movement and understanding between Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins, Eddie Betts, Tom Lynch and Charlie Cameron is phenomenal. They score with ease and have done it so consistently that it would be a surprise if they couldn't post a healthy score on Saturday.
It can't be denied the advantage Richmond has at the 'G, though. They've got the stingiest backline in the competition but that gets even better at the MCG. In 13 games there this year, they've won 11, with their two losses by nine points to Sydney and after the siren to Fremantle. They're the best team in the competition for points conceded and scores conceded per inside 50, and those stats all improve at the 'G. The worst score they've let in there this year was 89, all the way back in round one. This is the toughest test Adelaide's forward line will face all year.
Their forward line and their ball movement is starting to click, too. Ever since that infamous game against St Kilda in round 16, the Tigers have averaged over 100 points a game, scoring as efficiently as anyone when they get it forward and spreading it as well as anyone. Leading goalkicker Jack Riewoldt has kicked two goals in two finals and they've still put up healthy scores of 91 and 103, with Dustin Martin, Daniel Rioli, Jacob Townsend and Josh Caddy all hitting the scoreboard when needed.
But is Richmond's forward pressure such an advantage? They're sensational at it, but so are the Crows - Adelaide's ranked third in the competition for pressure, ahead of Richmond in fourth. The Tigers' pressure can spook a side like GWS or Geelong, both of whom saw their ball movement falter, but maybe not Adelaide.
Both sides are equally good around the ball and in the midfield, led by stars such as Martin, Trent Cotchin, Rory Sloane and Matt Crouch. Adelaide's forward line versus Richmond's defence will be a brilliant contest, but so too Richmond's forward line versus Adelaide's defence. This will be a seriously good game.
Richmond by 15