Semi Final week is upon us and there are no more second chances. With two sides coming off strong wins and two sides keen to bounce back from poor losses, all four teams will be looking for big contributions from all 22 players.
Let’s take a look at who your side needs to lift after their opening finals performance.
Despite their calamitous performance against Collingwood which was full of basic skill errors, the Cats only lost by 10 points. However, the Eagles are looking to go back-to-back and if Geelong repeats their effort on Friday night, they’ll bow out in straight sets.
One man who struggled immensely against the Pies was Tom Hawkins. Hawkins was not provided with excellent delivery from his midfielders, but when he did get the ball he failed to take his chances, finishing with 0.4. The All-Australian full-forward played a crucial role in Geelong’s 2009 and 2011 premiership successes and Chris Scott will need Hawkins firing if they are to win it all again.
After a 55-point victory, it can be a bit harsh to single out an under-performer, but Tom Hickey admittedly had a poor elimination final. Hickey had just six touches and 13 hit-outs during the match and failed to make an impact on the scoreboard.
Adam Simpson will be hoping the 28-year-old can make more of an impact around the ground and tighten up his mistake, after coughing up three free kicks and five clangers.
The Lions were outclassed by Richmond again last week, just 13 days after their Round 23 loss to Damien Hardwick’s side and there were a few players who failed to make an impact, most notably Eric Hipwood. Although Brisbane had 25 shots at goal, their main target had none and was unsighted for the majority of the game, finishing with eight touches and only two marks.
Hipwood’s biggest contribution in the game was overturning a Brisbane shot at goal after he clumsily knocked over Richmond’s Dylan Grimes. With Jeremy Cameron posing a dangerous threat fro the Giants, Brisbane will be hoping Hipwood can get the better of his GWS counterpart and kick the Lions to victory.
Stefan Martin is one of Brisbane’s most consistent players and possesses the ability to rack up disposals all over the ground, which leaves Shane Mumford with an important job on Saturday night. Although Mumford recorded more hit-outs than the Bulldogs’ Tim English, he struggled to curb English’s impact around the ground with the youngster tallying 17 disposals and a goal.
‘Mummy’ had just one kick to his name and gave away five free kicks in a performance he cannot afford to replicate against the experienced Brisbane ruckman. With both midfields evenly matched, Mumford won’t just be crucial in providing first use to his teammates, but he’ll also have to curb Martin’s influence around the ground for the Giants to progress into the Preliminary finals.