Ahead of Friday night’s preliminary final, Geelong coach Chris Scott believes his side will be facing a Richmond team of inferior quality to last year.
Scott suggests his Cats present as a much stronger outfit than they were in 2018 when they got within 18 and three points of the Tigers in their two encounters.
Damien Hardwick’s Richmond was the best side in the competition until last year’s preliminary final so Geelong’s performances against them, doubled with a 67-point demolition job in Round 12 this season, has Scott full of belief.
However, Tim Watson has moved to counter Scott’s comments after taking a close look at the Tigers, who have won 10 in a row since returning from the bye in Round 15, by comparing their form to last year.
“It’s worth actually analysing what he (Scott) said there about the fact that he believes they (Richmond) were a better team last year because statistically across the year, Richmond were better in 2018,” the Essendon great said on SEN Breakfast.
“Across the year they were better, but since Round 15 this year, it’s a different tale.
“We all know injuries had a huge impact on their season this year.
“Comparing the back end of 2018 to 2019 for Richmond, in '18, they won three of their last four home-and-away games by under 10 points so there were alarm bells going into that finals series. That led to that loss to Collingwood in the prelim final.
“Overall in 2019, Richmond are more rounded than in '18 and '17. Their ball movement from the back half is number one in the competition and that’s without Alex Rance.
“They use the corridor more too. They’re the number four side in the competition at taking the ball from the defensive part of the ground into the corridor. So they are jamming the ball down your throat.
“In some ways they are more attacking and more dangerous than they were in '17 and '18.
“I’m not sure what he’s saying stacks up if you scrutinise it really heavily and deeply.
“I think if you looked at it overall and said, ‘ok, '18 to '19’, he might have a point there. But if you are looking at when they really started to gather their best team together and their momentum started to build.
“Post-Round 15 is when Dusty Martin really started to hit his straps as well. I think they’re (Geelong) facing a much better team than they faced in 2018.”
Taking a deeper dive into Richmond’s 2019 form versus that of their premiership triumph in 2017 and their home-and-away dominance in 2018, it shows that the Tigers are in better nick this time around.
Richmond from Round 15 up until the preliminary final
Listen to Watson discuss Chris Scott's comments on the Tigers below: