One of the traits of a great footy rivalry is the removal of recent form.
I believe that the Giants and the Bulldogs remains one of the most underrated rivalries in footy.
There’s been everything from the exchange of players (generally weighted towards the Giants), dramatic finishes in finals, and some controversial on-field moments.
It’s a spirited rivalry, not without respect from both camps, I suspect.
The Giants can play, make no mistake about it, and any thoughts that Round 22 will be repeated should be quickly thrown in the bin.
This game will be on. It’ll be fast and it’ll be fierce.
There are agitators on both teams and there is history at this ground. The preliminary final from 2016 is regarded by many as one of the greatest matches in the history of the game.
The scene is set for another classic. The 2019 Bulldogs look a lot different to the 2016 version, but some similarities still remain. The swarming run and carry has returned to the Bulldogs, and the lightning quick handballing has ignited a most exhilarating second half to this season. But can they keep the momentum going?
This finals series appears wide open. Both of these teams could legitimately give themselves a chance of making it all the way to the big dance if they can get a win this Saturday.
It’s a big ‘if’, but it’s an even bigger carrot. Both sides have significant players missing, symbolic players that hold a spiritual significance to their respective locker rooms.
Dale Morris won’t be out there, but as the players walk up the race to take on their foe, you can bet his spirit will be amongst the pack, helping them along.
Callan Ward, the Giants skipper and former Bulldog, is sidelined with a knee injury too and his presence will be felt amongst his orange and charcoal comrades.
So much of the conversation around footy these days is about the future and what plans could help shape the results, years in advance.
One of the many things that finals footy brings is the excitement of NOW. In an elimination final there is no tomorrow - at least that’s how it feels for the players.
Both coaches will put all of their chips on the table and for two hours on Saturday afternoon we will get to see who has the better hand or who can play their hand more effectively.
Until that moment arrives, we wait. When the bell rings, be ready.