Having already borne the brunt of the best Sydney has to offer back in July, there is no danger of Geelong underestimating the huge challenge posed by the Swans in their upcoming AFL preliminary final.
The Cats earned the bye last weekend by virtue of their epic two-point victory over Hawthorn in the qualifying final back on September 7 and will be a refreshed outfit when they square off against Sydney at the MCG on Friday night.
A highlight of the encounter between the teams which filled the top two spots on the ladder at the conclusion of the home and away season will be the clash of two of the league’s deepest and toughest midfields.
The Swans dominated that contest within a contest back in round 16, when the likes of Luke Parker, Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack and Tom Mitchell held sway in the middle as Sydney handed Geelong a 38-point thumping.
It was only the Cats’ seventh loss in their past 72 games at Simonds Stadium
“Our midfield is now gelling a bit more, we’ve got a bit more chemistry now and the inclusion of Scotty Selwood and Sam Menegola has been fantastic for us,” Geelong utility Mark Blicavs said on Wednesday.
“We’ll go in really confident on Friday night but we know the damage the Swans can do.
“They showed that against Adelaide on Saturday night and they towelled us up down here.”
On the most recent occasion Geelong played in a preliminary final, back in 2013, Blicavs was a wide-eyed rookie still making the transition from steeplechaser to elite AFL footballer.
That match ended in a five-point defeat to arch-rivals Hawthorn, who would go on to win the next three flags.
“I didn’t really know the opportunity that was in front of me, but I realise it a bit more now,” said Blicavs.
“Back then I was a 22-year-old who was just playing footy because I enjoyed it and didn’t understand how big a scale it was.”
Blicavs said the Cats would benefit from having played only one match since trouncing Melbourne by 111 points back on August 27 to close out the home and away season.
“I think it will keep us fresh mentally and physically from the Hawthorn game,” he said.
“That was probably the most physically and mentally demanding game I’ve been involved in.”