Key duels in the AFL grand final

THREE KEY MATCH-UPS IN THE ADELAIDE-RICHMOND AFL GRAND FINAL

Dustin Martin (Richmond) v Rory Sloane (Adelaide)

Neither coach is a huge fan of the hard tag, which leaves the door open for a megastar match-up between arguably the most important players from each team. Greater Western Sydney’s Stephen Coniglio kept Martin reasonably quiet in the first half of the preliminary final, but he helped break the game open when he was moved to the goal square and kicked three goals in a row. Sloane isn’t as big a scoreboard threat, but he will hurt the Tigers with his influence at stoppages if not enough defensive pressure work is put into him.

Taylor Walker (Adelaide) v Alex Rance (Richmond)

Adelaide’s larger-than-life leader has kicked 52 goals this year and hasn’t been kept goalless once, but his influence extends further than his individual output. The selfless Crows skipper creates plenty of scoring opportunities for his teammates, leading the league in goal assists. Of course, Rance – this year’s All-Australian captain – is an opponent who commands the utmost respect. His ability to nullify a dangerous opponent and create from defence is second to none.

Jack Riewoldt (Richmond) v Daniel Talia (Adelaide)

Riewoldt was quiet with just one goal against the Giants and while his role is more than just hitting the scoreboard himself these days he’ll want to do better against Adelaide. That’s easier said than done against Talia, a two-time All-Australian full-back who is in good form. Talia will need to be at his best when the ball hits the ground too, with a key part of Riewoldt’s role to help feed the Tigers’ brigade of dangerous small forwards.

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