Geelong to send tagger to Lions star Neale

·3-min read

Geelong coach Chris Scott will attempt to put the clamps down on Brisbane's Brownlow Medal favourite Lachie Neale in Friday night's AFL preliminary final.

After an excellent home-and-away season, Neale has gone to another level in the finals to help propel the Lions to two thrilling upset victories.

The star midfielder racked up 39 touches in Brisbane's elimination final victory over Richmond as the Tigers opted not to send a tagger to Neale.

The 29-year-old was held to just nine possessions by Melbourne's Angus Brayshaw in the first half of last Friday night's semi-final, but Neale got hot after halftime as the Lions overran the Demons in memorable fashion.

Scott has opted not to call upon Irishman Mark O'Connor, who was the Cats' medical sub in their qualifying final win and has restricted Neale in previous games, instead naming an unchanged side.

Versatile tall Mark Blicavs shapes as an option to send to Neale at the MCG on Friday night.

Scott is certain the Cats won't be allowing the star Lion to run free.

"He's had a great season and I'd expected he'd win the Brownlow ... he certainly has to be in that conversation given the year he's had," Scott told reporters on Thursday.

"In the last two weeks he's been terrific as well so he needs to get some attention, it's kind of Russian roulette if you try to play too offensively against him.

"As always with us, it's a collective and it can be a little deceiving to see the match-ups at the first bounce because it could well be very different five or six minutes later."

Geelong are clear on what they need to do to defeat the Lions and progress to their first grand final since losing the 2020 decider against Richmond.

Scott has predicted another fierce battle against the Lions, who are riding high on the confidence from their first win at the MCG since 2014.

It will be the second preliminary final between the teams in three years after the Cats thumped the Lions by 40 points at the Gabba in 2020.

Geelong will enter the clash as hot favourites after winning their past 14 games and claiming the minor premiership.

"(Brisbane) have played two pretty close games and played well enough to beat probably the best team of the modern era (Richmond), and Melbourne might be the second best, so that's pretty good form," Scott said.

"We have always been pretty clear, and the competition would have been clear, around what their game looks like when it's really going.

"I'd refer to the best teams over my time in footy, and generally they don't trick you, you know what they're good at, they're just hard to stop."

Geelong will stick with ruckman Rhys Stanley, despite his underwhelming performance against Collingwood two weeks ago.

The Lions' ruck stocks will receive a boost with Oscar McInerney to come back in after he missed the clash with the Demons due to concussion.

Enigmatic forward Joe Daniher will also return after he was a late withdrawal for the semi-final due to the early arrival of his first child.

Former Cats tall Darcy Fort and Tom Fullarton are the unlucky Lions to go out of the team.