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Curse broken, Cats exorcise demons

The curse is broken. Geelong is through to a grand final for the first time since 2011 after four consecutive seasons ended in bitter preliminary finals losses.The 40-point win over Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night is massive for so many different reasons, including:— Geelong will play Richmond in a night grand final on…

The curse is broken.

Geelong is through to a grand final for the first time since 2011 after four consecutive seasons ended in bitter preliminary finals losses.

The 40-point win over Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night is massive for so many different reasons, including:

— Geelong will play Richmond in a night grand final on Saturday, the first all-Victorian grand final since 2011

— The career of superstar Gary Ablett has been extended by a week and will finish on the game’s biggest stage; and

— Patrick Dangerfield will play in a grand final for the first time.

The Cats had to do it tough, but showed undeniable class to slowly outmuscle the Lions in the middle before the flood gates opened in the fourth quarter.

AFL live scores: Preliminary final match centres

The Lions showed signs of making a comeback in the fourth quarter when Lachie Neale cut the margin back to 18-points early — but the Cats kicked the last three goals of the game to book a place in the grand final on the back of an 11.16 (82) to 6.6 (42) victory.

The Cats showed their overwhelming advantage in finals experience by standing tall when the game was on the line to end the young Lions season.

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It sets up a star-studded decider between Richmond, hoping for a third premiership in four years, and the Cats, hoping to win a flag for the first time since coach Chris Scott’s rookie coaching year in 2011.

The Tigers also eliminated the Cats in the 2019 AFL Finals Series.

Geelong had to overcome a 10-2 free-kick count in the second quarter which saw the Lions roar back into the contest.

The Cats blew the Lions midfield apart in the early clearances duel, but the Lions started to win some of the contested ball in the second quarter, cutting the margin to just five points on the back of some dubious umpire decisions.

It included the moment Gary Ablett was pinged for a push in the back despite replays showing the superstar made a clear tackling motion after pushing Lions star Dayne Zorko in the side.

A furious Ablett couldn’t believe the umpires decision, but held his tongue after tossing Zorko the ball.

Zorko went back and missed his set shot from 15m out on a slight angle.

His kick highlighted Brisbane’s goal kicking issues — which have plagued the team all season.

The Lions finished with 4.5 from set shots on Saturday night and missed easy chances in front of goal early that would have allowed them to keep touch with the Cats.

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