Rarely has an AFL clash between second-last and third-last in round 10 had so much riding on it.
Greater Western Sydney and Richmond are coming off the fortnight from hell and badly need a win on Saturday at Spotless Stadium.
Giants assistant coach Alan McConnell predicts a willing opening to the clash, where his team will try to end a five-game losing streak and the Tigers will chase their first win in four matches.
“They’ve spent a bit of time on one-one-ones, the contest,” he said of Richmond’s preparations this week.
“With our desire to step up in that area as well, you’d think it will be on.
“There’s a bit in this for both teams, make no mistake.
“We’d like to make a bit of a statement … the first quarter will be pivotal to the contest and finding rhythm.”
After the Giants collapsed to West Coast by 111 points in round eight, their bye week was dominated by Toby Greene’s club suspension.
They also freely swung the axe for this match, with Greene one of seven omissions.
Greene and Nick Haynes (ankle) were the only forced changes as GWS also welcomed back three of their best players – Jeremy Cameron, Shane Mumford and Adam Treloar.
McConnell pointed out that the returns of Mumford, Stephen Gilham and Dylan Addison means more than 450 games of AFL experience coming into their young side.
No-one does crisis quite like Richmond and the Tigers have outdone themselves lately.
Rather than rise to the occasion last weekend and mark the death of club legend Tom Hafey with a win, the Tigers were poor in their upset loss to Melbourne.
That sparked another week of focus on the underperforming Tigers.
Key forward Jack Riewoldt added fuel to the fire when he said Richmond had unsuccessfully tried to copy Hawthorn’s game style.
Coach Damien Hardwick famously said a day later that they had taken Riewoldt’s foot out of his mouth and “my foot out of his arse”.
Hardwick considered dropping Riewoldt for Saturday’s match.
The Tigers made three changes and there could be a fourth on Saturday, with Anthony Miles named as an emergency.
Miles was elevated from the rookie list this week and he might be a late replacement for captain Trent Cotchin, who suffered an ankle injury early in the Melbourne loss.