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W2W4, Finals Week 3: Which Cats forwards stand up without Tomahawk?

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Just four teams remain in the hunt for premiership glory. This is What to Watch For in this week's preliminary finals.

Can the Cats forwards stand up with no Tom?

What was already a mountain to climb has essentially become Mount Everest with Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins ruled out of Friday night's preliminary final against Richmond for silly rough conduct.

The Cats will need to end a 10-game Tigers winning streak if they are to advance to their first Grand Final since 2011 and without their All-Australian full forward it's going to be an almighty challenge.

Not only has Hawkins booted 56 goals and assisted 24 more in season 2019, but he showed last weekend against West Coast that when he's on he's just about unstoppable. Contested marking, brute force and accurate goalkicking make him one of the competition's greatest key forwards.

But he won't be there on Friday night and Chris Scott has to find other avenues to goal.

Esava Ratugolea, who was also impressive against the Eagles, will need to spend more time as the key forward and he's probably going to need to kick three or four if the Cats are a chance.

Gary Ablett is another who must lift inside the forward 50m. He's kicked 33 goals this season, but only seven since Round 16. We all know how devastating he can be when at his best and he simply has to find it for this clash.

There's plenty of other Cats who could make a real name for themselves. Gryan Miers, Tom Atkins, Brandon Parfitt and Gary Rohan all spring to mind.

But one thing is for sure, if the Cats can't muster a score close to triple figures you'd think they're no chance of topping a Tigers outfit which has averaged 99.4 points per game since the mid-season bye.

Could the Giants send Matt de Boer to Brodie Grundy?

Alright, alright, we get it - it's not your traditional tagger's match-up, but hear us out.

If you're Leon Cameron, you're sending your best stopper to Collingwood's most influential player, right? Well, while the Pies have a wealth of talent in a midfield which boasts the likes of Scott Pendlebury, Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams and Steele Sidebottom, clearly their most influential player is ruckman Brodie Grundy.

We're not saying that de Boer lines up on the other side of the centre circle at centre bounces, or goes body-on-body at throw ins. Grundy's presence at ground level and in the clinches is what makes him such a dynamic weapon for the Pies, and that's where de Boer excels.

The GWS stopper is like a pig in mud when it comes to the contest, and if he can pressure, harass, tackle and annoy Grundy once the ball hits the deck, he may be able to quell the big man's confidence and restrict his impact around the ground.

De Boer has had a stunning year despite missing a number of weeks through injury; just once has a direct opponent managed to tally 15 possessions or more. Grundy has averaged 21 touches in 2019 and has racked up 24 or more on seven occasions - impressive numbers for a ruckman.

Of course, Grundy's direct ruck opponent will need to shadow him when he pushes forward or moves to space, but is it too ridiculous to suggest that de Boer could do a handy job in the contest on the All-Australian ?