WHAT HAPPENED IN WEEK THREE OF THE AFL FINALS:
* THEY SAID IT: "Our game is better. The playing group have improved ... we're more consistent across the board." - Richmond coach Damien Hardwick rates the 2020 Tigers ahead of his 2017 and 2019 premiership teams.
* STATS THAT MATTER: This year is the first time in AFL-VFL history that both grand final teams have lost a finals match prior to the season decider. Port Adelaide have now been AFL minor premiers three times (2002, 2003 and 2020) without reaching the grand final, although they also finished on top in their 2004 premiership season.
* MAN OF THE ROUND: Dustin Martin is always a dangerous proposition for opponents but he really comes alive in the finals and did so again in the six-point win over Port Adelaide. The superstar's 21 disposals and two goals were crucial in helping the Tigers get over the line.
* KEY MOMENT: There was less than a kick the difference midway through the final quarter on Friday night when Port Adelaide's Hamish Hartlett was controversially penalised for deliberate out of bounds deep in the back pocket. Kane Lambert expertly snapped the resulting free kick through the big sticks to give the Tigers a crucial 10-point buffer in a low-scoring contest.
* TALKING POINT: Both qualifying final winners lost their preliminary finals, adding weight to the theory that the extra week off after a pre-finals bye actually hinders their chances by upsetting their routines and halting momentum. Defeats for Port Adelaide and Brisbane mean six out of 10 qualifying final winners have failed to reach the grand final over the last five years since the bye was introduced.
* TRIBUNAL WATCH: Richmond captain Trent Cotchin was never likely to be suspended for tripping Hamish Hartlett and ended up copping a $500 fine. As expected, he is free to play in the grand final. Port's Peter Ladhams can accept a $1000 fine for striking Noah Balta.
* KEY INJURIES: Brad Ebert (PA, concussion) Ryan Burton (PA, thigh), Grant Birchall (Bris, hamstring).
*WHAT'S NEXT: Richmond and Geelong will do battle at the Gabba on Saturday night in the first all-Victorian grand final since 2011. It will be the first season decider played outside Victoria, and the first in the late time slot. Cats champion Gary Ablett will attempt to snare one final accolade in his decorated career, with the grand final being his 357th and last game. Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley says his club does not need big recruits to challenge again next year, while Brisbane hope to land want-away Essendon key forward Joe Daniher.