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Shiel ready to return the favour over Richmond headache

Dylan Shiel jokes he can't remember last year's preliminary final failure against Richmond, but the star Giants midfielder can recall just about every moment.

That includes running out before about 90,000 screaming Tigers fans at a yellow and black clad MCG.

Concussed: The hit by Trent Cotchin that ended Dylan Shiel's preliminary final.

Photo: Channel 7

The final siren which sent Richmond through to a first AFL grand final in 35 years, and consigned GWS to a second consecutive preliminary final loss.

And above all the first-quarter collision with Tigers captain Trent Cotchin which left Shiel out of the game with concussion, and led to days of speculation suggesting the Richmond general would be suspended for the grand final before the Match Review Panel cleared him of any wrongdoing.

"I was happy for him to play, no one wants to see the captain of a grand final team miss," Shiel said.

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"I certainly wouldn't want Cal Ward or Phil Davis to miss on my end that's for sure, if we were to ever make one. We play a high pressure, high speed game and we get judged on split second decisions at every contest of the game.

"Unfortunately I copped one on the chin and it ended my game. It's not an issue, I don't really think about it any more, I won't say I'm happy that Richmond and Cotch went on to win the flag but it is what it is and I've moved on."

Shiel squares off against Cotchin's Tigers on Saturday at Spotless Stadium for the first time since last year's September failure, desperate to help his side make up ground on the top eight.

While the Giants have stumbled this season hovering around the lower reaches of the top eight for the most part, Richmond has arguably gone to another level and sit a game clear at the top of the table.

The Giants are preparing for the Tigers' high-pressure game, and Shiel knows Cotchin will likely be right in the mix of it again.

"When you get blokes like Cotchin, and you get guys like Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene for us, they're guys that have made themselves really special players because they play on the edge and they seem to find themselves in those high impact collision situations that are close to the line," Shiel said.

"That's a big part of our game and why people like to go watch it, for those sort of players.

"They're one game clear of a pretty tight competition so I think that's pretty impressive.

"They're a team that I enjoy to watch, what they're doing is working really well for them. I'm not going to sit here and pump them up too much because I'm hoping to knock them off this weekend."

The Giants have had a strong month, winning four-straight before last weekend's narrow loss to high-flying West Coast in Perth.

Yet they still have much work to do if they're to play finals football this year, and the Eagles loss dropped them to 10th spot where they sit half a game outside the eight.

Coach Leon Cameron spoke during the week about the importance of his side falling into the trap of changing their style to match Richmond, and Shiel echoed the sentiments saying GWS must focus on their own their own strengths if they're to overcome the premiers.

"If we can knock them off it's because we've played to our strengths that make the Giants good," Shiel said.

"We're a pretty strong stoppage team and when we have the game on our terms, we can defend really well and we can offend as good as anyone in the competition.

"We're certainly going to prepare for their work rate and pressure because it's the best in the competition. We're not going to try and beat them at their own game – we're going to try and beat them at what makes us great, try and get it on our terms, not play it on their hands."

James Buckley writes on AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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