NAB Cup Grand Final

Picture: George Salpigtidis/theaustralian.com.au
Former skipper Chris Judd is ready for his first game of the pre-season. Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Michael Voss came from an era when Brisbane had finals-hardened veterans across the park as the club won three premierships and played in another grand final at the start of this century. Looking across his 2013 list, precious few have big match experience, but his Lion cubs will get the chance to play a pre-season blockbuster when they take on Carlton at Etihad Stadium in the NAB Cup grand final on Friday night.

While Carlton has included two-time Brownlow Medal winner Chris Judd for his first gallop of the season, Voss has also been able to bring in two of his shining lights from last year in fast-developing midfielder Jack Redden and experienced defender Matt Maguire. Ruckman Matthew Leuenberger remains out of the side as a precautionary measure due to a calf complaint, but second-year big man Billy Longer has put in some sterling efforts so far while recruit Stefan Martin can also pinch hit in the ruck.

The Blues will be missing Heath Scotland, who won’t be around for the opening two rounds of the home and away season due to a club-imposed suspension. Silky-skilled utility Bryce Gibbs comes back in to the squad after being rested against Adelaide, while young power forwards Levi Casboult and Sam Rowe have a chance to push for a spot in the 22 for the opening round against Richmond.

Carlton completely dismantled the Lions early last season when the Blues started the year in red-hot form, and even after their mid-season woes, they still managed to dispose of the Lions by 36 points in round 20. The Blues have won the last four against Brisbane, with three of those victories coming by 50-plus points. 

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