Strugglers Seek Win No. 2

Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Darren England
Jack Redden needs to step up for the Lions without Daniel Rich. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Darren England
Last Five Meetings

Round 14, 2012 – Brisbane Lions 122 d Melbourne Demons 61
Round 1, 2012 – Brisbane Lions 119 d Melbourne Demons 78
Round 3, 2011 – Melbourne Demons 82 d Brisbane Lions 71
Round 18, 2010 – Melbourne Demons 74 d Brisbane Lions 64
Round 5, 2010 – Melbourne Demons 103 d Brisbane Lions 53


Form

     Rd 1       Rd 2       Rd 3        Rd 4   
Brisbane   L  L  W  L
Melbourne   L  L  L  W

To most footy observers, this match probably would have been looked at as being for points already in the bag for Brisbane after its outstanding NAB Cup form. As woeful as Melbourne has been over the opening month – and let’s face it, waiting until the fourth quarter to run down GWS at home is not a good showing – Brisbane hasn’t been much better. The Lions were appalling in losses to the Bulldogs and Kangaroos in Melbourne, and only scraped past the Suns by two points a couple of weeks back.

Things haven’t gotten any better in the Lions’ den this week with on-baller Daniel Rich suffering a shoulder injury at training which is set to keep him out for a couple of months. Rich hasn’t been overly effective the first month of the season, but his left-boot is still a weapon and his ability to pick players out in the forward 50 will be sorely missed by a team struggling to put a decent score on the board at the moment. Brisbane has a scary looking draw in front of it, and the club really needs to get the four points this weekend.

The Dees have rested young gun midfielder Jack Viney after a lacklustre effort against the Giants, while former Lion Mitch Clark will miss a return to the ‘Gabba due to a foot injury. Brisbane’s best player so far this season, rebounding defender Pearce Hanley, is suspended while an ankle injury has sidelined ruck/forward Stefan Martin. Michael Voss resisted the temptation to include veteran mid Simon Black after his return in the NEAFL last weekend.


Key Men

(Lions) Jack Redden – This was supposed to be the season when Jack Redden joined the upper bracket of AFL midfielders. He started off as a tackling machine, became a ball-winner the past two seasons, but needed to find a way to get the ball in more attacking areas. He failed miserably with two quiet games to start with, but his performance against the Kangaroos in a well beaten side was impressive. He finished with 23 touches, six marks, five tackles, but just as importantly, five inside 50s. With no Daniel Rich and Simon Black, the Lions will need him to repeat the nine clearances he produced against the Suns a fortnight back, as well.

(Demons) Shannon Byrnes – With no Mitch Clark, the Demons will have to find some goals from somewhere. Last week it was the likes of Jeremy Howe , Michael Evans and former Geelong forward Shannon Byrnes who did the damage against GWS. You don’t win two premiership medals with the Cats unless you know how to play, and Byrnes still has the speed and finishing ability to be an effective small forward at this level. He started the year slowly, as did just everyone at Melbourne, but last week’s game gives him plenty to build on.


Prediction

With GWS up by 19 points at the ‘G last Sunday, Melbourne’s season was set to go from bad to worse and beyond. Whether a 12-goal final term against a team of tiring kids is enough to kick-start the Demons’ season is yet to be seen, but at least they’ll be coming in to this game with a certain level of confidence. Morale at the ‘Gabba can’t be too high, and if they drop this one, the calls for the head of one of the club’s favourite sons, Michael Voss, will become far louder. Brisbane won both games easily last season, and they weren’t that good in 2012, either. Lions by 39 points

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