Lions Look To Build On Bombers Boilover

Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au
Brent Staker gives Brisbane another tall option. Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au
Last Five Meetings

Round 20, 2012 – Carlton 113 d Brisbane Lions 77 (Etihad Stadium)
Round 2, 2012 – Carlton 154 d Brisbane Lions 63 (Gabba)
Round 12, 2011 – Carlton 124 d Brisbane Lions 63 (Etihad Stadium)
Round 14, 2010 – Carlton 120 d Brisbane Lions 65 (Etihad Stadium)
Round 2, 2010 – Brisbane Lions 107 d Carlton 88 (Gabba)


Form

     Rd 4       Rd 5       Rd 6       Rd 7       Rd 8   
Brisbane   L  W  L  L  W
Carlton   W  W  W  L  W

Rarely has a single win had such a dramatic effect on the outlook of one football team, but the Brisbane Lions’ stunning 10-point win over Essendon last Saturday was the shot in the arm Michael Voss’s team so desperately needed after a terrible start to the season. It was the manner of victory as much as anything that made people query how they could have been so bad in the first seven rounds, with the teams ferocity at the ball and the man in complete contrast to their efforts in the first seven rounds.

The Lions have paid a price for their physicality, though. Key defender Daniel Merrett will miss the next three matches after being rubbed out for his sling on ‘Dons forward Michael Hurley. First-year defender Justin Clarke is also out for a week after accepting a one-match ban for a charging offence. Queenslander Sam Michael is listed to make his debut while small forward Josh Green comes back in to the 22.

Carlton has been boosted by the return of silky-skilled Bryce Gibbs and Jarrad Waite will line up in the forward 50 after overcoming a finger problem, but tagger Andrew Carrazzo will miss another week due to a calf injury. Ditto for Chris Yarran and his dodgy hamstring with the Blues taking a cautious approach to his return.


Key Men

(Lions) Brent Staker – He is just one game in to his comeback from multiple knee reconstructions, but former Eagle Brent Staker showed the Lions faithful on Saturday night how important he can be to this team. He provided a target against the Bombers and kicked the game sealer deep in the final term. He can play back or forward, and at 196 centimetres he has even pinch hit in the ruck on occasion. He has played just 30 games for the Lions across three-and-a-bit seasons, but he will be welcomed back with open arms if he puts in more performances like that in the weeks to come.

(Blues) Lachlan Henderson – Hindsight is a wonderful thing and how the Lions must wish they could turn back time on the Brendan Fevola trade. Not just because the mercurial forward wore out his welcome at a second club very quickly, but part of that trade was Lachlan Henderson who has turned out to be a very decent player at both ends of the ground. Against St Kilda two weeks back he bagged three goals and ten marks, while he was one of the Blues’ best against Port posting 21 possessions and nine marks.


Prediction

Carlton has had the wood on Brisbane in recent seasons winning the teams’ past four match-ups by an average of 61 points , and most of the damage has been caused by a rampant Blues midfield. Mark Murphy , Chris Judd , Kade Simpson and Andrew Carrazzo, among others, have as a unit destroyed Brisbane’s centremen with monotonous regularity. Put simply, if the Lions can’t get some traction in the middle then they’re no hope of stopping the Blues. Brisbane’s defence managed to repel the Bombers on countless occasions last weekend but it will be a different kettle of fish on Saturday night trying to stop Carlton’s array of nippy small forwards. Blues by 25 points

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