'Pies Try To Refocus On Footy

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Colleen Petch
Luke Ball was a standout in the 'Pies loss last weekend. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Colleen Petch
Last Five Meetings

Round 7, 2012 - Collingwood 116 d Brisbane Lions 58 (The Gabba)
Round 22, 2011 – Collingwood 102 d Brisbane Lions 84 (MCG)
Round 10, 2010 – Brisbane Lions 88 d Collingwood 80 (The Gabba)
Round 18 2009 – Collingwood 95 d Brisbane Lions 55 (MCG)
Round 4, 2009 – Collingwood 90 d Brisbane Lions 73 (The Gabba)


Form

     Rd 5       Rd 6       Rd 7       Rd 8       Rd 9   
Brisbane   W  L  L  W  L
Collingwood   L  W  L  W  L

It’s hard to believe the Collingwood team which produced a stirring comeback to topple the unbeaten Cats a fortnight back, was the same outfit wiped off the MCG by the Swans last Friday night. 47 points was the final margin but the fact Collingwood doubled its goal tally from four to eight in the last quarter says a lot about how Sydney had dominated the opening three terms.

The Magpies’ opponent on Friday night, Brisbane , seems to be taking a step back every time it takes a step forward. Not surprisingly, they couldn’t repeat their round 8 heroics against Essendon when they went down to Carlton by 13 at the ‘Gabba on Saturday night. It was a match littered with poor ball use and the Lions will need to match their desperation with some quality if they’re to get over the Pies.

Brisbane’s big man department has taken a massive blow with Matthew Leuenberger out for at least a month with a dislocated thumb, while Jonathan Brown failed to have his striking charge downgraded at the judiciary, meaning he’ll miss a fortnight. Tom Rockliff is out with a quad injury for two weeks, and with Daniel Rich and Daniel Merrett already out, the Lions’ playing stocks are looking alarmingly thin. The ‘Pies have regained rebounding defender Heath Shaw while veteran Alan Didak is a surprise inclusion.


Key Men

(Lions) Simon Black – A decade after winning three premierships, a Brownlow Medal and a Norm Smith Medal, Simon Black, inexplicably, remains Brisbane’s best in and under player. Brent Moloney has given the Lions greater depth as an inside midfielder, but in just his third game back this season, there Black was, front and centre in everything good they did against Carlton. He topped the team with 22 possessions, and worked his backside off against the Blues’ star-studded midfield. Chris Judd, Brock McLean and Mark Murphy each had more clearances than any Lions player, and Brisbane will struggle mightily if Black and his cohorts can’t break even in this area.

(Magpies) Luke Ball – Nathan Buckley has intimated this week that more younger players will be brought through for the Magpies this season, with the inference that he has to build this side in to a premiership contender. Well, if the ‘Pies are going to make a deep run in the finals this season, then they’ve found a pretty good new inclusion in the shape of veteran midfielder Luke Ball . He played just three matches last season due to a knee injury, but in just his second game of 2013 against Sydney, he showed just how valuable he’ll be to this team. As usual his tackling was immense, finishing with nine for the match, while he also finished with an equal-team high of 28 touches. With just a couple of VFL games under his belt prior to returning to the top side, expect Ball to get better and better as the season wears on.


Prediction

Over its last eight games, the Magpies have followed a win with a loss, which means they’re due for a victory on Friday night. Brisbane has won just one of its last five against Collingwood, and that was a comeback inspired by the likes of Brendan Fevola, Travis Johnstone and Luke Power, players that are long gone from the ‘Gabba. Take out that performance against Essendon and the Lions have been pretty ordinary this season. Sure, the injury-depleted Magpies haven’t been consistent, but they’ve still won five games from a pretty tough draw to start the season. There’s also the small matter of not having Daniel Merrett to match up on Travis Cloke . Given Jarrad Waite’s dominance of the much shorter Joel Patfull last weekend, it could be a long night at the office for Brisbane’s backline. Even Eddie McGuire’s repeated efforts to say mea culpa shouldn’t stop his beloved birds from getting up. Magpies by 29 points

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