AFL's Up And Comers Go Head To Head

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Darren England
Matthew Leuenberger will have his hands full with Will Minson in the ruck. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Darren England
Last Five Matches

Round 1, 2013 – Western Bulldogs 127 d Brisbane Lions 59 at Etihad Stadium
Round 23, 2012 – Brisbane Lions 128 d Western Bulldogs 61 at The Gabba
Round 13, 2012 – Brisbane Lions 114 d Western Bulldogs 56 at Etihad Stadium
Round 2, 2011 – Western Bulldogs 123 d Brisbane Lions 45 at Etihad Stadium
Round 12, 2010 – Western Bulldogs 121 d Brisbane Lions 56 at Etihad Stadium


Form

     Rd 17       Rd 18       Rd 19       Rd 20       Rd 21   
Brisbane Lions    W  L  W  L  W
Western Bulldogs    L  W  L  W  W

It has been another interesting week in the Sunshine State. After sacking Michael Voss last week with three games left in the season, the Lions board had to withstand an attempted coup involving former coach Leigh Matthews. On the field the team did the job in dismissing GWS by 60 points last week, and the side has won five of its last seven.

The Western Bulldogs have been the surprise packet of the second half of the season. Their season hit a low after losing to Melbourne in round 14, but since then they’ve beaten the likes of West Coast, Carlton and Adelaide. All three of those wins have come at Etihad Stadium, though, and this is their first road trip in over a month.

After having a big impact last week in his return against the Giants, Simon Black may have played his last game in the AFL after being rubbed out for a week, while there are also concerns over a groin problem.


Key Men

(Lions) Sam Mayes – If there was a market for the Rising Star winner without Suns freak Jaeger O’Meara, Sam Mayes would have an awfully strong claim. The teenager was a standout against the Giants last week kicking four goals, including one sensational snap on the run. He has time, finds space with ease, and looks to be one of the best young players to come in to the club in many years.

(Bulldogs) Tory Dickson – A mature-age pick-up last season, Tory Dickson had probably his best game in a Bulldogs jumper last week against Adelaide. He kicked six straight against the Crows, continuing on his good form of late. Since round 17, he has kicked 14 goals, compared to four majors in the first 16 rounds of the year. For a team which struggled to post a score for most of this year, the ‘Dogs have racked up 110-plus points in their past three wins.


Prediction

Plenty was expected of Brisbane when it destroyed Carlton in the NAB Cup final, but they were smashed in the season opener by the Bulldogs who romped home by 68 points . The Doggies have been very good at Etihad Stadium of late, but their interstate form has been fairly poor for most of the season. They were smacked by Adelaide and West Coast on the road, the Suns accounted for the easily mid-season, while they only just managed to sneak home against the Giants at Skoda by four points . In saying that, they got within 19 points of Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium in round 17. Brisbane has won its last five at the ‘Gabba, including the scalps of Geelong and North Melbourne. Unless the events of this week have disturbed the playing group further, the Lions should be able to hold off the fast-improving Bulldogs. Brisbane by 15 points .

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