Jonathan Brown will feature this weekend after resting against the Swans. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
Brisbane Lions v Western Bulldogs
Saturday May 10, 4.40pm (AEST)
The Brisbane Lions play host to Essendon at the Gabba on Saturday, with both teams desperately searching for a consistent run of form.
With just one win to their name heading into the Round 8 clash, the Lions are desperate to grab four points in front of frustrated fans. Justin Leppitsch’s side is on course to claim the unwanted honour of the wooden spoon, particularly after its dismal 13-goal thrashing at the hands of Sydney. Injuries have played a major part in Brisbane’s early season blues, but they welcome back a couple of key experienced players this weekend. The aging Jonathan Brown was rested against the Swans last week, but will feature this weekend. Pearce Hanley will also return from a back problem and Clay Beams could make a shock return and have his first run in almost two months after overcoming a broken foot. However, he is more likely to feature in the NEAFL.
Essendon wasn't convincing in its eight-point win over the Bulldogs last week and coach Mark Thompson wants a complete performance in Brisbane. The Bombers have struggled to get into a rhythm this year, with moments of brilliance overshadowed by schoolboy errors. Jason Winderlich and Jason Merrett both sustained injuries last week and remain doubtful, opening the door for some of the club’s young talent. Tom Bellchambers got through another VFL game on the weekend and he will feel he is ready to come back into the Essendon line-up. Travis Colyer, Kurt Aylett and Nick O’Brien all featured in the VFL and will also be pushing for first team selection.
Although the inclusions of Brown and Hanley will strengthen the Brisbane squad, the Bombers should be too strong for the Lions. The betting market suggests it will be a walkover, but it may prove to be closer than people suggest.
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