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AFL Round 20: Brisbane Lions v Western Bulldogs Preview, Teams and Prediction (5 August)

Can the Dogs get back into the 8 and keep the premiership defence alive, or will Brisbane take away their home final hopes and keep the battle for the spoon alive?


Overview

Brisbane Lions: 18th, 4 wins 14 losses, 70.1% 

Western Bulldogs: 9th, 10 wins 8 losses, 100.3%

Game Location/Time: Gabba, Saturday August 5th 2017 at 16:35. 

The Western Bulldogs fly up to the Gabba to face the young, last placed, yet plucky Brisbane Lions (though they are really cubs at this point). The Bulldogs’ premiership defence hinges on them winning at least 3 of the last 4 games and they will really not want to lose one to last place no matter where it’s played. So far the Dogs are sitting on the cusp of the 8 and are really only now looking like they have their ‘mojo’ back with three wins in a row. 

The Lions are most likely going to get the wooden spoon, and probably deserved based on the statistics, but I’ve actually been impressed by the attitude of the young cubs. The club has been bottom for a few years now and they would usually try for a few minutes but give up as soon as they got around 4 goals down, but this year they have actually tried in essentially every game. Sure they’ve gotten blown away in a few games which is just where they are in fitness and skill levels, but that will all come with time, they’ve got the heart of a star team, and that’s always where it starts (providing they can actually keep this team together). If they can keep it together, they’ll be where Melbourne are now in a few years.


Statistics

The two attacks don’t have much between them. With Brisbane at 1476 points scored and the Dogs 1528 from 18 games, both pretty close to the bottom in that regard. The statistic that does worry the Lions is the defence, 2105 points allowed at round 18 is basically the reason they are last with a percentage 9 points below Carlton in 17th. The Dogs have a decent defence with 1524 which is 6th best, so if they can attack well (which will be difficult NOT to do against Brisbane) they should make that vital percentage go up, it could mean a home final.

For the season average stats the Lions have the better clearances with 37-35 and hit-outs with 41-34 but the Dogs are way ahead in all the others. The home team has won the last 4 of these, with one being at the Gabba, but I don’t see that being much of a vital statistic if I’m honest.


Last five meetings

Round 5 2017: Western Bulldogs (122) def Brisbane Lions (90) @ ES

Round 5 2016: Western Bulldogs (120) def Brisbane Lions (67) @ ES

Round 23 2015: Brisbane Lions (130) def Western Bulldogs (122) @ G

Round 12 2015: Western Bulldogs (146) def Brisbane Lions (74) @ ES

Round 12 2014: Western Bulldogs (87) def by Brisbane Lions (95) @ ES


Five players to watch

Jason Johannisen: Will they tag him hard? How will he handle it if they do? It’s always fun to find out. If the Lions are to have any chance he should be handled. But by whom?

Marcus Bontempelli: Well, he always lights it up if they need it. Another one the Lions need to be wary of if they want to win.

Dayne Zorko: ZORRRRRKOOOOOOO!! As soon as I saw his name all those years ago I knew he’d be a star based on that alone. When he gets a free run he inspires the cubs, so that’s something to watch for.

Tom Rockliff: Well he’s hit a small slump (my dream team says thanks by the way, Rocky), but this is the sort of game where he can play himself back into it and he is another that can inspire them when combining with the Z and Beams.

Travis Cloke: He’s come back into the side and if he can get his guns firing, it’ll be just in time for      finals. Couldn’t ask for a better (worse?) defence for it.


Teams

Brisbane

FB: Daniel McStay, Harris Andrews, Daniel Rich

HB: Jarrod Berry, Darcy Gardiner, Alex Witherden

C: Ryan Lester, Dayne Zorko, Ryan Bastinac

HF: Lewis Taylor, Josh Walker, Jake Barrett

FF: Hugh McCluggage, Eric Hipwood, Josh Schache

Foll: Stefan Martin, Tom Rockliff, Dayne Beams

Int: Nick Robertson, Cedric Cox, Rhys Mathieson, Jacob Allison

Emg: Ben Keays, Jarrad Jansen, Michael Close

Western Bulldogs

FB: Shane Biggs, Zaine Cordy, Jason Johannisen

HB: Easton Wood, Lewis Young, Matthew Suckling

C: Lachie Hunter, Mitch Wallis, Bailey Dale

HF: Toby McLean, Travis Cloke, Liam Picken

FF: Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Redpath, Luke Dahlhaus

Foll: Jordan Roughead, Tom Liberatore, Jack Macrae

Int: Clay Smith, Lukas Webb, Bailey Williams, Caleb Daniel

Emg: Robert Murphy, Matthew Boyd, Declan Hamilton

Milestones: Jacob Allison adds his name to the debutants’ list for the Lions in recent times, so good luck to him.


Verdict

Like any of you can tip the worst defence I’ve seen since Port Adelaide’s dark days of 6 years ago. The Lions will turn up with that great attitude I mentioned earlier, but again they’ll get done by about eight goals. But mark my words, they’ll be the ones dishing out the pain in 3-4 years.

Bulldogs by 48 points


Will the young cubs hold off the more experienced Doggies’ outfit, or will they get done due to their lack of experience? Share your thoughts below.

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Robert Schneider

A completely uninteresting person with completely uninteresting opinions.

AFL Round 20: Brisbane Lions v Western Bulldogs Preview, Teams and Prediction (5 August)

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