Who : Brisbane V Carlton
When: 3.40pm, Saturday: March 10
Where: Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex
The Sunshine Coast hosts week round three NAB Cup action between the Brown-less Brisbane and a Carlton side desperate for a win and welcoming Chris Judd for his first footy of the season.
Carlton are yet to register a win in 2012, but have only lost their three NAB Cup games by 6, 9 and 4 points, the latest, a last minute loss to a near full-strength Western Bulldogs.
Judd’s return from shoulder surgery is the big IN of the year, and the experience of Jarrad Waite and Andrew Walker also making their first appearances will add some missing composure.
The Blues lose the punchy Andrew Carrazzo who is serving a one-week striking ban and Jeremy Laidley, who graphically dislocated his knee, yet should welcome back some hardness in Mitch Robinson and Nick Duigan.
Eddie Betts has been proving dangerous up forward, kicking a bag of 5 against the Bulldogs, while ruckman Shaun Hampson proved to be a solid target.
Lions coach Michael Voss said in the wake of the heavy loss to the Crows in the NAB second round: “We’re going to pick as strong a side as we possibly can from here on in.”
The Lions midfield will be bolstered by the return of classy veteran Simon Black and the silky foot skills of Daniel Rich. The expected inclusion of Daniel Merrett for the first time this season, to partner the in-form Matt Maguire and promising youngster Mitch Golby should shore up the backline.
Brisbane have struggled for goals this pre-season, an issue compounded by the fact they have lost spearhead and captain Jonathan Brown for up to five weeks.
In their two games in week one of the NAB Cup, the Lions only kicked 1.4 and 2.6 – admittedly on a rain-affected track – but only managed a mere 42 points in four quarters in their 51-point loss to the Crows.
They will be hoping to improve on their scant return of only 8 goals (and one super goal) from 160 minutes of football played so far in 2012.
Neither Hawks recruit Jordan Lisle or youngsters Aaron Cornelius or Bryce Reztlaff managed a major against the Crows and hopes will be pinned on the broad shoulders of Matthew Leuenberger to be a target down forward as resting ruckman.
Patrick Karnezis could be a temporary solution up forward, and actually kicked a goal against the Dees, only for it to be revoked by review.
- Carlton will be looking to arrest some sub-par defensive efforts and turn a winning position into a victory
- Lions need to fill a gaping hole in their forward line and find some avenues to goal
- Five big INs for the Blues in key positions, the biggest of all being Chris Judd for his first 2012 appearance
- Lions welcome back their two crucial Daniels – Rich and Merrett
The Blues should simply have too much forward firepower for the Lions and should comfortably notch their first win of 2012.