WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday June 23, 1.40pm
LAST TIME: Western Bulldogs 19.9 (123) d Brisbane Lions 6.9 (45), round two, 2011 at Etihad Stadium
For a side that starts to lose to touch with the pack at the halfway point of the year, it becomes not only disillusioning for fans, but even team confidence and ability to remain competitive throughout the year. The Lions, regardless of a repeated failure of missing out on finals for a few years running have at least established competitiveness and continue to establish a consistent 22 in the so-called ‘meaningless’ games in the middle and towards the end of the season.
Aside from a second half fade-out, the Lions played with an intensity and skill that troubled the Hawks. With pinpoint passing and quick rebounds; they looked threatening before they fell away. The Dogs honoured club legend Charlie Sutton with a hard-earned win against the Power last Sunday at Etihad. Only one game out of the top eight, the Dogs can further spice up an unpredictable season by a win over Brisbane.
WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN?
Western Bulldogs: The next generation of kids from the Whitten Oval lead by father-son selections Mitchell Wallis and Tom Liberatore have been outstanding this season. Wallis is averaging 22 disposals and alongside the multitude of GWS kids, could possibly in line for the Rising Star Nomination.
The class and pace of these two, alongside the older heads of Daniel Cross, Matthew Boyd, Adam Cooney and Ryan Griffen seem to bolster a Bulldogs midfield that have only faulted once this season against the Swans. Their biggest asset has an engine room that can both win the ball in close and have the class to get the ball forward.
In missing Will Minson, the Bulldogs can trial the future promising ruck duo of Ayce Cordy and Jordan Roughead. One suggests that they will both get runs to tackle former Dog Ben Hudson, and both get time up forward to play alongside Liam Jones. A criticism of this is that they maybe still inexperienced to take on both roles and have a large influence of the game; but the Dogs overall can field a side that will be more mobile and less top heavy.
Brisbane Lions: For a side that has struggled for the last few years, the Lions defensive brigade still has the quality of Matt , Patfull, Jed Adcock and Mitch Golby; with the option of also putting Daniel Merrett back into defense. The Lions issues are up the other end of the ground, with Pat Karnezis or Aaron Cornelius struggling to have a consistent impact. This leaves an unhealthy reliance on Jonathan Brown and Merrett, creating an air of predictability going forward.
Dayne Zorko – The mature age recruit has been a real find for the Lions this season and his form over the past month has been excellent. Against the Hawks last round, Zorko picked up 24 possessions and booted three goals in what the best match of his five-game career. In the continued search for an established ‘Best 22′, Lions are to have seemingly found another to add to that list.
The Lions haven’t beaten the Dogs in Melbourne since 2003; which affirms issues when playing away from home. The Dogs have played a brand of football which hasn’t been rewarding the class of their midfield. If the Lions, can win this battle, they can trouble the Dogs and stay in it. However, the venue should decide the contest.
Dogs by 10.
B: Dylan Addison, Mark Austin, Easton Wood
HB: Robert Murphy, Brian Lake, Christian Howard
C: Daniel Cross, Matthew Boyd, Mitchell Wallis
HF: Ryan Griffen, Liam Jones, Luke Dahlhaus
F: Tory Dickson, Ayce Cordy, Adam Cooney
Foll: Tom Campbell, Liam Picken, Clay Smith
I/C: Daniel Giansiracusa, Shaun Higgins, Jordan Roughead, Thomas Liberatore
Emg: Lindsay Gilbee, Ryan Hargrave, Nathan Djerrkura
In: Tom Campbell
Out: William Minson (Suspension)
New: Tom Campbell (Bendigo Bombers)
B: Josh Drummond, Matt Maguire, Ryan Harwood
HB: Joel Patfull, Niall McKeever, Jed Adcock
C: Mitchell Golby, Daniel Rich, Pearce Hanley
HF: Simon Black, Jonathan Brown, Rohan Bewick
F: James Polkinghorne, Daniel Merrett, Dayne Zorko
Foll: Ben Hudson, Jack Redden, Tom Rockliff
I/C: Ashley McGrath, Andrew Raines, Ryan Lester, Joshua Green
Emg: Aaron Cornelius, Amon Buchanan, Elliot Yeo
In: Simon Black, Ashley McGrath
Out: Aaron Cornelius, Jared Polec