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MURDER BY NUMBERS by Sam the Stats Man

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The respective ladder positions of this week’s combatants tell the story of one side on the rise and the other in steep decline. Since their most recent meeting which took place early last year, the Dees and the Lions have changed positions. They are opposed to each again on the former’s home turf with the locals in fine fettle after blowing St Kilda off the park at Marvel Stadium. 

The Lions’ home ground advantage has been a major consideration so far this year. They have won five out of six games there to date including fellow finals contenders in West Coast, Port Adelaide and Adelaide.
 
At first blush, this spells doom and gloom for the Demons. Their position would appear to be hopeless.  
 
But is that really the case?  
 
After all, in a game between the sixth placed Brisbane Lions and Melbourne third from last, the statistics most certainly do not tell the whole story.   
 
Head to head, the Demons lead their opponents in disposals, clearances, the inside 50 count, contested possessions, tackles and hit outs while they do lag behind in free kicks awarded. The Lions are way ahead in terms of accuracy while their visitors continue to concede majors like water through a sieve. On a weekly basis, their opposition manage feats of remarkably accuracy when kicking for goal.  
 
The commentariat are having a field day trying to deconstruct the phenomenon. It’s to do with fitness and conditioning, too many injuries to key players, lack of skills and technique, poor form, it’s all in the head, a loss of confidence, too slow or a combination of the above.    
 
And whilst Brisbane are playing for finals honours, Melbourne has little to play for but pride - a commodity that can quickly evaporate if things turn awry in the early stages of a game. With that in mind, it won’t take long to determine whether we have a game on our hands. The Demons will be relying on its midfield ability to win contests with Max Gawn feeding his on ball brigade and hoping that the good form last week of key position players Sam Frost, Steven May and Tom McDonald will again be enough to lift them to victory.
 
The problem I see is that there are no indication that Melbourne can turn around the season long pattern of murder by numbers in front of not only their own goal but that of their opposition and on that basis, I’m going for the Lions by 10 points.
 
THE GAME    
 
Brisbane v Melbourne at The Gabba Sunday, 30 June, 2019 at 3.20pm    
 
HEAD TO HEAD     
 
Overall  Brisbane 20 wins, Melbourne 25 wins 
  
At The Gabba Brisbane 13 wins, Melbourne 8 wins    
 
Last Five Meetings Brisbane 1 win, Melbourne 4 wins   
 
The Coaches Fagan 0 wins, Goodwin 2 wins  
 
MEDIA    
 
TV -  Channel 7, Fox Sports 3 Live at 3.00pm  
 
Radio - TBA
 
LAST TIME THEY MET    
 
Melbourne 14.16.100 defeated Brisbane 10.14.74 at the Gabba, Round 2, 2018    
 
After letting victory against Geelong slip through it grasp in Round 1, Melbourne again looked shaky when the Lions came back from a 42-point third-term deficit to level the scores in the fourth. It took some magic from Jeff Garlett who finished with four goals to allow the Demons to draw away and record their first win of the season. Jesse Hogan was in fine touch with five goals, 22 disposals and nine marks.  
 
THE TEAMS    
 
Screenshot_2019-06-27 Brisbane Lions Vs Melbourne - Match Centre - AFL com au.png

BRISBANE

B Luke Hodge Harris Andrews Daniel Rich
HB Alex Witherden Darcy Gardiner Noah Answerth
C Dayne Zorko Lachie Neale Lincoln McCarthy
HF Cam Rayner Eric Hipwood Mitch Robinson
F Charles Cameron Daniel McStay Zac Bailey
FOLL Stefan Martin Hugh McCluggage Jarryd Lyons
I/C Jarrod Berry Allen Christensen Ryan Lester Oscar McInerney    
EMG Ben Keays Corey Lyons Sam Skinner Brandon Starcevich

IN Zac Bailey Jarrod Berry

OUT Jacob Allison (omitted) Rhys Mathieson (omitted)

MELBOURNE

B Jay Lockhart Steven May Christian Salem
HB Nathan Jones Sam Frost Bayley Fritsch
C Oskar Baker James Harmes Angus Brayshaw
HF Jayden Hunt Tim Smith Christian Petracca
F Mitch Hannan Tom McDonald Sam Weideman
FOLL Max Gawn Jack Viney Clayton Oliver
I/C Michael Hibberd Marty Hore  Alex Neal-Bullen Harrison Petty
EMG Jordan Lewis Oscar McDonald Braydon Preuss Corey Wagner  

IN Michael Hibberd 

OUT Josh Wagner (omitted)

Injury List: Round 15  
 
Michael Hibberd (collarbone) – test 
Kade Chandler (hip) – test 
Jake Lever (knee) – 1-2 weeks 
Neville Jetta (knee) – 2-3 weeks 
Billy Stretch (foot) – 2-3 weeks 
Declan Keilty (ankle) – 3-4 weeks 
Jake Melksham (foot) – 4-6 weeks 
Tom Sparrow (knee) – 4-6 weeks 
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – TBC 
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – TBC 
Jeff Garlett (shoulder) – season 
Joel Smith (groin) – season 
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season 
Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite 
 
PreviewRd152019.png

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