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NORTH OF THE BORDER PART 2 by The Oracle

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The travelling COVID circus moves north of the border yet again and, unless at some time in the near future, Papua New Guinea opens its borders, this could be the last time this phenomenon happens.

And as fortune would dictate, the resurgent Demons are walking directly into the sights of the locals from the bright lights of Brizvegas to Carrara - the scene of some long-forgotten (and deservedly so) battles with one of the Lions’ former incarnations, namely, the Brisbane Bears.

But unlike the old koala clowns, the Lions are a serious football team and one of the flag favourites. Sunday’s game will be no circus. A year ago, when these sides met, the Demons threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Lions in the opening half at the Gabba but they were overrun by a rampant Brisbane in the third quarter and the home side coasted to a comfortable victory.

The challenge for Melbourne then is to rise to a level even higher than that which it achieved last week against Hawthorn. In their favour is the fact that they play the Lions on a neutral ground, albeit one close to home. In addition, the Melbourne lineup is far more stable - when they met last year the Demons had an disastrous injury list 14 players deep. But more importantly, the Dees are in form.

Melbourne continues to be strong in the middle of the ground where Max Gawn is in dominant form in the ruck and he has a formidable engine room with Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney taking the game on through the stoppages and in general play. The Lions are no slouches in the midfield but they have been unsettled away from their home in Brisbane.

I’m expecting the Demons to kick on further and why not? They have a couple of young talls up forward in Weideman and Jackson and a couple of classy movers in Harley Bennell and Kysaiah Pickett who add so much composure with ball in hand. The defence is looking much better with the re-inclusion of Oscar McDonald and Neville Jetta to complement Jake Lever and Steven May.

I’m tipping the Demons to upset another Queensland team on their trip onward to the north of yet another border.

Melbourne by 22 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium Sunday, 26 July, 2020 at 6.10pm

HEAD TO HEAD 

Overall Melbourne 25 wins Brisbane Lions 21 wins

At Metricon Stadium* Melbourne 0 wins Brisbane Lions 0 wins

Last Five Meetings Melbourne 4 wins Brisbane Lions 1 win

The Coaches Goodwin 2 wins Fagan 1 win

* does not include Brisbane Bears games

MEDIA

TV - Fox Footy Channel Live at 6.00pm

Radio - 3AW SEN MMM ABC AFL NATION 

LAST TIME THEY MET

Brisbane 15.17.107 defeated Melbourne 11.8.74 at the Gabba, Round 15, 2019

It was a bruising encounter at the Gabba and the Demons surprised the Lions with a concerted first half effort which saw them in front by a goal at the main break. The home team hit the gas pedal with six goals to three in the third quarter and went on to record a comfortable 33 point victory. Clayton Oliver and Christian Salem both accumulated 30 plus possessions and Jack Viney wasn’t far behind them but the Lions were too strong.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE

FB Michael Hibberd Steven May Jay Lockhart
HB Christian Salem Jake Lever Oscar McDonald
C Ed Langdon Clayton Oliver Bayley Fritsch
HF Jake Melksham Sam Weideman James Harmes
FF Kysaiah Pickett Mitch Hannan Harley Bennell
FOL Max Gawn Christian Petracca Jack Viney
I/C Angus Brayshaw Luke Jackson Neville Jetta Nathan Jones
EM Tom McDonald Alex Neal-Bullen Joel Smith Adam Tomlinson    

IN Nathan Jones 

OUT Aaron vandenBerg (fractured cheek bone)

BRISBANE LIONS

FB Ryan Lester Harris Andrews Darcy Gardiner
HB Daniel Rich Grant Birchall Brandon Starcevich
C Mitch Robinson Dayne Zorko Hugh McCluggage
HF Jarrod Berry Eric Hipwood Cam Rayner
FF Zac Bailey Daniel McStay Charlie Cameron
FOL Oscar McInerney Jarryd Lyons Lachie Neale
I/C Callum Ah Chee Thomas Berry Lincoln McCarthy Archie Smith
EM Connor Ballenden Keidean Coleman Rhys Mathieson Alex Witherden

IN Archie Smith   

OUT Stefan Martin (back)

Injury List: Round 8

Aaron vandenBerg (fractured cheekbone) – 2 weeks 
Marty Hore (toe and quad) – indefinite
Harry Petty (groin) – indefinite
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

PreviewRd082020.png

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