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Preview: Lions vs. Blues

Michael Whiting, AFL Media  July 19, 2017 10:41 AM

Injury Update | Round 17 Head of Football Andrew McKay brings you the latest injury news after Round 17.

AFL Media's Michael Whiting previews Sunday's match against Brisbane at the Gabba:

SUMMARY
These two clubs on the rebuild will both be licking their lips in anticipation of victory at the Gabba on Sunday. Carlton has five wins and sits in 16th place, but Brendon Bolton's men have made great strides this season, particularly with the development of their young players. The Blues are playing a disciplined brand of football that is hard to break down, particularly across half-back with the cool heads of Sam Docherty and Kade Simpson. In contrast, the three-win Lions have shown a flair for attacking in Chris Fagan's first season in charge, led by Rising Star nominees Hugh McCluggage and Alex Witherden, who like to kick aggressively and take risks when going forward. Carlton has scored the least amount of points in the competition, but the Lions have conceded the most, so this is anyone's game.

WHERE AND WHEN: Gabba, Sunday, July 23, 4.40pm AEST 

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

LAST FIVE TIMES
R21, 2016, Brisbane Lions 15.9 (99) d Carlton 13.17 (95) at the Gabba
R11, 2016, Carlton 16.6 (102) d Brisbane Lions 9.10 (64) at Etihad Stadium
R20, 2015, Brisbane Lions 20.11 (131) d Carlton 9.13 (67) at the Gabba
R6, 2015, Brisbane Lions 12.12 (84) d Carlton 11.9 (75) at Etihad Stadium
R11, 2014, Brisbane Lions 14.14 (98) d Carlton 13.13 (91) at the Gabba 

THE SIX POINTS
1. When these teams last played the Lions led by 40 points at half-time at the Gabba before the Blues kicked eight goals to three in the second half, the home team sneaking the win by four points. Tom Rockliff was best on ground with 39 disposals, two goals and 12 tackles.

2. It will be a contest between two of the lowest scoring sides in 2017; the Lions are ranked 15th with 82 points a game, while Carlton is last with 72 and has yet to kick 100 points in a game this year. 

3. The will be the 49th meeting between the clubs, with the Blues holding a 28-20 advantage. The Lions have won four of the past five.

4. The Blues are the worst clearance team in 2017, averaging 34.1, compared to the Lions, who are ranked eighth with 37.2 a game. 
 

5. There is big difference defensively between the teams this season. Carlton is ninth for fewest points conceded, while the Lions are last, having given up 100 points in a game 13 times.

6. Blues ruckman Matthew Kreuzer is enjoying a stellar season, and his 12 disposals and 50 hit-outs against the Western Bulldogs last week pushed him to a career-high 97th overall in the Official AFL Player Ratings.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Dayne Zorko
The explosive Lions midfielder is in the midst of a brilliant season, but twice in the past month has been kept quiet by opposing taggers. Sam Reid kept him to five touches against the Giants, while Dion Prestia restricted him to 11 against the Tigers. The pocket dynamo must break free against the Blues to help his team to another win.