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NEAFL Preview: Round 20 v Gold Coast SUNS

Bryce Heaton,  August 11, 2017 2:40 PM

Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast SUNS
Saturday, 12 August 
The Gabba @ 12.45pm (Gate 2 open at 12.30pm). 

A home final is up for grabs for the Gold Coast Suns this weekend if they can take down a flying Brisbane Lions at the Gabba. The Suns sit one game behind the NT Thunder who have a bye this weekend, however the Gold Coast’s superior percentage would see them jump the Territory boys if they pulled off a huge upset.

Meanwhile, the Lions have the chance to lock in their home Preliminary Final berth, a win placing them out of reach of the third-placed Students.

The Suns have added listed experience in Brandon Matera, Matt Shaw, Michael Rischitelli, Brayden Fiorini and Jack Leslie, but lose Josh Schoenfeld and Trent McKenzie to the seniors.

Brisbane had made just one chance to the side that defeated ladder leaders Sydney last week with Michael Close elevated for Josh Schache, however an injury to Jarrod Berry in the senior side sees Claye Beams get the call up.

Many will be expecting the Lions to canter to their 11th straight win, however after an emotional week for the Gold Coast with the sacking of senior coach Rodney Eade, and chance for the Suns to avoid the arduous trip to Darwin in week one of the finals, there’s every chance they’ll come out on fire.


Round 11, 2017: Brisbane Lions 12.13 (85) d Gold Coast Suns 11.14 (80) at South Pine Sports Complex
Round 4, 2017: Brisbane Lions 16.13 (109) d Gold Coast Suns 9.10 (64) at Metricon Stadium
Round 15, 2017: Gold Coast Suns 14.15 (99) d Brisbane Lions 15.7 (97) at Metricon Stadium


1. Last time these sides met, a final quarter fightback almost resulted in a miraculous win to the Gold Coast. However, a late goal to Josh Walker put the Lions in front with mere minutes to go. Darcy Macpherson had the chance to tie the game seconds before the siren for the Suns but missed, gifting the Lions a five-point victory.

2. Even if the Suns don’t defeat Brisbane they can still leapfrog the Thunder in the final round. However, it would take just as big an upset against the Swans next week, and the Thunder would have to lose to Aspley at Graham Road.

3. They don’t get the opportunity all that often, but the Lions love playing curtain raisers at the Gabba. They’ve won four of their past five there.


The Suns have named Brayden Crossley up forward, while the Lions have named Connor Ballenden down back. It’s a collision course that could pit two of the best tall prospects at the AFL Draft up against one another. Both boys stand at 198cm, but Crossley has 10kg on Ballenden, weighing in at 105kg to Ballenden’s 95kg.


If there is one area the Lions have excelled at in 2017, it’s their ability to hang on to the footy. They lead the league in both marks and effective kicks, registering 20 more per game than the next best club in both categories, which happens to be the Suns.


B #41 - Matt Eagles
#34 - Jono Freeman #60 - Connor Ballenden
HB #47 - Reuben William #42 - Mitch Hinge #11 - Cian Hanley
C  #26 - Tom Cutler #16 - Jarrad Jansen #8 - Rohan Bewick
HF #39 - Corey Lyons #21 - Sam Skinner #2- Ryan Harwood
F #40 - Matthew Hammelmann #19 - Josh Clayton #23 - Josh Schache
FOL #44 - Archie Smith #17 - Claye Beams* #1 - Ben Keays
INT  #53 - Campbell Walker
#48 - Blake Grewar #46 - Oscar McInerney
   #24 - Liam Dawson #52 - Jack Clayton  
EMER #59 - Jack Payne #54 - Luke O'Sullivan  

In: 23. Josh Schache

Out: 33. Michael Close (AFL)

*Claye Beams has been called up to the AFL side, a replacement is yet to be named. 

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