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Match Preview: Lions v Adelaide

${customImageCaption} - Brisbane Lions

This might have looked a dour match on the fixture a month ago, but not anymore.

After being competitive for much of the season but struggling to win games, the Brisbane Lions have strung together three successive wins, capped off by a commanding victory over Hawthorn in Launceston last weekend.

The young brigade has been on fire, led by 20-year-old forward Eric Hipwood, midfield tyros Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry, and the swagger of No.1 draft pick Cam Rayner, who kicked three goals against the Hawks.

With many of its best players recently back from injury, Adelaide is again in the top-eight hunt after defeating Geelong in its last start.

Rory Sloane's contract extension seemed to give the Crows some impetus and re-established a midfield that was one of the best in the AFL last year.

Skipper Taylor Walker's absence through suspension will hurt, but with a sniff of finals in their nostrils, the Crows will be hungry, but nothing the Lions do would surprise any more.

Where and When
The Gabba, Saturday, July 21, 7.25pm AEST

Last Five Meetings
R9, 2017, Adelaide 21.14 (140) d Brisbane Lions 7.18 (60) at the Gabba
R20, 2016, Adelaide 27.15 (177) d Brisbane Lions 6.3 (39) at Adelaide Oval
R21, 2015, Adelaide 20.11 (131) d Brisbane Lions 6.8 (44) at Adelaide Oval
R13, 2015, Adelaide 11.16 (82) d Brisbane Lions 10.9 (69) at the Gabba
R20, 2014, Adelaide 25.18 (168) d Brisbane Lions 9.9 (63) at the Gabba

The Six Points

1. The weekend's clash will be the Club's 500th game since merging to become the Brisbane Lions.

2. The Lions will turn full circle when they take on Adelaide in its 500th game, as the Crows were the first team the newly formed Brisbane Lions ever played.

3. Brisbane is one of the competition's in-form teams in recent weeks winning three straight games, averaging 112 points and conceding just 61 a game.

4. Adelaide has dominated Brisbane over a long time, winning the past six matches, including two by more than 100 points. The Crows also hold a 12-11 advantage in matches at the Gabba.

5. If Brisbane is to win it will need to do something it hasn’t achieved since the opening four weeks of the 2010 season - win four consecutive games.

6. Dayne Beams continued his stellar season last week with 33 disposals and has moved up to 80th overall in the AFL Player Ratings. Following an injury-ravaged period, Beams was ranked 388th in the corresponding round last season.

It's a big week for… Josh Walker

Brisbane's defence has been clicking in recent weeks since Josh Walker was moved from the forward line to defence.

Walker was moved down back during Round 14 against the Giants after Harris Andrews was taken off due to concussion

He has held his spot in the Lions' last line of defence over the past three weeks and played some of the best football of his career against Hawthorn last weekend. 

With Luke Hodge a late withdrawal against the Hawks, Walker was a standout; producing career-bests in possessions, contested possessions and one-percenters.

Walker needs to back up that performance on Saturday night against an Adelaide attack missing Tex Walker. 

 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs