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Positives from Saturday's JLT loss

JLT Highlights: Lions v Swans Watch the highlights from our first JLT match against the Sydney Swans.

The scoreboard may not have reflected it, but there were numerous positive takeaways from the Brisbane Lions’ JLT Community Series loss to the Sydney Swans on Saturday. 

Winning contested ball, which has been a focus during pre-season, was the major positive from the match. Against the near full-strength Swans outfit, the Lions just lost the contested possessions count 121-118.

The Lions finished +14 in contested possessions around stoppages, which contributed to winning the clearance count 34-23. This was a great result considering the Lions were missing their two best midfielders in Dayne Beams and Dayne Zorko, and instead relied on emerging midfielders like Rhys Mathieson and Jarrod Berry. 

Stef Martin was easily the Lions’ best player on the day, tallying 21 (11 contested) disposals, 26 hit-outs (8 to advantage) and seven clearances. 

Josh Walker and Dan McStay helped out when Martin was off the ground, contributing to 16 hit-outs each.

Tom Bell and Berry each produced six clearances. Bell grabbed 11 contested possessions in what is an area of his game he has been focusing on. 

Lewy Taylor continued his strong form from last year and gave the Lions plenty of run and creativity. Taylor finished with 18 disposals and three marks.

Draftee Jack Payne was the most impressive of the new recruits and was given the tough task of marking Swans spearhead Lance Franklin at times. Payne collected 11 disposals and produced a team-high six rebound 50s.

Given the lopsided final score, the Lions did struggle in a few key areas.

Kicking efficiency was poor, hitting targets only 48% of the time, while the Swans were significantly better at 69%. The AFL average in 2017 was 66%. 

In 2017, the Lions managed to score nearly half the time they went inside 50, but on Saturday they were only able to impact the scoreboard at 38% efficiency. Many factors contributed to this, including the kicking efficiency and the Swans’ defensive pressure.

The Lions will have another chance to improve on these areas before the season starts this Sunday against the Gold Coast Suns at Fankhauser Reserve in Southport. 

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