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Key takeaways from JLT 2

JLT Highlights: Lions v Suns Check out the highlights from the last JLT match this pre-season against the Gold Coast Suns.

The Brisbane Lions put forward a solid performance in their final JLT Community Series match against the Gold Coast Suns on Sunday.

The Lions won the inside 50 count (59-48) and enjoyed 22 scoring shots to 14, however, the dominance of the statistics didn’t carry over to the scoreboard, with poor kicking to the tune of 18 behinds consigning the Lions to a seven-point loss. 

Wet conditions and a very heavy ground made ball movement and basic skills a challenge for both teams, but the Lions managed to improve their disposal efficiency (60%) compared to the previous week's game against the Sydney Swans (48%). The Suns finished at 54% efficiency. 

The home side was superior in the first half, winning the contested ball count by 29, but the Lions bounced back to win the count by 12 in the second half. 

New recruit Luke Hodge made an immediate impact in defence, especially in the second half when the Lions started to combine better at the back. The Suns scored just four times from 24 forward 50 entries in the second half (17%). 

Hodge finished with 16 disposals at 87.5% efficiency.

All-Australian Dayne Zorko’s first match back for the year showed he is set for another massive season. Zorko grabbed an equal game-high 33 (17 contested) disposals and kicked a savvy late goal. 

Number one draft pick Cam Rayner excelled in the tough conditions and laid on a team-high 10 tackles to go along with 13 disposals and three clearances. Rayner appears a near-certainty to make his AFL debut in Round 1.

Coach Dale Tapping was pleased with Rayner’s performance.

"I thought he was a real threat," Tapping said. 

"He seemed to relish the combative nature of the game. He's a physical beast and really drives at the contest." 

Rayner and his fellow small forwards contributed to 21 forward 50 tackles which showed the increased forward-half pressure the Lions will bring this year.

Charlie Cameron bringing the pressure.

Tom Bell continued his push for a Round 1 spot with another impressive performance by collecting 13 contested possessions and making nine tackles.  

Due to the Suns choosing to play only 24 players on Sunday, Rhys Mathieson and Jake Barrett did not take part in the game.

Accuracy obviously was the main negative of the Lions’ performance on Sunday, but given the conditions and the fact that accuracy was often a positive in 2017, it was hopefully just an outlier showing.

With 11 days to go until Round 1, the Lions will enjoy a short break later this week to freshen up for the big season ahead!

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