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Match Preview: Lions v North Melbourne

The Kangaroos face another tricky assignment to keep their finals hopes alive, this week taking on the dangerous Lions.

When the teams met at the same venue in Round 23 last year, it was to see who would finish last, but this time around there's much more on the line.

The Lions slipped on their recent hot streak last weekend, losing to Geelong by seven goals, but the scoreline flattered the hosts.

North Melbourne continued to walk the finals tightrope with a crucial win over West Coast last Sunday, led superbly by the brilliant midfield of Ben Cunnington, Paul Ahern and Shaun Higgins, the latter of whom will miss this clash after knee surgery.

Brisbane has shown flair with the ball and been a tough opponent all season, particularly at the Gabba.

Although the Kangaroos have had the upper hand in this contest of late, winning comfortably earlier this season, this should be a close encounter.

WHERE AND WHEN
The Gabba, Saturday August 4, 2.10pm AEST

LAST FIVE MEETINGS
R11, 2018: North Melbourne 21.15 (141) d Brisbane 12.15 (87) at Etihad Stadium
R23, 2017: North Melbourne 19.16 (130) d Brisbane 11.13 (79) at the Gabba
R2, 2016: North Melbourne 17.15 (117) d Brisbane 11.17 (83) at the Gabba
R17, 2015: North Melbourne 16.14 (110) d Brisbane 5.8 (38) at the Gabba
R2, 2015: North Melbourne 20.13 (133) d Brisbane 7.9 (51) at Etihad Stadium 

THE SIX POINTS
1. In Round 11 the Kangaroos had more disposals, scoring shots, won the inside 50s and clearances. 

2. No team has kicked the ball less this season than the Kangaroos, with an average of 200.8 a game. Brisbane is eighth for kicks. 

3. North Melbourne has dominated Brisbane recently, winning the past five matches and eight of the past 10, including six by more than 50 points. The Lions hold a 13-7 advantage at the Gabba. 

4. This Saturday, the Lions will celebrate and recognise the hard work of volunteers with Community Footy Round. At half-time this weekend the Club will reveal their Community Club of the Year. 

5. Harris Andrews will face a tough assignment in his second game since returning from concussion as he faces off against one of the League's best forwards, Ben Brown. 

6. Dayne Beams is roaring up the AFL Player Ratings. With 37 disposals last week, the midfielder has climbed to 62nd overall after starting the year at 271st.

IT’S A BIG WEEK FOR … Harris Andrews

In his first game back following a month on the sidelines with concussion, the Lions' Vice-Captain was faced with a tough assignment in marking Geelong's Tom Hawkins last weekend. 

Andrews can expect another tough competitor on Saturday as he comes up against one of the League's best young forwards, Ben Brown. 

In Round 11, Andrews did well to keep the North forward to just two majors.

Andrews says he'll be a lot better against Brown after enduring a tough return to the game.

"I was probably a bit gassed early on, on the weekend [against Geelong], and wasn't able to settle into the game," Andrews said.

"A month out of the game, although it doesn't seem like a long time, it can be.

"It takes a little bit to pick up the speed of the game and I reckon about halfway through the second half I started to pick it up again."

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