The wind and the wet weather are set to play a major part in Saturday’s Round 4 clash between the Brisbane Lions and Western Bulldogs.
The Lions will be looking to square the ledger while the Bulldogs will be keen to continue their impressive start to the 2021 season.
With both teams boasting strong midfield depth, an ex-Lion facing his old side for the first time and familiar faces returning to their old stomping ground, this game could well be the match of the round.
3. The Ballarat Boys Return Home
It’ll be a warm welcome for Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry and Tom Berry, as they return to Mars Stadium on Saturday. The trio spent the majority of their junior years representing the Greater Western Victoria Rebels as they carved a path toward AFL football.
Jarrod and Hugh were both apart of the prolific 2016 team, which featured former Lion Cedric Cox, as well as Port Adelaide’s Willem Drew and West Coast’s Jamaine Jones.
Tom Berry was the sole draftee from his 2018 side, while first-year player, Harry Sharp is the newest Lion recruit to come from the prestigious NAB league side. The Lions will be relying on the boys familiarity with the ground to give them an advantage against a strong Bulldogs side looking to capitalise on their strong form.
2. Master v Apprentice
After being traded to the Western Bulldogs at the end of last year, Stefan Martin will face his former side for the first time on Saturday.
In what is set to be the juiciest match-up on the ground, Ballarat spectators will feast their eyes on a 'master v apprentice' style showdown as Oscar McInerney returns to take on the very man he took the Lions number one ruck role from.
The former Lion has been a handy pick-up for the Bulldogs, who have been searching for support for young tall, Tim English for some time. Martin will come out with a point to prove and look to give his experienced midfield first use.
1. Battle of the Mids
If the Brisbane Lions boast one of the strongest midfields in the competition, the Western Bulldogs are certainly rivalling them in 2021 after the arrival of Adam Treloar in the off-season.
With a diverse range of ball-winners able to run through the centre square at any time, the Lions will be looking to minimise the impact of Macrae, Bontempelli and Dunkley.
After losing the hit-outs significantly last week to Brodie Grundy, the Brisbane Lions will be utilising their experience and familiarity with both Oscar McInerney and former Lion, Stefan Martin to get an edge on their bigger bodied opposition.