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It’s Thursday night and JLT Community Series footy is back. Join us live on The Roar from 7:40pm AEDT tonight as the Western Bulldogs take on the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium.
It’s the second game for both clubs, and they’ll both be looking for their first win. But only one will succeed.
As we all know, the Bulldogs climbed the AFL mountain last season, breaking a 62-year premiership drought.
But the time for resting on their laurels is over. To defend their title, they have massive expectations to overcome. Teams will be prepared for them. The hunters will now be the hunted.
The Bulldogs went down in their first JLT game, six points behind Melbourne. Club captain Bob Murphy, after injury forced him out of last year’s finals, made his return to footy in that game. But he won’t be playing tonight.
But new signing Travis Cloke will line up tonight, hoping to make a positive impression with his new club. Also returning to the forward line will be Stuart Crameri, after being sidelined last year with a ban from his time at Essendon.
The Bulldogs will give draft picks Tim English, Patrick Lipinski and Lewis Young a run tonight, giving them a chance to press their claims for senior selection.
And there’ll be no shortage of premiership stars, with the likes of Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Boyd and Easton Wood to take to the field.
It’s a road trip for the Brisbane Lions, and they’ll be looking to bounce back after a 24-point loss to Gold Coast in their first JLT game.
The Lions had a tough season last year, winning just three games and only avoiding the wooden spoon by a small percentage margin.
New coach Chris Fagan has plenty of work to do to turn the club’s fortunes around, and that work starts tonight.
Dayne Beams, in his third season at the Lions, has been appointed captain, and he’ll be leading from the front. Former skipper Tom Rockliff will also take his place in the team tonight.
The Lions will be looking to their draftees to make an immediate impact. Hugh McCluggage and Jacob Allison will be playing tonight – McCluggage in particular has high hopes around him after being taken at pick No.3.
Jack Frost joined the Lions from Collingwood, and will be running round in the backline tonight. And Jake Barrett, after just one game at GWS Giants in three years, will be pushing for selection at his new club.
And plenty of regular senior players will have a run tonight, including Dayne Zorko, Darcy Gardiner and Sam Mayes.
With the return of premiership stars and the home ground advantage, it’s hard to see any other result but a comfortable Bulldogs win.
For the Bulldogs, a win will get the momentum up and running for the title defence. But the Lions will want to put up a competitive performance, and give their supporters some hope for the season to come.
Join us live from 7:40pm AEDT tonight as the Bulldogs and Lions battle it out, getting a big weekend of footy under way.
Post your thoughts, observation and cyber-barracking in the comments section below, as we look forward to another game which will play an important role in preparations for the season to come.