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Thursday night football heads to Queensland, as the Brisbane Lions host the Collingwood Magpies at a potentially sold-out Gabba. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7:35pm (AEST).
Barring their loss to Essendon last week, the Lions have had a strong start to their 2019 season, having beaten the premiers, North Melbourne and Port Adelaide.
Last week was a stumble, but they’ve got a chance to impress further and move to 4-1 as they face the grand finalists – but it won’t be easy.
Collingwood’s start to the season has been a little lacking for me, with wins against the Dogs and Richmond pairing with losses against Geelong and West Coast. It’s a vastly needed win for both sides.
Last year’s two games between the two clubs saw Collingwood triumph both times, with an early-season clash seeing the Pies closely hanging on at the Gabba before a later game at Marvel Stadium saw the Pies comfortably poach a victory.
It’s the midfield battle that’ll be key tonight. Brisbane’s midfield – led by an awesome Lachie Neale – simply has to stand up against a Pies midfield unit beholden by some as the best in the league, a label it hasn’t lived up too thus far.
No doubt, the Magpies’ experienced midfield is better than the Lions’ developing one, with the onus on the hosts to stand up and avoid losing ground.
Collingwood’s forward line could also very easily trouble the Lions – especially Jordan De Goey, who was ordinary last weekend but unstoppable against the Lions in 2018 with nine goals in two matches.
The team changes this weekend are relatively simple for both clubs.
Collingwood, forced to replace Chris Mayne (back), have opted to hand a timely return to former Lions midfielder Dayne Beams, who swapped clubs last October.
The Lions, for their part, have reaffirmed their commitment to a team coming off a loss, making no changes.
This is a tricky one to pick, especially because last year’s corresponding fixture was so damn tight. Brisbane’s been decent but their record probably flatters them a little, while the Pies have been decisively average but still looking ready to emerge into the kind of football which took them to a grand final last year.
I fully expect the Lions to come out firing, given the magnitude of the clash, but Collingwood should be too skilful when it really matters, and it’ll be the Melbournians who’ll celebrate a win tonight.
Collingwood by 19 points
Where: The Gabba
When: 7:35pm (AEST)
TV: Seven, Fox Footy
Online: Kayo, AFL Live Pass, Foxtel Now, 7play
Betting: Collingwood $1.57, Brisbane $2.30
B: Luke Hodge, Harris Andrews, Daniel Rich
HB: Alex Witherden, Darcy Gardiner, Mitch Robinson
C: Jarrod Berry, Lachie Neale, Hugh McCluggage
HF: Cam Rayner, Eric Hipwood, Lincoln McCarthy
F: Charles Cameron, Daniel McStay, Oscar McInerney
FOL: Stefan Martin, Dayne Zorko, Jarryd Lyons
I/C: Allen Christensen, Josh Walker, Nick Robertson, Rhys Mathieson
EMG: Ben Keays, Connor Ballenden, Noah Answerth, Archie Smith
B: Jeremy Howe, Jordan Roughead, Brayden Maynard
HB: James Aish, Darcy Moore, Jack Crisp
C: Tom Phillips, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom
HF: Jamie Elliott, Mason Cox, Josh Thomas
F: Jordan de Goey, Brody Mihocek, Travis Varcoe
FOL: Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, Dayne Beams
I/C: Jaidyn Stephenson, Adam Treloar, Tom Langdon, Callum Brown
EMG: Levi Greenwood, Flynn Appleby, Rupert Wills, Ben Crocker