After a superb pre-season competition, the Lions wanted to start season 2013 off with a bang-a goal which proved to be unachievable. Hope, however, may lay in store at the Gabba in front of loyal hometown fans.
Outrun and outplayed last week, the Lions were completely shut down by a determined Bulldogs backline and midfield. While the last quarter saw glimpses of the pre-season form, it was a rather disappointing end for the maroon boys.
The biggest factor to exploit at the Gabba will be the Crows midfield. Daniel Rich, Dayne Zorko, Tom Rockliff and Jack Redden are the leaders of the drive into the forward line, and if they’re shut down then so is the Brisbane game plan. Another major problem is finding space; if the Lions get put on the back foot the opposition is all over them cutting off all avenues to the goals.
Taking the game by the scruff of the neck and not turning off early will be key on Saturday night. Up forward Jonathan Brown, Patrick Karnezis and Ash McGrath all present very good targets, but being able to break from the back line and drive the ball down the field is a Lions weakness when under a pressure. Risks have to be taken, or Adelaide have every chance of finding sixth gear and running amok.
No Kurt Tippett hurt against Essendon, and it was heavily evidenced, with Taylor Walker finding it much harder to receive deliveries into the forward line. Patrick Dangerfield – who absolutely starred last year – got shut down quite comfortably as well by the Bombers.
Off-season turmoil did not help preparation, but now, with the season underway, Crows fans want to get rid of the demons and just play footy.
Daniel Talia will be one to watch for the Crows in defence in 2013, and with Graham Johncock out, Talia will need to step up along with Ben Rutten and Brent Reilly. Prime target: Jonathan Brown. While the Lions captain was limited in his impact last week, the rest of the Lions squad will be behind him to shine at the Gabba. Rutten or Reilly will most likely get the job on the big captain, while the rest of the defence will have to cover Karnezis, McGrath and former Demon Stefan Martin.
If last year’s clash at the Gabba is anything to go by, then this match could be very close. In defense, the Lions are going to be heavily relying on Daniel Merrett and Joel Patfull to be leaders in clearing away from the Adelaide goal. Fall behind the eight ball, and Dangerfield, Scott Thompson and debutant Brad Crouch will walk all over the Lions. Stand tall and take opportunities when they come, and the Lions will be spurred on by their screaming fans at home.
Brisbane by 11