Preview Round 12, 2019 - Carlton vs. Brisbane Lions

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Rubix WingMan

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Round 12 – Carlton Blues v Brisbane Lions



Looking back at when the previews were being allocated, I had a quick sneaky peak at the draw. Oof. Tough opening 8 weeks, with it opening up near the bye rounds. Looking ahead to this game, I had pencilled us down for maybe 3 wins at the most, against Gold Coast, Western Bulldogs & Fremantle. I have a feeling that my position in the office tipping competition has thus been justified. (3rd last thank you everyone)



Who would have predicted the Lions, who most tipped to be thereabouts outside the bottom 4, would be firmly entrenched in the top 8, and looking to add to their win tally of 7 games before the bye. Not the most optimistic of Lions supporters would have called this, and as I type this preview for Round 12, I’m quite glad that we are no longer a laughing stock. Instead, this tagline has fortunately unfortunately been passed over to the team we are facing this weekend, Carlton Blues football club.



How quickly things can change in a month of footy. After a brave performance against Collingwood, the footy world seemed to be warming towards Carlton having a decent future at last, in spite of their win/loss record. Alas, it was not to be, losing to Giants, Saints & Bombers in the 3 weeks thereafter. Sooner rather than later, the record for Brendan Bolton would start to take its toll, and on 3rd June 2019 at 12pm, the call was made to sack Brendan effective immediately. This seemed to be a eeringly similar situation to the mismanagement of our own club during Voss’s departure. There appears to be other underlying issues within the faction of the club, but let’s not get into that now. Let’s talk about the season defining game for both clubs this weekend at Marvel.

Last time they met: Round 16, 2018 @ Gabba
Carlton defeated by Brisbane 18.12 (120) to 7.13 (55)



For Carlton, it will be dejavu, they have now sacked their last 5 coaches. As we have seen with North Melbourne earlier this season, players seem to play much better and with more freedom when the coach changes. Carlton will have released the shackles and will be a tough proposition this week. Interestingly, we have a terrible record at Marvel, only winning once in our last 6 outings at Marvel/Etihad/Disney/whatever they are calling the stadium these days. We simply cannot afford to be complacent in any way, as we aren’t quite there with the likes of Collingwood, West Coast or Geelong just yet.

Last week against Hawthorn, Jarryd Lyons stood up big time, aided by Neale and Zorko in the midfield. McCluggage seems to be missing his best mate, Berry, and has been a bit quieter since that magical game against Western Bulldogs. The quality of our depth ensures that we have options in the reserves ready to step up, in case someone is sore/tired. We have observed that Fagan and the selection committee are rotating the players who are out of contract at the end of the year. Bastinac, Hinge, Cutler, Taylor & Robertson have been in and out of the side, with the last two having commendable games last week. Some would say, Rayner is lucky to still be in the team, but he stands up in the big time and had a nice game against Hawthorn. We would all love for him to be having 20+ possessions and kicking 2-3 goals each week, but the reality is, he’s still a 2nd year player playing in a difficult position. We have been blessed with the likes of Berry, McCluggage and Witherden taking huge leaps in their footy. Not all players are like that, and 2nd year blues will always take its toll on some players. Aided by senior players like Neale, Zorko, Lyons, Mathieson and Robinson, the youngsters are tracking along just fine. Sorry Dylan12, I still believe Cutler would be a fantastic inclusion due to his running capacity, his kicking and just looks like a natural footballer, but he has shown to struggle under pressure in recent times. Hope he makes his way back into the senior team sooner rather than later.

Compare the core group to Carlton, and they just don’t have many mature ball winners apart from Cripps. Even Cripps is quite young relatively, and he is carrying the entire team on his shoulders. You shut down Cripps, and the rest of the midfielders have struggled to gain ascendency in games. To me, Carlton’s issues have nothing to do with talent, they have quite a number of potential A graders like Walsh, Dow, SPS, but lack the experienced players around them. Bolton was doing the right thing and persisting with their youngsters and they will need to add a few more experienced players to their team. Something similar to what Gold Coast have done, the trick is to going to be getting A graders, or even B graders to go to Carlton, when there are 9 other clubs in the same state with arguably a better off-field and on-field position.



Last week, Carlton squared up against their arch-time rivals in Essendon. They had a good chance to rock up at the glorious MCG and stamp their authority over a injury-ravaged Bombers outfit. Instead, they blew it and fell over after a tight first quarter. Carlton's young bodies still need time to adapt to the rigours of AFL football. It was a tale of the same-old, same-old, compete for half a game and fade away in the 2nd half. Something we have seen all too often at the Lions in years gone by.


Let’s look at each team’s forward, midfield and defence groups to compare where they are at.


Forward line
Our forward line has worked surprisingly well, and could be much more high scoring, due to our own conversions in front of goal.

Our very own X-factor in Cameron has been in excellent form the last few weeks. Supporters at the Gabba always have a sense of excitement every time the ball went near him and it's not surprising to see why. He’s smart, agile, quick and very hard to match up on. I’m however expecting his sidekick in McCarthy to have a big game this weekend.

For us to dominate this facet of the game, the midfield will have to lower their eyes and look for smart options. Simply kicking it long to an outnumbered contest won’t do any good for both our tall forwards and small forwards, as the young Carlton defenders are still quite potent. It was great to see the midfielders last week pushing up to apply pressure, but we'll need to make sure we make the most of our chances in front of goal. They'll have their work cut out to maintain forward pressure and be able to force a few goals through forward pressure and keeping it in the forward 50. I expect Simpson to come back in, and is quite underrated in my opinion and will be a tough opponent for whoever has to line up on him. Our forward line has been great in the last few weeks, with the tall forwards creating a contest, and bringing it to ground for our smalls to capitalise on our chances. McStay has been presenting well and crashing packs, he needs to just clear his head everytime before shooting for goal. Weitering is in good form too, we might have to put someone on him closely to curtail his influence prevent his intercept marks. I'll admit I don't know too much about Carlton's small defenders to make a comment, but they will have their work cut out for them with Cameron, McCarthy & Rayner.

Key match up: Hipwood v Weitering
Upcoming forward against the upcoming defender. Will be a tantalising prospect at the glimpse of both the team’s tall timber.




Midfield

It's clear that Carlton has a clear focus of spreading the midfield load in 2019. While Patrick Cripps once again played a starring role at the coalface, it was the work of his younger teammates which had Blues fans excited about what could come this year and beyond. The likes of Murphy, Dow, Walsh, Fisher, Setterfield & Cunningham have rotated through the centre and shown they can help Cripps out as much as possible. Expect some dash and run from these players on Saturday afternoon. Currently they are ranked quite low in key statistical categories like clearances, inside 50's per game & tackles. They simply need to at least show some effort, and not let the Lions midfielders waltz out of the centre square like last year's game.

As for the Lions, Neale and Zorko are leading the way so far in 2019 but are well supported by the rotating brigade of youngsters that are showing why we rated them so highly. Whenever McCluggage has the ball, you can just feel the game slow down as he looks to have so much time. Usually makes the right decision and generates plays from a stoppage situation. Robinson is someone I'm tipping for a big one this weekend. Against his old team, he will no doubt be fired up, similar to last year. He cracks in, week in week out to make sure the opponent sweats whenever he's around. With Rich, he possibly having his best year for the club and is really shining in the backline with his toughness and physical presence, not to mention his decision making. Neale & Lyons have seamlessly fitted quite well into the team, combining for a combined 63 disposals, 14 clearances and lots of impact around the stoppages.

We had a glimpse of Martin & Archie duoing together, and it took a while for the midfielders to start taking advantage of their tapwork. These days, games are won and lost in the midfield. On paper, it’s a mouth watering prospect to see 2 exciting midfield groups go head to head. The added extra of the history and passion between these teams complements the fixture very nicely. Expect a high scoring game with a couple of talented midfielders, one a bit more consistent than the other, but I'm expecting a fiery match up from the first bounce. The spread of contested ball winners on Saturday was very encouraging, hoping to see the same effort and intensity for our supporters and members in Victoria. It’s time to show that we are able to win away from home, which we haven’t been the best at in recent times.

Key match up:
Cripps v Neale
Two gun midfielders, in the top 5 of all midfielders in the league currently. While we may not see them go head to head, this battle will be fascinating to watch.


1559657618927.png



Defence
Last week against the Hawks, it looked like we were getting destroyed by the man out the back at certain points of the game, especially in the first quarter. Andrews & Gardiner did exceptionally well in preventing their opponents from having any impact on the game. Harris Andrews had stamped his authority on the contest. Time after time, Andrews repelled Hawthorn attacks with astute judgement and courage, and was the most influential player on the ground. Hodge and Rich proved that their experience and leadership shone through, pending a few small mistakes. Witherden and Answerth are good supporting acts, with the latter bursting through the centre square on a few occasions. Reminded me of Elliot Yeo with his running style & attack on the footy. Hawks were quite efficient in moving their ball forward, but the Lions defence group as a collective worked very well together. We made them take really awkward shots from the boundary, or long range at the 50m arc. We'll need to ensure that this continues against Carlton, who are ripe for the picking, as the players will be out to prove themselves to a new senior coach.

In terms of match ups, I would expect Andrews to take McKay and Gardiner to take Curnow. Perhaps Lester/Walker will come back in to cover their relatively tall forward line., especially if McGovern comes back in from injury. Apart from his early game, Robertson did amazingly well to curtail the influence of Bruest.

Key match up: Andrews v McKay
This clash looms as an exciting duel between two of the game's best young exponents of contested marking: Lions star Andrews (ranked No.29 in the Official AFL Player Ratings) and improving Blues forward McKay (No.350).


1559658597795.png


So, what now?
For us to win, we have to have a positive mindset from the get-go and can’t afford to take time to adjust to the conditions. If we let Carlton get a headstart, they will gain confidence that young teams thrive on. Lions have looked threatening and dangerous when they’re willing to support each other, get numbers around the ball and attack the corridor. Our defence has to stand up strong and look for targets instead of hacking the ball out of the area temporarily. One thing I've noticed compared to previous years is that the defenders are taking their time to make the right decision rather than giving it off straight away. The added composure of Witherden, Hodge and Gardiner has really helped the team. The defensive running has also looked like it was back against the Hawks last week.

This game is going to require a team effort. This year, there's been a breath of fresh air in the way that the Lions have been playing footy. We look re-engergised and are willing to take the game on when required, but also able to slow it down on our terms. If we take it seriously and are focused to head into the bye full of confidence, the Lions should win this comfortably. We're going to have to work bloody hard if we want this win, as the record against them in Melbourne hasn't been too flashy. Curtail the influence of Cripps, Curnow & Simpson and it'll go a long way in determining the outcome of the game.

The usual faithful will show up in droves at Marvel Stadium, expecting the Lions fans to make more noise than the Blues. With expectation looming on the young Lions, Let's hope it doesn't distract the team, and that we are still committed to finishing off the 1st half of the season strong. We have pride, and we are the pride of Brisbane town. Let's hear the song once more this weekend, and make it 8/4 with a real chance of making finals for the first time since 2009.

Prediction: Lions by 41 points.

Enjoy a complimentary GIF of Murphy below.

 

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Mighty Lions

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I expect Archie to play which creates the difficult decision of whether to bring Big O back in or not....Interesting one.
 

Sausages

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Solid work Rubix:D

I didn't admit it at the time, but I was worried before our game against the Pies. I'll admit it this time though - I'm worried about this week. I know the stats aren't convincing, but teams always seem to play better after a coaching change which Rubix addresses in the preview. We'll be going in a little blind, not knowing exactly what we're facing.

That said, Lions by 10 goals :D
 

Nunez

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Fantastic preview! If we're on early and are mentally strong, we'll blow them away. If we're not, it could be a close one. Either way we should not lose this one. Surely not.
 

Dylan12

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Awesome preview Rubix WingMan :thumbsu:

Danger game for us; don't see us winning by a lot, but another honourable Carlton loss would suit me fine as a prelude to our Lions HOF night.
 

Clarkythelion

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It would seem 5 days won't be enough to change a game plan but plenty enough drama in those 5 days to change enthusiasm. They are likely to have been told to play freely, show us what you have, but stick to the structures we know. They are likely to take more risks, play more open and "let's win it for Bolts". I think unlike North they don't have the mature leadership to really make an immediate turn around and don't have enough match winners in their own right. But a word of caution, before Scott left North all the commentators were talking about their list and the lack of kids coming through and how they had got ahead of themselves plugging holes in the list ready to play finals. Not now, the commentators are talking about 4 or 5 kids that look real prospects. Carlton have so many kids with talent that may just rise up now with some less worry about playing to specific rolls. I still have the Lions winners only it will now be closer than it would have been. I think we have a potent forward line if things get a bit loose that can really punish without close checking. Go Lions.
 

a mayes ing

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Awesome preview.

We should win but nervous. Cant forget that they demlished Hawthorn in the 1st half
 

briztoon

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Apologies in advance, as I haven't read the Changes for Carlton thread.

Has there been a discussion about one of our mids tagging Cripps? If so, who are the main contenders? Mathieson, Lyons or NRobbo?
 

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KissKiss

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Great preview. Think selection tomorrow night will be really interesting and we are in a good spot with so much competition for spots. There are a lot of players I feel should be in the team either coming back from injury (Lester and O) or playing really well in the twos (Walker, Allison, Cutler, etc) yet I struggle to see anyone who should be dropped. Someone is rightly going to be disappointed to be out of the team
 

KissKiss

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Apologies in advance, as I haven't read the Changes for Carlton thread.

Has there been a discussion about one of our mids tagging Cripps? If so, who are the main contenders? Mathieson, Lyons or NRobbo?
MRobbo was the main option but each of the others could be a good option as well
 

irish

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need to hit em hard first qtr ! no hawthorn type start for sure , will be tough the blues are wounded and you would expect a show to the new coach
 

spotthedog1

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I reckon:

Send either MRobbo or NRobbo to Cripps - tell them to wear him like a glove.

Recall Walker to handle their three-tall setup.

Hit the ground running in the 1st quarter, and don't skimp on the physicality, and we should record a comfortable win. Start slow and it's easy to get surprised.
 

bungalow_bill

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As per usual I know we can win easily but prepared for a loss. Blues will be fired up for this one. We need to be switched on from the first nano second and never let up. If we play with that mind set we should win comfortably. Still...
 

Gadzorks

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need to hit em hard first qtr ! no hawthorn type start for sure , will be tough the blues are wounded and you would expect a show to the new coach
Totally agree - our first quarters are a major weakness that other teams are exploiting. Carlton could well come out firing but we are a finals bound team and need to show that we can control a game and not just fightback once we are losing. We should not need underdog advantage every game.
 

DaRick

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We really should be winning this game if we want to make the finals.

I would suggest that Carlton changing their coach shouldn't make a difference.
 

martinson

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Great work Rubix.

Simple . Play as we have been and we win .Relax our contested ball work and/or spray it worse than we have been and it could be a real contest.

It's in our hands. Need to come out focused and committed from the first bounce.
 

BangyBangy

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We win, simple as that!

If we don't beat that rabble, whilst not only wearing a Fitzroy guernsey in Melbourne, but a Bulldog Murray commemorative Fitzroy guernsey........

I'LL SPEW UP!!!!!!!!!!
 

Caiphus

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We need to learn to win more away and this is the perfect opposition for it. Carlton seen to think changing the coach will give them a bump n but they've been trying lots of crap for mental advantages without actually putting up on the field. I don't think that club culture will change in one week and certainly not against us in a hof Fitzroy jumper.
 
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